“What’s a computer?” – Reality strikes back.


How many of our kids could use a phone like the one in the picture above?

Probably not many.

And our kids will probably never know the frustration of cranking the numbers of the phone number you were dialing (literally) and messing up on the sixth number so that you had to start all over again.

Apple’s latest ad for the iPad Pro where the kid at the end says, “What’s a computer?” got me thinking about just how much everything has changed in such a short amount of time. Check it out – https://youtu.be/sQB2NjhJHvY

Everything is changing so fast. For example, here are things that didn’t exist 10 years ago —

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 7.46.36 PM


Then, I did a little research and found a list of 10 jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago (from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/06/10-jobs-that-didn-t-exist-10-years-ago/) —

App developer

Social media manager

Uber driver

Driverless car engineer

Cloud computing specialist

Big data analyst/data scientist
Sustainability manager
YouTube content creators

Drone operators

Millennial generational expert 

What would it take for our kids to be able to get these types of jobs? How much have we retooled schools to be able to get our kids ready to be competitive enough to land one of these jobs?

We meet with representatives from Apple about two weeks ago and one of the presenters shared that iOS App Developer is one of the hardest to fill jobs and it pays very well, even for someone new to the field. Then we heard from an elementary principal from Illinois (who is doing some neat work with her staff) who shared that they start kids learning to coding in kindergarten.
This question keeps me up at night — Have we changed enough to really get our kids ready for tomorrow? (Leaning towards “no” at this moment.)
I love it when reality smacks me upside the head because moments like these help me refocus on what we are doing. We need to continue to be on the pursuit of the right work to truly helping our kids be competitive in the future.
We get to figure this out together — We get to consider what needs to be done with our practice in order to catch up with the world around us.
Keep pushing yourself to evolve your practice. It is hard work but I think we agree that our kids are worth it!

Can we do this better?


If I had to say what it was that sums up what I am laser focused on as an elementary principal, my answer would be “Can we do this better?”.

I’ve written many posts over the past three years about my drive to re-imagine the elementary learning experience. We have dreamed together, involved parents, students, and teachers in steering us onto a path where this kind of transformation can take place if we are brave enough to try.

We’ve identified many things that we think get us stuck like schedules, state expectations — mostly things I like to call “whataboutisms”. But the thing I think will get us permanently stuck is finding something in our pedagogy that works today, or that has worked in the past, and then keeping our pedagogy the same because it worked really well for that one lesson, that one unit, or for that one class the entire year.

However, we need to remember that the variables in our field are the children we serve. No group of kids I have experienced or supported has been the same as any other group of kids.


Think back 10 years ago to the way you delivered the learning experience for students.

How much has that has dramatically changed since then?

Now ask yourself if that dramatic change was more out of choice due to a desire to get better or if it were more out of pressure from an initiative.

I ask that question because the best of the best that I have learned from and have seen teach are relentless in their pursuit to get better. It seems that they didn’t wait around to be told to change; it seems instead that they told themselves, “I need to get better at this.”

So the challenge I pose to each and everyone of us, myself included, is to ask ourselves, “Can we do this better?”

And then I challenge us to be brave enough to honestly answer that question.

Check out this great article on the power and importance of being self-reflection (and honest with yourself): “The Necessity Of Self-Criticism In Education” https://www.teachthought.com/technology/desperate-need-self-criticism-education/


Be brave!

– Herb

Here’s the Staff Update for this week.