Building Culture by Starting with "Hello"

Update for Apr 25-29



Last week, we welcomed over 60 new Kindergarten parents to our school for a parent information night. These parents have students who will be kindergartners at Alton Darby next school year.

The night of the meeting also happened to be the same night as our annual Art Show, a performance by the Drama Troupe, and our Spring Book Fair.

Coincidence?

Nope! Well, sort of.  The kindergarten team and Mrs. Bowers and Mrs. Richardson just happened to pick the same night.  But instead of trying to figure out a different night, I thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase the culture of our building.

And it worked!  The attendance for all of the events was great all-around and everything went smoothly despite the rainy evening.

This night was important to me for three reasons.  

Reason 1 is that many parents who registered their students in years past had to go to three different places during the process with none of the places being the actual school we would be sending our student.  Fortunately, our admin team saw the need for change and drastically streamlined the process for parents.  This in turn gave us the opportunity to do something for parents during the registration process that brought the parents to school.  As a parent who experienced the old process twice, I was happy to make this change happen!

Reason 2 is because I am proud of the work we do at ADE, like a proud parent of their child.  I tell everyone I can how amazing our school, our families, our teachers and our kids are.  Most of the time they are taken aback.  “Don’t you have to deal with —-?”  Yes, but it’s all worth it!  The next response during this conversation is either “I need to stop by and check you guys out” or “I wish my kids’ school sounded like that”.  I am on a mission to share our story — Not for bragging rights or for personal gain.

It’s because what I share about ADE is true, and it’s because I believe that the work we do has an impact on other schools and other students.  Our reach and influence on the lives of kids doesn’t stop at our walls — It extends across the country and across the world.  Don’t ever discount the impact you have!

Reason 3 is because I believe that at the core of everything successful is a good relationship.  There is hardly anything that can’t get accomplished with a great relationship.  When we welcomed our new families to ADE last Thursday, we said “Hello, this is our school.  Welcome!” (Not literally like that, but in spirit).  

I had to call a parent earlier this week to tell her about an incident involving her daughter and another student.  The phone call lasted less than a minute.  She said, “If there is anyone I trust with my kids, it’s you guys.  I know that it was taken care of.”

I nearly fainted.

The backstory is that I’ve also called this parent two other times to talk about something involving social media and her kid (that one was so tough I cried) and another time to tell her I was running her other daughter’s lunchbox to daycare after school because she left it outside during dismissal.  In the course of two years, I’ve had the opportunity to be there for this family three different times.

Relationships matter.  Word gets out.  Reputations get established.  Culture gets built.

So here is the takeaway —  We are always building culture.  Start tomorrow by saying “hello” — You never no where it will take you!

Have a GREAT week!

–Herb


Articles Worth Reading — 

“Home-Grown Citizens” (from Educational Leadership, Feb 2016) — We’ve referred to Place-based Learning as a foundation for the work we are wanting to do through “houses”.  Take a look at this recently-published article in Educational Leadership for a solid context of Place! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ehIKQuxEjsxriQa71X5y45dZk6Qw8mYo9Cv-CDwJ9FM/edit?usp=sharing


“The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure” http://www.ted.com/talks/astro_teller_the_unexpected_benefit_of_celebrating_failure?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tedspread


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Check Out Last Year — > https://goo.gl/photos/5fXyXMseEZwJY2ui7


Upcoming Dates — 

Apr 4-May 27 — Spring Literacy Assessment window (Grades K to 5)

***State Testing Dates ***
Apr 26 — Grade 4 Social Studies State Assessment
Apr 26 — Grade 5 Science State Assessment

Apr 27 — ADE Walk-a-thon — Follows normal Related Arts Schedule w/ special times for KG; details to come!
Apr 28 — Herb mtg AM
Apr 28 — Grow Together Thursday (Kindergarten Parent Workshop), 6-8PM

May 2 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7PM
May 3 — BIT Meeting
May 4 — ADE Staff Meeting, 8AM
May 5 — Flower Sale Pick-Up, 4-7PM
May 6 — BAC Meeting, 8AM
May 2-6 — Teacher Appreciation Week
May 5 — Spring Flower Sale Pick-Up (This date may change.)
May 11 — Spec Ed Team meeting
May 14 — AD/DC Warrior Dash
May 18 — ADDC Staff Meeting, ADE Media Center, 3:45
May 19 — Herb Mtg AM
May 26 — Grow Together Thursday
May 30 — Holiday, NO SCHOOL
May 31 — ADE PTO Family Luau

Jun 3 — Last Day of School (Students)



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“Exercise the Option”

Update for Feb 22-26



It’s a given: The only thing constant is change.


I think about change often.  I think about how I need to respond to change.  I realized during year 5 of being an educator that each year will be different.  

I have also come to understand that it doesn’t get easier if you want to get better.


There is a gap between good and great.  

Good is comfortable.  Good is relying on your talents to get you by,


Getting to Great is hard work.  Great is knowing that talent alone won’t help you grow.  Great is knowing that being on autopilot, resistant and impulsive doesn’t work with change.


Great is knowing how to press pause, reflect and get your mind right, stepping up and owning the reality around you.  Great is knowing that it takes intentional practice and a growth mindset to get better.  That is how successful people respond to change.


NotGoodWithComputers



When we aren’t flexible and responsive to change, our life and our work gets harder.  Think about it — Change is hard.  Not changing is harder.  Life will eventually catch up, pass you by and win.  

We have the opportunity to invent tomorrow with our students.  That will take consistent reflection, consistent mental stamina, and consistent practice at getting better and growing.

As we’ve learned from R-Factor training and “Above the Line”:


“Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional. The smart thing to do is exercise the option.”



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Articles Worth Reading —

STEAM + Project-Based Learning: Real Solutions From Driving Questions http://edut.to/1nlKCxu

Mattel Unveils ThingMaker, A $300 3D Printer That Lets Kids Make Their Own Toys http://tcrn.ch/214Ga5o via @techcrunch

Future-Focused Leadership http://esheninger.blogspot.com/2016/02/future-focused-leadership.html 


I love this thought —


Upcoming Dates —

Feb 23 — KG Data Team mtg AM, 1st Grade Data Team mtg PM
Feb 24 — 2nd Grade Data Team mtg AM, 3rd Grade Data Team mtg PM
Feb 25 –5th Grade Data Team mtg AM, 4th Grade Data Team mtg PM   
Feb 24 — ADDC Staff Meeting, 3:40 at ADE
Feb 26 — End of K-5 Grading Period *See emails from Joanne and updates on TAC about Progress Report Timeline.

Mar 1 — BIT Meeting, 8am
Mar 1 — Connection Time w/ Herb — Schedule is wide open! Stop by for a chat!  I don‘t know what you’re thinking if you don’t share with me.
Mar 1 — Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45 at DCR
Mar 2 — ADE Staff Meeting
Mar 7 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Mar 7-11 — OLSAT (Gifted), Grades 1 to 5 by recommendation
Mar 9 — Spring Concert, 7pm, Bradley HS
Mar 10 — PD Series w/ Dr. Donna: “Discovery Approach”, 3:45 at DCR
Mar 15 — Professional Development Day — No SCHOOL (Students)
Mar 18 — Elementary Student Transfer Request Forms Due
Mar 18-24 — Spring Break — NO SCHOOL
Mar 25 — Holiday — NO SCHOOL

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Teaching: Shoshin-Style

Update for Feb 8-11

Labeled for noncommercial reuse 

I went running Saturday without my running app, music, or device. I forgot to charge my old phone that I use just for running.


I was really bummed because I really enjoy listening to music as I run. I like knowing how far I’ve gone and what my current pace is. For a minute I wondered if I should run at all.


I ran anyway because it was just too beautiful outside. Sure it was 38 degrees, but a sunny day in February in Ohio is a rarity.

About a mile into my run I realized something that I probably knew deep down anyway, but became clear to me then. 

I realized that if you take away the music, if I take away the app, take away the device, and if I take away the little voice that keeps telling me how fast (or slow) I’m going, what I was left with is my determination and the path that lies before me. 


It made me think about where we are in education, how things are changing and how fast we are needing to change in order to keep up. 

Deep down we all know that constantly evolving as educators is something that needs to happen — Education is always changing. It’s just that this time, it’s a little bit more profound because the changes that we see in the world are more profound. Technology is increasing the rate at which people can access knowledge and that is causing parts of our lives to be more simplified, more personalized, and a lot more on demand. And our kids don’t know any different.


Some say we have to “let go” of a lot of things. That sounds scarier that it really is and it doesn’t help us accept change easier. I think it helps to take a Shoshin approach – to look at what we do now with a beginner’s eye. We need to form a different perspective on the work we do for kids. This enables us to see possibilities that we didn’t see before. And if we strip away our current perspective about our work, we are left with the teacher in the learner.  

What we do best is help others learn. Learning is universal. It’s in our DNA. Helping others learn is why we got into this profession. When we start at that point and build up, we can see the possibilities that we didn’t know existed.

I’ve gone through many pairs of shoes, three different earbuds, 3 different devices, and two different apps as a runner. What hasn’t changed for me is that in order to run, all it really takes is my commitment to putting one foot in front of the other. I take comfort in knowing that’s all I will ever need in order to keep running.

Take solace that amidst change in education in knowing that helping others learn will always be the constant.

Have a GREAT week!

-Herb

Articles Worth Reading —

An Open Letter to Those Who Don’t Feel “Good Enough” http://www.marcandangel.com/2016/02/07/an-open-letter-to-those-who-dont-feel-good-enough/ via @marcandangel

“‘I’, ‘We’, and ‘You'” by Seth Godin http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2016/02/i-we-and-you.html

The Future of Jobs by Dr. Marschhausen http://www.hilliardschools.org/the-future-of-jobs/


Upcoming Events

Feb 8-11 February Conference Week 
Feb 10 — Conference Evening; Band/Orchestra Demos (10:30)
Feb 12 — Parent/Teacher Conference Comp Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 15 — Presidents’ Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 16 — Teacher Steering Committee Meeting @ ADE
Feb 20 — Family Fun Day, 10-3pm
Feb 23 — K (AM) & 1st Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 24 — 2nd Grade (AM) & 3rd Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting

Feb 25 — 4th Grade (AM) & 5th Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting

Mar 7 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Mar 7-11 — OLSAT (Gifted), Grades 1 to 5 by recommendation
Mar 9 — Spring Concert, 7pm, Bradley HS
Mar 15 — Hillard U Day! 
Mar 18 — Elementary Student Transfer Request Forms Due
Mar 18-24 — Spring Break — NO SCHOOL
Mar 25 — Holiday — NO SCHOOL




Always Building

Update for Jan 11-15

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/30/102035155_696b3275fb_b.jpg

When I host families who visit our school for the first time, I treat it like I’m on an interview.  

One of my favorite education leaders, Todd Whitaker, says that induction starts with the interview.  This is my chance to sell our building’s culture and initiatives. When I tour with a family, I want them to experience our culture and I want them to know about what we are working on as a building community.

I do this knowing that the family might not even end up being a family that attends our school.  But there is something bigger at play here than a building tour.  

It’s about building our brand.  It’s about celebrating our accomplishments and our work.  It’s about connecting visitors to our culture.  

I do this because I believe we are Always Building Culture.

This Friday, I shared a note with our staff that a recent visitor sent to me. She and her family had toured Alton Darby in mid-December, just before winter break.

The family was planning on relocating from St. Louis and wanted to tour schools in the Central Ohio area before making a decision about where to relocate.  

Here’s what she wrote:



As you can see, the family decided to move to a different school district in Central Ohio, but I believe there was a reason why she took the time to write me and positive note anyway.  I believe it’s because I committed to helping the family experience the culture we have built.  

We may not have gained a family, but we may have gained one more person who will indirectly help us build our brand and our culture.  If she ever talks about her experience at Alton Darby, chances are she’ll share something positive.

As Tim Kight reminds us, the work we do each day “creates the culture that drives the behavior that produces the results” we hope for – Students who are ready to confidently take on any opportunity that comes their way.

Each of us plays a role in creating our building’s culture. Each of us drives behavior that produces results.  The tone we set through our actions has a direct effect on our culture.  

How are your actions supporting our district and building initiatives?  Are there actions you are taking that go against what we are trying to accomplish as a district and as a building?

Do you come to school each day ready to build?

————–

#ADCCulture Challenge continues this week!  It’s not a competition between others — It’s about challenging yourself to positively impact our culture and to connect with others. Have fun!

Have a GREAT week!

-Herb


Articles Worth Reading — 


How To Get Your Kids Interested In STEM (Without Forcing It On Them) (via @LifehackerAU) http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/01/how-to-get-your-kids-interested-in-stem-without-forcing-it-on-them/


An Educator’s Gift to Their Learners: Seeing Each One of Them http://wp.me/pKlio-25E via @jackiegerstein


How Showing and Telling Kids ‘I Believe in You’ Can Empower Them at School http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/01/07/how-saying-and-showing-kids-i-believe-in-you-can-empower-them-at-school/

Video Worth Watching — 

Upcoming Dates — 

Jan 12 — Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45, DCR
Jan 13 — Special Ed Team Meeting, 12:00
Jan 14 — Author Visit, Steve Harpster
Jan 18 — Martin Luther King, Jr Day — NO SCHOOL
Jan 19-Feb 29 — Scholastic Reading Inventory window (Grades 2 to 5)
Jan 23 & Feb 20 — NUMATS (gifted) test (by invitation/recommendation only)
Jan 25 — Yearbook Sale Begins (Ends Feb 5)
Jan 25-Feb 26 — Calkins Writing Assessment window (Grades K to 5)
Jan 29 — K-5 Interim Reports

Feb 1 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Feb 2 — ADE Kindergarten Registration Day
Feb 5 — Yearbook Sale Ends
Feb 8-11 February Conference Week
Feb 10 — Conference Evening
Feb 12 — Parent/Teacher Conference Comp Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 15 — Presidents’ Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 23 — K (AM) & 1st Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 24 — 2nd Grade (AM) & 3rd Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 25 — 4th Grade (AM) & 5th Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 26 — End of K-5 Grading Period

My #OneWord is You.

Update for Jan 4-8


I aspire to be a servant leader for my students, staff, and community.

Greenleaf.org describes servant leadership this way:

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

I see this description through the lenses of three different stakeholders that all end up shaping how I try to carry out my role as a principal.

For my students, this means striving to evolve our practice to continue to support the learning journey of each of our students. It means recognizing the changes in our community, our state. our country, and our world and adapting how we develop learners.

For my parents, this means providing them with opportunities to not only gain knowledge about how they can help their child as a learner, but it also means helping parents connect with the school through fun.  We know parents want to be proud of our learning community and I believe school pride can be built through fun events like our Warrior Dash, Spring Concert, Art Show, and various other grade-level celebrations that take place throughout the year.  

For my staff, it means helping each and every one of you grow professionally. I do this because I believe Todd Whitaker is right when he says it’s not programs, technology, interventions, or furniture that makes a difference for our students — It’s people.  People make the difference for kids and always will.  It’s you who makes our school a great place to be.  It will always be you.

My #OneWord in 2016 is YOU, but it is bigger than that one word.  Because being a servant leader means your word is my word.  Your professional growth focus is my professional growth focus. Our kids’ dreams, curiosities, and aspirations are mine, too.

Happy New Year!  Now let’s go and make the world a better place!

At your service,

Herb


Articles Worth Reading —


How I’ll be learning in 2016 http://wp.me/p2KVKA-KL


Be a Change Agent http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/5897 via @gcouros




If You Want Innovation, Start with Purpose | John Spencer http://sumo.ly/dVlb via @spencerideas




Upcoming Dates —


Jan 4 — Students Return; ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Jan 4-Feb 3 — Winter Literacy Assessment window (Grades K to 5)
Jan 6 — Staff Meeting, 3:45pm — Focus will be R-Factor Training presented by Boettner, Halley, and Raterman.
Jan 8 — ADE Family Game Night, 6:30-8pm
Jan 12 — Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45, DCR
Jan 13 — Special Ed Team Meeting, 12:00
Jan 14 — Author Visit, Steve Harpster
Jan 18 — Martin Luther King, Jr Day — NO SCHOOL
Jan 19-Feb 29 — Scholastic Reading Inventory window (Grades 2 to 5)
Jan 23 & Feb 20 — NUMATS (gifted) test (by invitation/recommendation only)
Jan 25 — Yearbook Sale Begins (Ends Feb 5)
Jan 25-Feb 26 — Calkins Writing Assessment window (Grades K to 5)
Jan 29 — K-5 Interim Reports


Feb 1 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Feb 2 — ADE Kindergarten Registration Day
Feb 5 — Yearbook Sale Ends
Feb 8-11 February Conference Week
Feb 10 — Conference Evening
Feb 12 — Parent/Teacher Conference Comp Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 15 — Presidents’ Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 23 — K (AM) & 1st Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 24 — 2nd Grade (AM) & 3rd Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 25 — 4th Grade (AM) & 5th Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting

Feb 26 — End of K-5 Grading Period




Fueling the Wonder of Kids

Update for Nov 23-24



Last Wednesday, Adrianna Kruse captured the moment above, recognizing the “pure joy” of her kindergarten students playing in the leaves on a windy day.

Later on that afternoon, I was heading out to my recess duty a little early and noticed a group of kids playing in the same leaves.  The kids ranged from 1st grade to 5th grade, but each was captivated by the “leaf tornado”.  One of the kids noticed I had stopped to watch them having fun and said, “We were wondering if leaves turned into soil or compost when they die?”.

“What does everyone think?” I asked.

“Well, I think they turn into compost and he thinks they turn into soil,” the student replied.

With a smile, I asked, “What’s the difference between compost and soil?”

“I don’t know.”

Ah, the perfect response for starting a learning opportunity!

“I have an idea. Let’s ask Wonderopolis if they know the answer,” I suggested.

I told the kids that there is a website called Wonderopolis that has hundreds of posts questions, or wonders, that kids have asked.  They post information including videos and resources that help answer the “wonder”.

I took a picture of the kids standing in the leaves and tweeted Wonderopolis:



//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Wonderopolis is great about interacting with others!  Here’s what they said later on that day —


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While this is a great example of recognizing when we can take learning further, it actually made me reflect on the way kids learn and make sense of their world.

Kids are naturally curious.

They ask lots of questions, they create their own hypotheses, and work out meaning through play.

As adults and educators, we need to remind ourselves that kids are naturally curious and build off of that.

How much would our unit or lesson plans change if we started with the fact that kids are naturally curious?

How much more would the learning experiences we create for kids reflect inquiry and build on a sense of wonder?

We should commit ourselves to letting the curiosity and wonder of children inspire us to create learning experiences that fuel their learning.

Here’s to fueling the wonder and curiosity of kids!

Have a GREAT week!

-Herb


Articles Worth Reading —

When Students Drive Improvement

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/jun15/vol72/num09/When-Students-Drive-Improvement.aspx

Service Learning: Growing Action from the Roots of Passion


Real-World Problem Solving: Project-Based Solutions





Video Worth Watching —


http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1


Upcoming Dates —

Nov 23 – Board Meeting at ADE (Preschool is hosting in Cafeteria)

Nov 25-27 Thanksgiving Holiday

Dec 1 – BIT Meeting — Please have your wish list items submitted by Dec 1 to be considered by PTO.

Dec 2 – Yearbook Picture Day; ADE Staff Meeting, 8:00 AM – Media Center

Dec 3 – Admin Meeting (Herb)

Dec 7 – PTO Meeting, 7PM

Dec 8 – 3rd Grade ELA State Assessment; Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45 – ADE Media Center

Dec 9 – Spec Ed Team Meeting, 12:30; IAT Meeting, 3:45

Dec 10 – PD Series by Donna – “Dealing with Challenging Children”, 3:45 ADE Media Center

Dec 11 – KG Toys for Tots Fire Station Visit

Dec 16 – ADCC Staff Meeting, 3:40 – ADE Media Center

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Hope amid the chaos

Update for Nov 16-20

http://projectivecities.aaschool.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/01-Paris-urban-fabric-the-Haussmannian-heritage.jpg

This weekend was a somber one for many around the world as events surrounding the terrorist attacks in Paris unfolded.

Social media became a source of information for me, especially Twitter’s “Moments” tab which populated updated information.  It amazes me how this medium has become a go-to place to learn about current events, even over the cable news channels.

One of the posts I ran across was of a man playing a mobile piano in a Paris street.  The song he played? “Imagine” by John Lennon.



Lennon’s music, especially the songs he created while a Beatle, have often been the source of inspiration for millions of people.  The Beatles could have written songs about hate, despair, and negativity, but they chose to share messages of hope, love, and inspiration.

It inspires me to see people, in the middle of chaos and unimaginable sadness, choose to share messages of hope, community, and optimism.


Have a great week —

-Herb


Articles Worth Reading —

Choice is More than a Menu of Options  https://shar.es/15BnIe

A Principal’s Reflections: The Challenge of Change is Not You http://esheninger.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-challenge-of-change-is-not-you.html?spref=tw

Tech Tools That Have Transformed Learning With Dyslexia http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/11/03/tech-tools-that-transformed-learning-with-dyslexia/



Videos Worth Watching —



My dream for education is to have the work we do with kids look like the work in this short clip –>



Upcoming Dates —

Nov 17 – Team Connection Time — Let me know! The schedule is clear!

Nov 18 – 4th Grade Data Team Day; ADCC Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45 ADE Media Center

Nov 19 – Principals’ Meeting (Herb), 5th Grade Data Team Day

Nov 20 – End of 1st Grading Period

Nov 23 – Board Meeting at ADE (Preschool is hosting in Cafeteria)

Nov 25-27 Thanksgiving Holiday

Dec 1 – BIT Meeting — Please have your wish list items submitted by Dec 1 to be considered by PTO.

Dec 2 – Yearbook Picture Day; ADE Staff Meeting, 8:00 AM – Media Center

Dec 3 – Admin Meeting (Herb)

Dec 7 – PTO Meeting, 7PM

Dec 8 – 3rd Grade ELA State Assessment; Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45 – ADE Media Center

Dec 9 – Spec Ed Team Meeting, 12:30; IAT Meeting, 3:45

Dec 10 – PD Series by Donna – “Dealing with Challenging Children”, 3:45 ADE Media Center

Dec 11 – KG Toys for Tots Fire Station Visit

Dec 16 – ADCC Staff Meeting, 3:40 – ADE Media Center


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