Habit: The Double-Edged Sword

Before we were married, my wife Carrie once asked me, “Why are you so grumpy all of the time?”  I honestly had no idea why.  I had a pessimistic view of the world and thought there was nothing right with the world that couldn’t be broken by what was wrong with the world.

One day not too long after, Carrie gave me the book Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom, and said that I needed to read it.

It’s hard to explain what happened to me as I read and finished the book because it completely changed my outlook on life. Here was this beautiful person who was lying on his deathbed but who was also so grateful for everything he had throughout his life. It wasn’t the first time I had heard the life lessons Morrie’s shared – to live life to the fullest, to be grateful, and to love. But for some reason, his story connected with me and changed me for the better.

Most of us wake up either with a smile or ready to complain about the world around us. Both responses are habits of mind that have become ingrained inside of us over time.

If you stop and thought about the default responses you have to the predictable events of a typical day – the alarm going off in the morning, traffic, kids not following expectations – which side of the ledger would you see most of your responses?  On the positive side or on the negative side?

What does your balance sheet look like at the end of the day?

The bad news is that habits are hard to break.

The good news is that new habits can be made as long as we are committed to changing and forming habits that help our default responses be more positive ones.  It takes self-reflection, commitment, and finding people in our lives who will hold us accountable maintaining our goal to change.

I like this reflection sheet from our R-Factor training:

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What should we stop doing and what should we start doing to help make our lives more positive and happy?
Commit to putting more marks on the positive side of your daily balance sheet.

And read Tuesdays with Morrie. It’s worth every minute!

Have a GREAT week!

– Herb

Worth Checking Out –

How Personal Learning Is Working in Vermont
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar17/vol74/num06/How-Personal-Learning-Is-Working-in-Vermont.aspx

Upcoming Dates –

April (State Testing dates listed below)

3 – School Community Meeting – “Adjust and Adapt”, 10:45am; Board of Education meeting at ADE, 7pm

4 – BIT meeting, 8am; 5th grade ELA, Part 1; Staff Breakfast, 8:20 am

5 – IMPACT PD (K-2 Teachers); 6th grade transition meeting, 2:00 – 4:00; 5th grade ELA, Part 2; Newsletter items due; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

6 – Admin meeting (Herb, AM); Blue Jackets Choir performance (before game); 3rd & 4th grade ELA, Part 1; Garden/Compost Club, 3:35 – 4:30

7 – 3rd & 4th grade ELA, Part 2

10 – Preschool IEP meetings (Herb/Brian H), throughout day; PTO Meeting, 7:00

12 – Staff Meeting – Progress check on Data Team goal; KG ELL testing; Urban Zen, 3:45 – 4:45; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30; Lambright’s Parent Ed Camp, 6:30 – 7:30; Full moon!

13 – Mental Health and Wellness Team meeting, 8am; One2One Principal meeting, 10am; KG fieldtrip to Franklin Park Conservatory; 2nd grade Wax Museum; Last day to submit requisitions; Staff Luncheon; Garden/Compost Club, 3:35 – 4:30

14 – Holiday, No School

17 – 4th grade fieldtrip to Supreme Court & Statehouse

18 – 5th grade Math test

19 – SLSP fieldtrip to Steak N Shake; 4th grade Math Test; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

20 – Principal’s meeting (Herb, AM); 3rd grade Math Test; Garden/Compost Club, 3:35 – 4:30

21 – 2nd grade fieldtrip to Art Museum

22- Hilliard’s Earth Day Celebration

24-28 – Book Fair, open til 5:00 on 25th; open during Art Show on 27th; open 8:00-10:00 am on 28th

24 – Gifted model parent meeting, 6:00; Vidic’s Medicine Safety Presentation (5th=1:30 – 2:15, 4th=2:15-3:00)

25 – 5th grade Science Test; 4th grade Social Studies Test; Vidic’s Medicine Safety Presentation (2nd=1:00-1:35; 3rd=1:40-2:15; 1st=2:20-2:55)

26 – Staff meeting, 3:40; Walk-A-Thon, 9:00 am – 2:30 pm; Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

27 – Elementary Transfer meeting, 8:30; Art Show, times TBD

28 – BAC meeting, 8:00; fruit & veggies (grapes & snow peas); clean office lounge

Managing Your Space

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Our R-Factor training tells us that we are in control of our own 20 square feet.  When we take care of our own space, we then positively influence the culture that connects us all.

So what happens when problems, issues, and other stuff start to crowd your space? 

What do you do when it’s hard to move in your space?

You have to Step Up.

Stepping up means to Respond in the moment. 

The Past is over – There’s nothing you can do about it.  The Future hasn’t happened yet, so you are only left with Now. 

The Dalai Lama puts it another way:

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So if we commit to Now, we begin to clear out the other junk that is taking up our space. 

When have have the space within our own 20 square feet to move around, we become better thinkers, decision-makers and doers.

We have to remind ourselves of the following, each and everyday, in order to maintain our 20 square feet:

  • Let go of what happened in the past; learn from mistakes or bad memories, but don’t let them control you.
  • Don’t fear the future — Most of the time what actually happens is ten times better than we had anticipated.
  • Respond to predictable Events with actions that are intentional and aim to change the pattern.  If your Response doesn’t change, the Outcome won’t change.
  • Waste no time on blaming, complaining, or defending.  Bring a solution-focused mindset to the challenges you face.

Redefine what’s possible.

Manage your space with intention, purpose, and with skill.

Have a GREAT week!

-Herb

Tweets Worth Checking Out —

 

 

 

Upcoming Dates —

October

10-14 — Gifted Testing; Spirit Week –>

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10 — PTO Meeting, 7PM

14 — Chapter 1 Craft Moves book talk starting in S. Firestone’s room at 8am

15 — AD/DC Warrior Dash, Starts at 4PM.  We need help! — Sign-up HERE

17-20 — Fall Conference Week; Late Night is Weds, Oct 19.

18 — Literacy Framework Refresher Course @ Britton, 3:45

21 – COI Day

24 – State of Schools (Darby), 6-9PM

25 – State of Schools (Davidson, 6-9PM

26 – State of Schools (Bradley), 6-9PM

28 — BAC Meeting — Agenda items to Karen O by Wed, Oct 26.  If no items, then no meeting is necessary.

Click here for the Elementary Assessment Calendar for 2016-2017.

 

IMPORTANT HCSD DATES

Board of Education Meeting – October 10, 7pm at Bradley High School

Community Information Meeting – October 11, 7:30pm at Crossing Elementary

Community Information Meeting – 13, 7:30pm at Bradley High School

Community R Factor Training – October 16, 7pm at Darby High School

Community Information Meeting – October 18, 7:30pm at Darby High School

Community Information Meeting – 20, 7:30pm at Davidson High School

Community R Factor Training – October 23, 7pm at Darby High School

Board of Education Meeting – October 24, 7pm at Darby High School

Community Information Meeting – October 27, 7:30pm at Tharp

Community Information Meeting – November 7, 7:30pm at Station

Roll With It!

Update for April 18-22

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The first beautiful Spring weekend led me and many others to hours of yard work.

Once upon a time, I used to look forward to getting outside and scaping the land with shovels, rakes, and garden sherers.

Today, I still enjoy being outside; it’s the yard work that I have come to dread.  Mowing, edging, and pouring chemicals on my yard all take hours of time to do.  Time seems more precious these days and I’m to the point when I’m ready to just buy a goat.

However, today while I was getting sunburned and overusing muscles I don’t normally use, I came to the conclusion that my outlook on yard work is my problem and I needed to own it.

I needed to remind myself that this happens ever year.

It’s all about my mindset and how I framed the work ahead.  

I got to be outside on a beautiful sunny day.  I got to work at something that I would be able to appreciate for months to come. I got to get exercise.  I found myself slowing down and taking my time to notice what’s around me.  I even started getting creative and imagining how I was going to redo some of the landscaping.  

I share this because if we’ve been teaching for more than a year, we all know what happens in May — discipline increases, we (kids and us) are starting to focus on summer, things get busier as we try to wind down.


This happens every year.  It probably always will.

Anticipate it.  Adapt to it.  Adjust to it.

Change your mindset — We get this opportunity to use the excitement of the school year ending. 

We get to give kids the chance to put all of the skills they have learned from us this year to do something truly amazing.

Roll with the energy and excitement!

Have a GREAT week!

–Herb

Articles Worth Reading — 

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Upcoming Dates — 

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

***State Testing Dates ***

Apr 19 — Grades 3, 4, 5 Math State Assessment

Apr 26 — Grade 4 Social Studies State Assessment
Apr 26 — Grade 5 Science State Assessment

Apr 19 — ADDC Staff Meeting, 3:40 ADE Media Center
Apr 21 — Herb Meeting AM
Apr 21 — ART SHOW!
Apr 18-22 — Book Fair
Apr 21 — New Kindergarten Parent Night, 6:30-7:30pm
Apr 22 — K-5 Interim Reports
Apr 27 — ADE Walk-a-thon
Apr 28 — Herb mtg AM
Apr 28 — Grow Together Thursday

May 2 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
May 3 — BIT Meeting
May 4 — ADE Staff Meeting, 8am
May 5 — Flower Sale Pick-Up
May 6 — BAC Meeting
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)

Being Present In Order to Know What’s Next

Update for Sept 28-Oct 2

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I love what this picture captures.  The woman circled in the picture inspires me think about being present more often.  Actually, being more present in the moment has helped me to better understand the change process. 

Change often happens as a response to recognizing when the conditions are right to take the next steps.  The Alton Darby Creek Collaborative project is a reflection of this kind of moment.  We are in the middle of this grand collaboration and we sense the urgency to capture the moment and work hard to re-imagine learning experiences for kids.  During the change process, we need to know when to slow down and when to speed up.

To accomplish this, we need to pause and reflect often.  We need to celebrate what we’ve accomplished, but we also need to be completely honest with ourselves about how we are making progress.  We need to keep looking for answers.

Sometimes it’s through a conversation with a colleague that affirms our thinking.

Or it could be a blog post that pushes you to clearly define the idea you have.

One thing that motivates me to keep looking for answers is my own personal vision for learning that many of you share as well — Flexible learning driven by student-inquiry, multi-aged groupings, and kids learning through solving real-world problems.  It’s what I see in my mind’s eye, but I know we still have a ways to go.  

Our project makes me think of running a relay race — Racing to the next person with the baton in hand, clearly seeing your goal. Pacing yourself so that you can be responsive to the race. 

Our goal is achieving our vision for learning, but I know that if we are too focused on our vision of what we want for learning, it might cloud our present reality and cause missteps. 

A distracted runner drops the baton.  

To get to where we want to go, we have to be in the moment and responsive to the present with a gaze towards to future.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4091/4976497160_026165c6cd_b.jpg
Labeled for noncommercial reuse.

Keep being observant learners, collaborators and thinkers! Through this we will create new learning experiences for kids!

Have a GREAT week!

-Herb


Articles Pushing My Thinking


Staying the Same is Ultimately Falling Behind http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/11864

We Find What We Look For In Our Students – So What Do We See?  http://chriswejr.com/2015/09/21/we-find-what-we-look-for-in-our-students-so-what-do-we-see/#.VgfkInUkcox.twitter

Change: Choose the crockpot over the microwave… http://www.justintarte.com/2015/09/change-choose-crockpot-over-microwave.html?spref=tw

Digital vs Digitized Learning http://wp.me/p1yBnd-mP



Upcoming Events

Sept 28 — School Community Meeting — Community Cardboard Challenge, 10:45

Sept 30 — Mumkin Pickup 4-7pm

Oct 2 — BAC meeting, 8:30

Oct 5-9 — Fall Conference Week, Conference Night is Oct 7.

Oct 5 — PTO General Meeting, 7pm

Oct 6 — Building Improvement Team meeting

Oct 9 — Interims due if no P/T Conference

Oct 10 — Community Cardboard Challenge, Heritage Middle School, 9-12pm

Oct 14 — IAT Team meeting, 3:30

Oct 16 — COI Day, No School for Students

Oct 23 — Staff Meeting w/ Dr. John

Oct 26 — Yearbook Cover Contest begins / State of the Schools @ Bradley H.S.

Oct 28 — IAT Team meeting, 3:30

Running through Portland, Reflecting on Change

Update for Mar 30 – Apr 2

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This past week, I flew to Portland, Oregon with my family to visit my sister-in-law.  None of us had been to Portland before and we didn’t know what to expect.  I actually preferred not knowing what to expect, kind of like not knowing what a movie is about before you see it.  It just helps me stay focused and stay present. The only thing we did know was that there is a campaign to “Keep Portland Weird”, which sort of summarizes the eclectic folks who live there.

We ended up loving Portland!  It’s a beautiful city with lots and lots of people riding bikes and more street cars than you would ever expect.  I definitely recommend visiting!

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The one thing I really wanted to do while in Portland was go for a run.  I’ve been trying to run in every city I visit.  It’s just one of those things I guess.  I actually feel like I see the city differently and experience it in a different way on a run. I was really looking forward to this: I had packed some running gear, researched some places to run, and even plotted out a route on a map.  You’d think it would be one of the first things I did when I got to Portland.

But it wasn’t.

I actually didn’t go on a run until the day before we left.  Why was that?

Fear.

Fear of the unknown.  Fear of getting lost.  Fear of silly thoughts like not having enough sleep the night before.

The day before I finally ran we were out walking to a shop when I realized that I had been making up excuses not to run because I didn’t know what to expect. Then it hit me: This is like the fear of change we have experienced at times as we work to re-imagine what the elementary learning experience can and should look like.

I quickly got out my phone and jotted down my thought:


I went on my run the next day and enjoyed every step.  Time seemed to fly by and I was finished before I knew it.  I saw a different side of Portland (Literally – I went across the river).  I noticed just how busy Portland is with folks out running and biking, trains crossing bridges, buses and cars honking — It was all around me.  When I was finished, I felt like I had accomplished a lot, even though it wasn’t my longest run or my fastest pace.  I had got past my fears and my excuses and I ended up being disappointed that I hadn’t run sooner.

We all know how much the world is changing and we all know that we have an obligation to respond to this change for our students.  As we continue our work together, re-imagining the elementary learning experience, we will no doubt come to many crossroads where we will be reluctant to cross and that’s OK.  I really believe that fear is apart of the process of changing.

However, we have to remember that we can’t let our fears stop our progress.

Have a great week!

-Herb

Articles Worth Reading

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/03/self-talk.html

Upcoming Dates

Mar 30
Teacher Steering Committee Meeting


Apr 1
Staff Meeting (PBIS), 8am
Special Ed Team Meeting, 12:30
Student Housing Committee Meeting (Herb), 4:30


Apr 2
Admin Meeting (Herb), 8am
4th Grade District Math Assessment – 12:45 – 1:45pm
5th Grade District Math Assessment – 2:00 – 3:00pm


Apr 3
No School  


April 6
Tech PD with Kelly Riley, 7:45am


Apr 7
BIT Meeting, 8am
6th Grade Transition Meeting (Spec Ed Team), 3pm
**MEDIA CENTER being used after school, 3:30-7:30


Apr 8
School Community Meeting, 8:50am
PTO Brainstorming Meeting, 7pm


Apr 9
Market Day Pick-up, 5:30pm


Apr 10
Building Advisory Meeting, 8am


Apr 13
Dave & Busters Spirit Night, 5pm
PTO Meeting, 7pm


Apr 14
Student Housing Committee Meeting (Herb), 4:30pm


Apr 16
Admin Meeting (Herb), 8am
**  ADE Parent EdCamp! **, 6-8pm


Apr 17
K-5 Interims — A good chance to update parents before the end of the year!


Apr 20
4th and 5th Grade ELA EOY State Assessments


Apr 21
3rd Grade Spring OAA Reading
Apr 22
3rd, 4th, 5th, Grade Math Unit 1 EOY Assessments

*** Earth Day Dedication of new shed and path in the “Outdoor Education Space at ADE”, 2:30 ***


Apr 23
3rd, 4th, 5th, Grade Math Unit 2 EOY Assessments
*** ART SHOW *** More to come!


Apr 27
Board of Education Meeting at Alton Darby, 7pm


Apr 28
Tech PD with Kelly Riley, 7:45am


Apr 29
Student Housing Committee Meeting (Herb) 4:30


May 1

Staff Meeting — Team Connection Meeting with Dr. John/Board Member, 8:00am

ACE/DCR Project Dates:

Mar 30–REWIND/Take 2 steering committee meeting.  At this meeting we will have an honest conversation regarding the intention of our last meeting and the vision we shared and open it up to conversation regarding: Naming IT (honoring Shannon’s thought) and options/thoughts regarding ways to execute the vision–or modify the vision in order to continue moving forward (i.e. hear from Kim, Karen, and Carolyn and anyone else to collaborate the vision/design).

Apr 8—OPTIONAL Mixer Staff Meeting at ADE 3:45 pm–small group steering committee members lead.  We hope schedules permit your attendance but will understand if this conflicts with already scheduled commitments.

Apr 13–Teacher Steering Committee meeting–Jennifer is going to ask Marcy McNight from Norwich to come and present to the committee regarding the PBL design in 5th grade she has helped to create. 

Apr 21–Staff Meeting with ADE/DCR staff at 3:45 pm at ADE–Teacher steering committee small group explains the vision/design for next year’s extension opportunity to the staff as a whole.

May 6–OPTIONAL STAFF MEETING–work time to collaborate/meet/plan with the people who are teaming up for the extension/design opportunity next year for students.

May 8–Teacher steering committee site visits and work session…
1/2 of the committee will go to Summit Road with CT (CT is working on these arrangments—stay tuned) and 1/2 of the committee will go to Wickliffe with Herb and Jennifer (CT is working on these arrangements—stay tuned). 

We were thinking 9:00-10:30 for the site visit and then meet back at CO at 11:30 at the latest to debrief and have lunch (provided and to be ordered through Aramark).  We would then engage in conversation with the group regarding how to shift our practice as we continue moving forward with our design next year towards students defining their learning path through the options/opportunities that teachers can create/provide for them as experiences.  Could these/are these options/opportunities connected to the networks? This would support students defining the voice and choice in their learning and becomes the heart of student ownership within the design.

Additionally one GOAL for the day is to NAME IT…not pedagogically…or programatically….but based on our Guiding Principles.  So the IT that is named represents the way we do things grounded in those principles–the mantra of “Who We’d Like to Be”.  We will be showing the teacher videos one more time and identifying how these ideas align to the principles established in our Guiding Principles and how these ideas can become opportunities for next year. 

May 13–last teacher steering committee meeting for 2014-15 –The purpose is the thank those who were on this committee and touch base/listen to their perspective of the buildings from which they represent, what they think is necessary for next year to move forward.  We will share with them our “list” of what needs to happen and ask them for their “list” in order to bridge the perspectives to move forward with SOME implementation of SOME ideas for the 2015-16 year.

The Energy That Comes from “Downtime”

Update for Jan 5-9


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A new year, a new beginning.  This winter break has been a blessing for me because it allowed me the opportunity to take a breath, celebrate what we have accomplished so far, and reflect on how I can continue to improve professionally.


Here’s a quick list of things I noticed or thought about over break:


1. There really is enough time in the day; loads of it. The trick is prioritizing your time.  Little actions can help you prioritize.  For example, I shut off my school email on my phone.  No notifications, no “buzzing”, but it’s there for when I want to read it.  It has made a huge difference in prioritizing my time. I read more, wrote more, listened more, and was able to be in the moment more.


2. It’s okay to think about work. — The “curriculum of life” can lead to creating actual authentic learning experiences for our students. Watching the determination my youngest daughter had to keep ice skating even though she kept falling was inspiring to me. There have been times that I think to myself, “We need to teach kids to be resilient.” Well, guess what?  Kids already are resilient; we just need to connect that resiliency to learning situations.


Just living our lives can help us see connections that you don’t see in a professional development book or in a blog post. Being observant is part of having a what George Couros calls an Innovator’s Mindset (see George Couros’ blog post about this concept).


3. Napping — There is nothing else like it.


4. Maintaining a balance — I kept up my running schedule. I didn’t want to stop just because I am on vacation. In fact, I’ve run more that I ever had before.  I’m learning that I really enjoy the time I spend running. I’ve even started reading a book called Zen and the Art of Running.  Maintaining a balance means keeping time in your life to do the things that bring you joy.  I am learning so much about myself, about being mindful, and about leadership all because I committed to keeping a balance in my day.


5. Reconnecting with family — Enjoying the holidays with my kids has been wonderful.  My oldest daughter is 9 and this year the reality that the holidays will be different as the kids get older really hit me.  I reminded myself that I needed to treasure these moments because they are limited.


Continuously reflecting is something that I continue to develop each day.  “Downtime” has been really beneficial and productive for me and it has helped me to remember to build some downtime into my schedule each day.  


As we start “Act II” of the school year, let’s continue to focus our efforts into discovering what is possible.  Let’s be optimistic about the future! Let’s have the “imagination and bravery” needed to create a learning environment that meets the needs of our kids so that they can become the problem-finders, critical thinkers, and creative learners the world needs.  


When I consider the exponential change that is taking place in the world, I find inspiration in Lincoln’s words:


The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.
— Abraham Lincoln, Annual Message to Congress, 1862


Here’s to rising with the occasion and to a great 2015!





Videos that inspire:


This will happen on Monday (extreme frustration and extreme adoration within 2 minutes)



Ideas for reimagining classroom space…


Articles worth reading:



Fresh Eyes


If The Moon Were Only One Pixel: A Tediously Accurate Scale Model of the Solar System



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Love this!


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Upcoming Dates


Jan 5 —
Online Registration for Kindergarten Begins


Jan 6 —
Building Improvement Team, 8am Media Center
Assessment Meeting (Admins), 1pm


Jan 7 —
Yearbook Picture Day!
Children’s Mathematics Book Talk meeting, 8am Media Center
Gifted Services Meeting (Admins), 10am
Spec Ed Team Meeting, 12:30pm Conference Room
Dr. Marschhausen visit, 12:45pm
ADE Only Staff Meeting, 3:45pm


Jan 8 —
PK-12 Admin Meeting, 8am
Herb’s Admin Data Team mtg, 9:30
Market Day Pick-up, 5:30


Jan 9 —
Newsletter home
Building Advisory Committee, 8am
Staff Get-Together?, 4pm


Jan 12 —
PTO Meeting, 7pm


Jan 13 —
PD Calendar Closed (Limited Subs on these days…)
Teacher Steering Committee, 3:45


Jan 14 —
PD Calendar Closed
Children’s Mathematics Book Talk, 8am Media Center
Parent Committee Meeting, 7pm Bradley HS Aux Commons


Jan 15 —
Band/Orchestra Demo for 5th Grade, 9:15


Jan 16 —
Interims due– Use your licensed professional judgement for this round of interims…


Jan 19 — MLK Day, No School


Jan 20 —
Testing Window Planning Day (Admins, Testing Coordinators), 8am


Jan 21 —
Children’s Mathematics Book Talk, 8am Media Center


Jan 22 —
Admin Meeting, 8am


Jan 26 —
Yearbook Sale Begins


Jan 27 —
Children’s Mathematics Book Talk, 8am Media Center


Jan 28 —
AD/DC Staff Meeting, 3:45


Jan 30 —
Family Game Night, 6:30pm



Team Times with Herb — These could just be one on one conversations, too!  No agenda, just time to catch up and help each other to reflect.  My first question will be, “How can I help you?”


Tuesday, January 6


Wednesday, January 21


Tuesday, February 3


Tuesday, March 3


Wednesday, March 18



Winter Data Team MeetingsPending Approval from Prof Development Dept.


Weds, Jan 28  — 5th Grade (PM)


Thurs, Jan 29 — 1st Grade (AM), 2nd Grade (PM)


Weds, Feb 4 — 3rd Grade (AM), 4th Grade (PM)


Thursday, Feb 5 — KG (PM)

Core beliefs should drive you to improve each day.

“If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.” -Winston Churchill

Last week, I had a conversation with a teacher about our student support process. We are both on our intervention team and the teacher was feeling frustrated about what to do next with a student case.

This was a great conversation for me because the teacher was giving me feedback on a process I helped to develop. I was stunned at first – I was under the impression that our intervention process was working well and we had great results for students during the previous school year. How could this be an issue?

But I quickly ignored those thoughts because this was someone whose opinion I trust and I didn’t want to miss a word.

After I listened, I reminded them about a conversation we had a couple of weeks ago about something similar. I told them that the structures we put in place to support students should be the floor and not the ceiling. If what we do is the very best we can do for a kid, then who cares what the process says is the next step?

I’ve been thinking about my conversation with my teammate a lot since then. While I believe structures and protocols are important, I also believe we often build our own barriers to solutions for the sake of protocols. I believe we need to consider protocols and processes the starting point for our conversations about a student and then use what we know about the student to help him or her be successful.

However, just because something is a core belief doesn’t mean I’ve mastered it yet. This is something I need to continue to reflect upon and improve, and it drives me to want to be a better leader each day.