Permit and Promote

“If you permit it, you promote it.” – Todd Whitaker, What Great Principals Do Differently

This quote was referenced by Todd Whitaker in the context of building culture and establishing expectations.  He explains that the culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.

As we recognize and commit to the need to journey into uncharted pedagogical territory in education, this quote actually may be the key to moving forward. That is, if we flip the focus of the quote from negative outcomes to positive outcomes.

What if we permitted more in our classrooms in order to promote more of the kind of learning experiences our kids need?

What would happen if we permitted more projects, more collaboration, more reflection, and more student control?

If we permitted more of the kind of learning that will allow more inquiry, authentic application of skills, and opportunities for kids to reflect on their learning journey more often, we will promote a dramatic shift the learning culture in our classrooms.

As we move into Act III of the school year, think about what you might intentionally permit in order to authentically promote.

Have a GREAT week!

– Herb

Worth Checking Out —

Love this video by Apple —  As we move to providing students with a One2One iPad experience next year I challenge you to think less about the tool and more about what’s possible with it:

What Makes a Master Teacher


Upcoming Dates —



27 – Spring Flower Sale Kickoff


1 – School Community Meeting – Step Up/Build Skill, 10:45; Spec Ed Team meeting, noon

2 – Admin mtg (AM)

4 – ADE Family Fun Day, 10am-3pm

7 – BIT Meeting, 8am; 3rd Safety Drill, 10:45 am

8 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8am — Check in on Students’ writing performance since last month (Counts as monthly Data Team check-in for literacy)

10 – Principals’ One2One meeting, 10am

13 – Spring Flower Sale Orders due

15 – Olive Tree Spirit DAY; Spec Ed Team Meeting, noon; RTI Team meeting, 3:40

16 – 5th Grade Musical Performances: 10:50, 1:20, & 7pm

20-24 – Spring Break

2016-17 Testing Calendar


Your Personal Average


“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn

I think about this quote often.  I think about how true it has been for me in my life.

In high school, I had a group of friends that I was fortunate to have in my life.  It was like I had 6 or seven more brothers to rely upon.  They truly had a positive influence over me. 

There was a point near then end of my junior year when I was set on not going to college.  I kept making excuses for myself because the process of getting in — the applying, the essay writing, the financial burden — were all so overwhelming to me that I just wanted to avoid the whole thing.

So here were my friends all going through the same process I would need to go through to get into college.  They all seemed to have a plan and were excited about this next stage in life.  I will never forget being over at one of my friends house one summer afternoon.  He had a pool and we were hanging out and shooting basketball into one of those poolside basketball hoops that I would one day completely destroy trying to be Shaq during a dunk.

My friend’s mom came out of the back door of the house and called for him to come in to take a phone call. “It’s OSU; they want to talk to you!”

Wait?  Colleges call people to convince them into going to their school?

A few minutes later, my friend jumped back into the pool with a big smile on his face.  “Ohio State wanted to make sure I was going to apply.  I told them ‘Of course!’”

I faked my enthusiasm because I was crushed.  I knew that with my attitude wasn’t going to get me into college, which deep down is what I truly wanted to do next in my life.  I wanted to be sought after.  I had dreams and aspirations too and I needed to do something about it.

It was that moment and all of the other positive effects of my other friends going through the process of getting into college that created a huge turning point in my life – One that I am thankful for each day.

I was fortunate then to have people around me who pushed me and made my “average” better. I continue to put this philosophy into practice today.  I learn from amazing people everyday and I am fortunate to be able to do so.  Each day I am pushed to grow better as a person because of who I surround myself with…And there are way more than 5 people who have this effect on me!

So, I ask you — Who are you surrounded by?  Are they pushing you to grow?  Are they inspiring you to get out of your comfort zone?  Are they helping you to improve your average?

Keep growing and have a GREAT week!


Articles Worth Reading —

Elementary Coding for Hour of Code: Number Sense and Numeration with Racing Cars!

How To Bring New Students Into Your Peaceful Classroom | Smart Classroom Management

Being a Void that is Felt

Upcoming Dates —

Dec 6 — K-2 IMPACT Training; BIT meeting, 8am: Focus on R-Factor Program

Dec 12 – Herb out at meeting until noon; PTO Meeting, 7pm

Dec 14 — ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45 – Mental Health and Wellness Team to present

Dec 15 – 4th Grade Musical Performances: 10:50am, 1:20pm; Herb out at meeting until noon

Dec 16 – BAC meeting, 8am

Dec 20 – Classroom Parties, 2:30pm

Dec 21-Jan 3 – Winter Break

Jan 4 – Students return

Jan 9 – PTO Meeting, 7pm

Jan 11 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8am

Jan 20 – Family Game Night, 6:30-8pm

Managing Your Space


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:


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!


Tweets Worth Checking Out —




Upcoming Dates —


10-14 — Gifted Testing; Spirit Week –>


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.



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

Looking for an answer


The few weeks just before the new school year is my favorite time of year and for a host of reasons.

Summer is still in full swing but football is getting started.  Vegetables taste better because they were grown in season rather than in a hydroponic hothouse.

But the biggest reason why this is my favorite time of year is because it’s when things start to come together for me on a professional level.

Like most educators, I spend my time off reflecting on the work we have done in the service of others and think about what we can do to improve.  But as a principal entering year 3, this feeling of everything coming together has been different in a way.

The past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about my message – What am I going to share with staff during the first part of the new school year that will hopefully energize and inspire us to continue to make a difference.  This year, it just wasn’t coming to me like it had in the past.  Usually, what I hope to focus on just comes to me through a variety of sources – Reading articles or books, conversations with my wife, or while I’m out on a run.

But this time, the well of ideas seemed dry.  It feels like I’ve had writer’s block for several weeks.

This had me panicking.  What was wrong? Had I lost my passion? No – I still feel the same way I had, perhaps even more emboldened by my convictions and my beliefs about the possibilities we can create for kids.

So what was it with me?

This week, I found the answer.

Tuesday night, I had the privilege to attend the inaugural TEDxHilliard event and heard several amazing stories related to one’s drive to achieve goals and dreams — Amazing stories of overcoming adversity, empowering others, and finding purpose that filled the evening.  Then, the next morning, I had the opportunity to attend the Ohio Innovative Learning Environments Conference in Hilliard and heard Jon Gordon speak about leading through love, kindness, and service to others.

The answer was that I had been focusing on the wrong thing.

I was looking for the wrong answer to the right purpose.

The “right purpose” in my opinion is being a servant leader to those within my “tribe” – My staff, my students, and the families that make up our community.  I want to empower others to make a difference and to remove the roadblocks on the path of progress.

Deep down the answers to what my message should be were always there.

The answer is “love” (Isn’t it always?).

The answer is “hope“.

The answer is “yes“.

The answer is “care“.

They may seem simple, but these are the words that can inspire, the ones that empower, and the ones that build relationships. 

I am so thankful for the folks who had the bravery and desire to share their story.  I am re-energized and ready to take on the best school year yet!


Articles Worth Reading —

Upcoming Dates — 


8 – KG Assessment/Screening Day

12 – New Teacher Work Day

15 – Convocation (AM) / District PD (PM)

15 – Meet the Teacher Night – 5-6PM; Ice Cream Social 5-6:30PM

16 – Building PD (AM) / Work Afternoon (PM)

17 – First Day of 2016-17 School Year

25 – Community-Wide Meeting at ADE (Finances/Levy), 7PM



7 – Curriculum Night, 6-7PM

12 – PTO Meeting, 7PM

30 – Building Advisory

Building Capacity to Lead

Update for Sept 22 – 26

This week was an amazing example of what happens when we allow ourselves to be creative in order to provide unique learning experiences for kids.

What we did as a learning community to celebrate International Dot Day was an act of brave creativity. We trusted each other to coordinate 900+ students into one large dot in the middle of the field we share with Darby Creek Elementary. I appreciate how we modeled for our students what it looks like to collaborate and create something that is bigger than ourselves. What started as an idea turned into reality because we were able to work together and recognize this was going to be a special moment.
What I hope each of you take away from International Dot Day is this —
  • If you want to try something new, go for it. 
  • If your kids want to try something new, tell them to go for it. 
  • When you have an idea that puts kids at the center of something that will deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them, go for it.

Give your kids and give yourself permission to take a risk and to try something new.
You never know what might happen.

Reminders/Upcoming Dates

EdCamp Logistics
·       If you haven’t sent home your copies of the “Kids EdCamp Session Catalog”, please do so on Monday.
·       Be prepared to collect session choices from students. It would be helpful to keep the choice forms in order as students turn them in to you.  You can send the choice forms down to the office each morning.
·       We will be entering the choice form information into a Google Form that will allow us to organize the information.
Data Team Dates
We will be starting our half-day release times for Data Teams on the following dates:
·       Oct 22 – 5th Grade, half-day AM; 4thGrade half-day PM
·       Oct 23 – 3rd Grade, half-day AM; 2ndGrade half-day PM
·       Oct 30 – 1st Grade, half-day AM; KG half-day PM
More information will be coming to you in the near future. I just wanted to get these dates out to you.
Interims – Oct 3
I would like for you to take this opportunity to communicate with parents how their child is doing so far with the material you are focusing on at this time in the year. Just like you, I believe that supporting the growth and success of each of our kids is the most important aspect of the work I do. Please turn your interims into my mailbox by Wednesday, Oct 1 so that I have a chance to review each of the interims.  I appreciate your support. Please see me if you have any questions.
Why is he in here? 
I’ve had a couple of folks ask my why I am in classrooms nearly every day.  I appreciate that others may be wondering too, so I wanted to share with you my response.
The work that teachers do is the most important work that is being done within our learning community. Seeing the instructional best practices and strategies that are being utilized by teachers is the best way for me to support the work you do. It’s like checking the heartbeat of the building.
When I walk into a class and stick around for a bit, I always try to see things from the students’ perspective. I use a framework of four questions that I ask from the perspective of the child that helps me form an understanding of the learning experience:
  1. What is important for me to do in today’s lesson? (Learning Target)
  2. What​​ must I learn to be able to do it? (Lesson-sized chunk of content knowledge & skill)
  3. How will I be asked to show that I can do it? (Performance of understanding)
  4. How well will I have to do it? (Success criteria or “look for”)
I look forward to being in your class this week and to the professional conversations that follow!
Upcoming Dates –
Tue Sep 23, 2014
Scheduled Team Time w/ Herb – Let me know if your team would like to meet during your planning time!

Wed Sep 24, 2014   
Biometric Screening – Preschool Conference Room
3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE

Thu Sep 25, 2014       
Picture Day! (Gifted Classroom) – It’s Picture Day — a day of needed patience and organization. Please help the learning continue in the intermediate hallway by helping your students minimize the noise.

Wed Oct 1, 2014
Interims due in Herb’s mailbox

Thu Oct 2, 2014       
Mumkin Delivery
5:30pm – 6:30pm Market Day

Fri Oct 3, 2014       
K-5 Interims Due
Newsletter Home
8am – 9am Building Advisory Committee Meeting

Tue Oct 7, 2014       
8am – 9am Building Improvement Team mtg

Fri Oct 10. 2014       
9:30-11:00am Kids’ EdCamp

Mon Oct 13, 2014   
3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE
6:30pm – 7pm PTO Executive Mtg
7pm – 8pm PTO General Mtg

Thu Oct 16, 2014       
Spirit Day
6pm – 8:30pm Tailgate Party

Fri Oct 17, 2014        Central Ohio In-Service Day – No School for Students

Articles Worth Reading –

“Before You Move Onto the Next Big Thing… | The Principal of Change”

Recovery in Education

Update for Sept 8-12

This week’s update is a guest post from Mr. Thom Wendt.  Please let me know if you are interested in being a guest blogger.  We are a community of learners and I would love to share your story of learning.

If you walk the planet for very long, you will be recovering from something.  We recover, or are in recovery, from hardships like ailing parents, the loss of a mother, a sick child, the loss of a pet, a rejection from a date, a lost game, a financial setback, a disappointment in a friendship, unspeakable hurts, and countless others.  We are creative beings and can learn a great deal from how nature creates, recreates and recovers itself in some of the most fascinating ways.  Life’s blessings and hardships allow us to experience our ultimate creation; ourselves.

As I approach 35 years of experience in education, I reflect on how my career has been created over time.  How in the beginning I was not aware of what I did not know, and as a result, I had less stress about the work I was doing.  I did not know that I did not know what needed to be done to leave my mark, or make a difference in the life of a student or colleague.  As I reach departure from a career that has encompassed a great deal of my identity, I realize that by the time I became efficient in knowing how to do my job, the time has come to check out of my profession according to the rules.  Now in my final year, every day a comment or observation is made about my retirement.  It is bittersweet, as I recreate how I will continue to teach, lead, serve, or survive.

I may joke about my age or experience, but seldom see myself as old.  My friends and family shake their heads that I single-handedly moved six ton of of gravel one day this summer with a wheelbarrow and shovel, and wanted to go for a quick slalom water ski afterwards.  It is my goal to leave knowing I owned every second that this world could give.  I know hard work (bullheadedness) is in my DNA from watching my father as a farmer and laborer in gainful employment for 72 years.  My father is like the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Tree.

 I recently discovered the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Tree and realized the lessons it can provide us, as we are mere infants in comparison.  The Bristlecone Pine is the oldest single living organism in the world.  They live in California and one has been dated to nearly 5,000 years old.  It has been alive since before the Pyramids and 3,000 years prior to the time that Jesus Christ walked the Earth.  They only live in the harshest of conditions.  Freezing nights, hot days, little rain, barren soil, pelting sandstorms: all are a requirement of their success.  They attain a great age not in spite of their harsh environment, but becauseof it.  A harsh environment is what turns a regular Bristlecone Pine Tree into an Ancient one.  The dense and resinous wood created by the harsh conditions make it resistant to disease and fire, the two great killers of all trees.  The only way to become an Ancient Bristlecone Pine Tree is to go through harsh conditions.

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine – The California Environmental Legacy Project

On a much smaller scale, I have witnessed how as educators, we have at times endured great challenges and hardships.  And as I look over my career and the school experience my sons have endured, I see some scars and gnarled practices.  Like personal recovery, the audacity of hope is what sometimes sustains us to face the next day.  As I observe where we are headed, I would rename “educational reform” to “educational recovery.”  Moving toward innovation, student interest, the whole child, teacher autonomy, shared leadership, collaboration, relationship building, the arts, recreation, and the joy in life long learning, allow us to recreate and recover what lead us to our passion in teaching.  

All those initiatives have been present, in our DNA, and in some cases, laying dormant.  They will emerge in a new form like fresh flowers in spring.  Like Death Valley, even a little rain will allow dormant seeds to recover and survive for awhile in the harsh environment.  So we must bloom where we are planted and embrace the beauty in recovering what lies within and ahead.  I will move on to a new season.  You will carry the torches of those who have left before you, and leave your mark.  We may be a million miles from a million dollars, but no one can spend the wealth we have co-created in touching the lives of children.

Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk captures so much of what I have witnessed and value in our profession.  It will reaffirm what you already know to be true about what is gnarled and what constitutes a recovery or rebirth!

Sir Ken Robinson, How to Escape Education’s Death Valley

Thom Wendt is an Intervention Teacher at Alton Darby Elementary.

Up-coming Dates

Mon Sep 8, 2014
Mumkin Sale Ends
Team Time with Herb – During your team’s planning time. 
This is voluntary, so please let me know if you would like to meet at this time.

6:30pm – 7pm PTO Executive Mtg
7pm – 8pm PTO General Mtg

Tues Sep 9, 2014
9:00am – 10:00am Mrs. Shively’s students’ Community Outing
Data Team / IAT Process Overview Meetings for 5th, 4th and 2nd Grade Teams during your planning time.

Wed Sep 10, 2014
Data Team / IAT Process Overview Meetings for 1st and 3rd Grade Teams during your planning time.

Fri Sep 12, 2014
Mumkin Orders due

Mon Sep 15, 2014
International Dot Day!
Teachers help me out put the color shirt for your grade level in your newsletters next week. We can wear our new staff shirt. We will start calling grade levels at 9:15. 
Fifth will lead followed by fourth, third, second, and first and then Kindergarten.

Wed Sep 17, 2014
10:15am-11:30am District Building Visit

Fri Sep 19, 2014
Mumkin Order Money due

Wed Sep 24, 2014
3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE

Thu Sep 25, 2014
Picture Day

Thu Oct 2, 2014

Mumkin Delivery

5:30pm – 6:30pm Market Day

Fri Oct 3, 2014

K-5 Interims Due

Newsletter Home

8am – 9am Building Advisory Committee Meeting

Mon Oct 6, 2014
Global Read Aloud begins! — Click here for more information.

Tue Oct 7, 2014
8am – 9am Building Improvement Team mtg

Fri Oct 10. 2014
9:30-11:15am Kids’ EdCamp

Opening the School Year: It’s a Roller Coaster Ride!


Two of the best moments in my life were the birth of my two daughters.  Both of those moments were a roller coaster ride filled with anticipation, excitement, fear, anxiety, stress, and pure joy. I never thought I would ever experience anything like those moments again. 

Well, I’m here to tell you that preparing an elementary school for a new school year as a principal has pretty much contained all of those same kinds of emotions for me.

However, despite the lack of sleep, the anxiety, and the energy it has taken to open a building, I have never been this excited for school to start. Ever.

I can’t wait to see the kids walk into the building for the first time this year! We get a chance each day to make a difference and to change the world by helping to prepare our kids for the future. Just think about that for a moment. We honestly get the opportunity each day to change the world. That to me is a dream come true.

The anticipation of the first day of school and the monumental task we have been given is worth the roller coaster ride and I am ready to go over the hill with my hands up! Here’s to a great school year!

The Week Ahead

Monday, August 18 — Convocation — Hilliard Bradley High School, 2800 Walker Road

*Please remember to wear our new ADE Staff t-shirts!

7:45 am–8:15 am – Coffee and Juice in the Commons 

8:30 am – Welcome and Program Begins in Gymnasium

 After Convocation, the rest of the day is for you to get ready for the new year!

11:30 – School Safety Team meeting (Media Center, 15 minutes) – – I will email those of you who are listed on the Incident Command Structure.

4:00-5:00 – Meet the Teacher Open House — Support staff, please make yourself available to help our families find classrooms. We may need some volunteers to help families access Home Access. I will be in touch with some of you to see if you can help out.

4:00-6:00 – PTO Ice Cream Social — Located outside behind the gym. Servings are on sale for $1 each.  Thanks to ADE PTO for organizing this event!  

Tuesday, August 19 — First Day of School!
Wednesday, August 20
Thursday, August 21
Friday, August 22

Articles / Blog Posts Worth Reading

“4 Principles Of Student-Centered Learning” via

“Who is going to stop me?” via

“OS!M” – Teacher at Heart via