Inefficient energy


I loved physics in high school.  We did so many great experiments and had many conversations that challenged assumptions we had about science.

I remember my teacher, Mr. Mackey, telling us that heat is one of the most inefficient energy sources we have.  He had us think about how the sun’s light heats the Earth each day and how most of that energy all around us during the day slowly starts to transfer to lower forms of energy as soon as the sunsets.

I thought about this lesson this weekend as I thought back on the week that was.  There were a handful of times at home and at school when I was reacting to the heat of the moment.  In those moments, I reacted with default behaviors instead of disciplined ones.  I ended up spending more of my time and energy having to go back and clean up my own mess.

“Heat” is certainly an inefficient source of energy. 

This week was a great reminder to stay focused on behaviors and habits that have helped me stay disciplined in the past:

  • Meditating and running in the morning to keep balanced all day.
  • Getting plenty of sleep to keep my head clear.
  • Building 5 to 10 minutes in between projects and activities to get my mind right.
  • Continue to celebrate the positive and being grateful for the great things in life.

E+R=O is easy to say and hard to implement with 100% efficiency.

This week was a great opportunity for me to remember that culture and leadership is the experience you provide for others.

Heat is one of the most inefficient sources of energy, and it’s certainly not an efficiency energy source for delivering a culture or leadership experience.

I hope you reflect with me this week — How are others experiencing our culture through you?

Have a GREAT week!

– Herb

Worth Checking Out –

What Works Can Hurt: Side Effects in Education

A new way to measure the benefits of school recess via @BrookingsInst


Upcoming Dates –


21 – 4th Grade / 5th Grade Data Team Meeting

22 – Gifted Cluster PD (Cluster teachers); Staff Meeting, 3:45

23 – Fire Drill, 10:20am

24 – BAC, if needed, 8am

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

8 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8am

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: 10:50, 1:20, & 7pm

20-24 – Spring Break

2016-17 Testing Calendar



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

Growing the New School Year

Update for Aug 31-Sept 4

Photo Credit: WikiCommons

“What you focus on, grows.”

“How are you going to top last year?”

I didn’t know it 12 months ago, but these two quotes have a lot to do with each other.  The first one I’ve heard and read about over the past couple of years.  The second one came from a parent I ran into over the summer.  I had a response for the parent, but it took an amazing first year experience and the opportunity for me to work with excellent educators, parents, and students for me to have a response.

Last year when I started my new journey with Alton Darby Elementary, I committed to focusing on very few things such as relationships, listening, and putting students first.  I believe that being intentional about what I focused on helped me evolve my focus to empowering other stakeholders to make decisions. Relationships, empowerment, and student-centered learning were what I hoped to grow.  While the work I do with these three concepts will never be finished, I am proud of the progress we have made so far.

So, how did I respond to the second quote?  The one from the parent?

“Wow.  Thanks!  I’m flattered that you said that, but now I wonder if I should be concerned with the pressure to have another great year!  You know what?  I actually don’t feel that pressure the way I thought I would.  I’ve realized that it’s not up to me to top last year.  It’s actually the work that we all will do together that will determine the year we have.  We have a great team of teachers and I am also looking forward to working more with parents to help us continue to redefine what the elementary learning experience should be for kids.”

As we start another amazing school year, I am still committed to growing relationships, empowering others, and focusing on what’s best for kids.  I believe in the work we do for kids each day, I believe in the power of the team, and I can’t wait to see where we go to next!

Have a great week!

Articles Worth Reading

“Hopes for the Future” by George Couros

“What a Student Learned From a Short Experiment in Self-Directed Learning” by Jenny Brundin

// “The Many, Many Problems With “Follow Your Passions” by William MacAskill

Video Worth Watching

Upcoming Dates

Mon, Aug 31 — PTO Planning Meeting, 6:00pm
Tues, Sept 1 — Building Improvement Team meeting
Wed, Sept 2 — Staff Meeting, 8am; Focus on Writing Mantras and I-Time
Wed, Sept 2 — Fire drill (more details in email)
Thur, Sept 3 — Admin Meeting (Herb); L. McNaughton building visit PM
Fri, Sept 4 — FIELD DAY!; BAC meeting if any agenda items submitted by Weds.
Mon, Sept 7 — Labor Day, No School
Tues, Sept 8 — Team Connection Time w/ Herb; Let me know if you or your team would like to meet!; Mumkin Orders due
Mon, Sept 14 — PTO General Meeting, 6:30pm
Wed, Sept 16 — Parent EdCamp!, 5:30-7pm
Mon, Sept 21 — Safety Training Day, No Students
Thur, Sept 24 — Picture Day!


Update for Jan 12-16

Over our winter break, I shared a Google Form with the staff that was set up to give me feedback about things like vision, expectations, and others’ perspectives on goals I was working towards.  It was good to read the comments some folks left.  They were honest and helped me get a better understanding of what others were thinking.

One of the comments left mentioned something about wanting to know what I expected of them.  My short answer is to do what’s Best For Kids, but I get it.  We are still in the getting-to-know-you phase of being the new guy in the building. Some folks may need a little more detail.

So, I’ll answer by saying I hope my expectations don’t come close to the expectations you have for yourself.  What I mean is this profession is serious business and if I am being serious with myself, I want to continue to learn and grow so that I can be the best I can for kids. I try to hold high expectations for myself to continue to grow, to always reflect and to treat others the way I want to be treated.

So, in response to wanting to know more about my expectations for the staff, here are the expectations I have for myself (mostly reflective questions).  Feel free to borrow any 🙂 —

Build relationships with kids — You are their official dream coordinator. Think about what you must do to do that job and to do it well.  Try to live up to the late Rita Pierson’s advice:

“Every child deserves a champion – An adult who will never give up on them. Who understands the power of connection, and insists they become the best they can possibly be.  Is this a tough job? You betcha! But it is not impossible. We can do this! We are educators! We were born to do make a difference!”

Allow kids more freedom to learn — How much time are you facilitating the lesson?  Is the balance of the lesson’s work on you or with your kids?  Think about the last time you learned something meaningful that stuck with you.  How much of the heavy lifting did you do?  How many times did you get frustrated, want to give up, and change your goals?  Now take that experience and work to create it for kids.  Remember that the key is allowing more freedom to allow this way of learning to happen.

Connect with others (across the hall and across the world) — The world is rich with ideas. With one tap of my phone, I am connected to a constant flow of ideas that I can take and use for my learning community. Yes, social media is cumbersome to learn. Yes, the lingo is confusing. Yes, not everything that takes place on Twitter is good. But I still say go for it. Go for it because it is a new learning experience that is relatable to what we do in the classroom in so many ways. Remember – It’s not about technology; it’s about the learning that we do with technology that is important.

Share what you do — Your lessons, your ideas, your thoughts matter. People just like you are looking for new ideas and ways to engage their students. Share what you do with the world and stop thinking that your ideas aren’t good enough. They are.

Use good data to inform instruction — That frown on the kids face or the diverted gaze? — Good data. If little Sally keeps flushing plastic forks down the back hallway toilet at 1:30pm each day, that should tell you something.  Data doesn’t have to be just about scores and percentages. It’s also collecting information to help determine a pattern of behaviors, positive and negative. Just remember that they are kids. They probably didn’t come to school thinking they were going to ruin your day. Something’s up and it’s up to us to figure it out.

What expectations do you have for yourself?
Video that…makes you smile 🙂

Articles Worth Reading

Future educators  

Intelligence is Important but Integrity Matters More   via  

School districts explore deeper-learning model  


Upcoming Dates

Jan 12 —
SOAR Conference, OSU – Herb out
PTO Meeting, 6pm

Jan 13 —
PD Calendar Closed (Limited Subs on these days…)
Testing Planning Meeting (Admins, Test Coords.), 9am
2nd Grade Math PD at CO – 1-3pm
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?”

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)

Pieces of me: Relationships and Technology

There are many pieces that make up who we are as people. These pieces often become apparent in the work we do.

One piece that makes up who I am is that I believe that relationships matter more than anything, especially in the work we do as educators. Rita Pierson once said, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like”.

Some say technology gets in the way of building relationships with others. How can you connect when your face is in a screen? However, I would argue that there are many ways in which technology brings us closer together.

Take look at this ad from Apple. It represents how I feel about technology and the power it has to bring us closer together.

“The Song” – Apple’s Christmas Commercial 2014: