Out of alignment

I have been a regular runner for about six years. I love running for too many reasons to list, but recently I have needed to back off because I have broken an exercise rule and now I’m paying for it. The rule that fitness experts share is “listen to your body”. I was ignoring that rule and trying to fight through lower back pain. When I was having trouble getting up from sitting and not being able to sleep because of the pain, it was time for me to pause and figure things out.

My wife scheduled an appointment at a chiropractor and after reviewing a head to toe X-ray, it was pretty clear I needed to fix some alignment issues I have if I wanted to get back to running.

“No running for awhile until we get through some work” was what the doctor ordered. It is frustrating because I keep thinking about what I want to do instead of focusing on what I need to do. That’s the battle of a teacher too – Having to focus on what you need to do instead of what you want to do. And it can be frustrating especially if things aren’t moving along at the speed you want it too.

I remember trying to get my 4th graders to be flexible with numbers in order to solve problems and being frustrated at the lack of progress I was making with them. The reason for the lack of progress was that there were many gaps in their understanding of how numbers work. I had to shift my focus from what I wanted them to do to what they needed. It took a long time working together with my students, but we were adjusting something seemingly small that needed to be adjusted before we could get to bigger tasks.

Life has given me another reminder that it’s ok to take a step back and focus on something smaller in the short term in order to eventually get to where you want to be.

Have a great week! Here’s the Staff Update.


I’m going for it…

How my week felt in a nutshell…or in the back of a pickup.

20+ scheduled meetings in one week seems like a lot of meetings. After living through a week of 20+ meetings, I can confirm with you that it is.

This week felt like I was doing a lot of things all at once. I saw the truck packed with furniture in the picture above on my way back to school from, you guessed it, a meeting. I laughed because of how incredibly unsafe it looked. I guess it’s not actually funny, I just couldn’t believe what I saw. You know someone at some point said that they shouldn’t move furniture like this. The driver obviously had enough bungee cords to prove otherwise.

Strangely enough, after a full week, I felt great on Friday evening. I still had enough energy to spend time with the family and stay up late after everyone went to bed.

There’s a reason I still felt great at the end of the week that I’ll get to in a minute.

Fast forward to Sunday to me waking up at 4:45am to get myself ready for a 10 mile race later that morning. On Friday, we race participants had received an email from the race organizers warning of the dangers of running in heat that was in the forecast for the race. They reminded us that “no records are going to be made” in this kind of heat, so take it easy and be safe.

While I was driving to the race that morning, I had already started telling myself not to run hard and to play it safe. Despite the forecast and the warnings, the morning still felt pretty cool while I was standing at the starting line. We would be running on a trail that was fairly wooded too, which would keep the air cool.

3 miles into the race, I was feeling pretty good. I didn’t feel as hot as I thought I was going to feel. I was passing some of the other runners I had started the race with and I told myself, “just go for it”. I ended up having a pretty good run and it became a confidence booster for me as I head into the last few weeks before the half marathon I get to run.

I bring up the packed week and my race this weekend because everything that happened this week reminded me how important my self-talk is.

I felt great on Friday not because the week was over with, but because those 20+ meetings led to better things for the kids we serve. I said yes to all of those meetings after all because I said to myself that I can do it. I also reminded myself to have gratitude for a great team of teacher to work with and I celebrated the work that was accomplished.

I felt like I ran a good race because I decided to stay tuned into how was feeling during the run. I’ve run enough to know when I’m dragging and when I feel like I could run all day. I pushed out the pessimism of the race organizers and went for it.

I know that every week won’t go this way for me. But when you feel like you can take on a challenge, what are you giving up by not going for it?

Have a GREAT week!

– Herb

Upcoming Dates —


25 – Pastries with Parents, 8am
27 – Herb at mtg off campus, AM; ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45pm; Mumkin Delivery, 1pm; Mumkin pickup 4-7pm
29 – ADDC Culture Celebration, 1-3pm


2-6 Conference Week
5- School Community Meeting, 9:25am; Fall Conference Late Night 4-8pm
7 – Cardboard Challenge
9 – PTO Meeting, 7pm
10 – School Improvement Team Meeting, 8:15am
11 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8:30am
17 – District Leadership Institute – Herb out
18 – District Leadership Institute – Herb out
19 – ADE Fall Tailgate, 6:30-8:00pm
20 – COI Day, No School
23 – Yearbook Cover Contest (through November 3)
26 – State of the Schools, 6pm Makoy Center
31 – Halloween


Hitting the Wall


Last October, I almost made my personal goal of completing a half-marathon in under 2 hours. My official time was 2’02” but I was just happy to have made it to the finish line.

After the race, I gave myself a couple of weeks off before I got back into keeping a regular run schedule.  Getting back into a schedule became more of a chore than a joy and so excuses not to run started to become more common.  I even started to think about giving up running altogether.

I remember asking myself OK, what’s really going on with me?

I had been working so hard to get to a point where I could complete a race that it became the sole reason for running.  What I lost along the way of training was the joy and the happiness running had given me before.  Things needed to change for sure because I really love to run.

So, I quit worrying about my pace and focused on mechanics like my strides, my breathing, and my heart rate.  I also stopped worrying about distance.  At the peak of my training I was running 20-25 miles a week and I think that was bumming myself out since I had backed that way down.  At night, I started thinking about the run I was planning on the next morning which made those 4:45 am alarms easier to wake up to.  I also started focusing on how I great I felt after running rather than starting my workout thinking about how I didn’t really want to do this.  

All of this points to the power of self-talk and what you tell yourself each day.  It made me remember to reflect on what I was saying to myself.  If my self-talk was a person, would I want to hangout with them all day?

This weekend, I ran over 6 miles in the pouring rain and thunder, farther than I had run in 2 months, and I loved every step. I had forgotten how much I loved running in the rain!  It’s silly but I kind of felt invincible, like nothing could stop me.  It was the first time in a while when I didn’t want to stop and I was happy the whole time I was running.

“Hitting the wall” is something that happens to us all throughout life.  I believe these moments are supposed to happen because they give you a chance to remember your “why”.  The work you need to do to get over the wall is hard work.  It’s reflective work that forces you to be honest with yourself.  You start thinking less about what you want to happen and more about what you need to do in order to get the outcome you desire.  

“Joy” sounds like such a simplistic outcome to work for but it’s complicated to obtain especially if you are creating your own roadblocks.  Take time to remember your “why”, especially when the going gets tough because it will get you closer to the outcomes you are working toward.

Have a GREAT week!



Worth checking out —

4 Essentials to Growing into Great Leadership https://leadershipfreak.blog/2017/04/28/4-essentials-to-growing-into-great-leadership/

My friend taught me…to seesaw http://myfriendtaughtme.weebly.com/1/post/2017/04/my-friend-taught-meto-seesaw.html

3 Misconceptions About Innovation in Education http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/7305


Upcoming Dates


1 – Bus Driver Appreciation Day; 3rd grade Music Performance, time TBD; School Community Meeting – “Make a Difference”, 10:45am;

2 – No School for Students (Waiver Day)

3 – Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

4 – Admin. Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; PTO Flower Sale Pick Up, 4:00-7:00; PTO Spirit Night at Chick-Fil-A, 5:00 – 9:00 pm

8 – Kona Ice Truck here; PTO Meeting, 7:00; Spirit Week

9 – KG/1st Data Teams; Retirement Party, 3:45

10 – 2nd/3rd Data Teams; SLSP field trip to Dare Equestrian; 5th grade field trip to Art Museum; last day for Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

11 – 4th/5th Data Teams; Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am

12 – 4th grade field trip to Art Museum; SLSP Field Day at Darby H.S., 9:15 – 1:30

14 – Mother’s Day

15 – Field Day, 8:30 – 11:30 am and 12:30 – 3:30 pm

16 – Focus fieldtrip to Falling Waters, 5:30 am – 9:15 pm; SLSP field trip to Tim Horton’s and Petsmart, 9:15 – 11:00

18 – Principal’s Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; See Kids Dream 5th grade field trip to Riffe Center

19 – Last day at preschool; 4th grade field trip to Zoo; SLSP fieldtrip to Get Air, 9:15 – 11:00

22 – PTO Spirit Night at Dave & Buster’s, 4:30 – 7:30 pm

23 – 3rd grade field trip to Art Museum; PTO Family Luau, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

24 – 1st grade field trip to Art Museum

25 – Mental Health & Wellness meeting, 8:00

26 – Last Day of School!

[New Post] The Power of “Self-Talk”



It was Sunday morning and my alarm for 4:45am was telling me it was time to get up.

“What am I doing?” I thought.

It was race day.  I had signed up for a 10 mile race a couple of months ago when the realities of the school year hadn’t sunk in yet.  Last week was probably one of the most challenging weeks I’ve experienced and I was drained.  The last thing I wanted to do was get up and run.

The negative self-talk started the minute I woke up and kept on happening all the way up to the 8am start of the race:

I don’t need to do this.

I don’t feel good.

The race fees are going to charity so I’m not wasting money.

It’s cold outside.

I owe it to myself to rest.

Negative self-talk is powerful.  I almost gave up.

In A Mindset for Learning, Mraz & Hertz refer to negative self-talk as the “Superhighway of Doom”.  Negative self-talk is developed over time starting when we are kids.  It’s partly a self-defense mechanism, but it eventually turns into a default response to unfamiliar situations when we need to be Discipline-Driven.

But we can overcome negative self-talk with enough focus and intentional positive self-talk.  It takes time.  It takes practice.  And it’s possible to deconstruct the “Superhighway to Doom”, even for adults.

Fast-forward to 9:30am and I am crossing the finish line because I chose to ignore my complaining, defending, and blaming and focus instead on my goal.

I ran my best long run ever, pacing myself to get fastest over the length of the race.  The best part was seeing my family at the finish line, which was such a complete surprise I got a little teary-eyed.

I share this story because it’s one more reminder that you are your own worst enemy. We all have negative self-talk moments each day.  We each face Events in our lives where negative self-talk because our Default-Driven Response.  We have to remember that we have power over this.  We have to intentionally practice each day to get better. And we have to remember that there are others who want to help us cross the finish line.


Have a GREAT week!


Article Worth Reading – Gearing Up for MAKERSPACE!

Please take a moment to read this article related to the Maker Movement.  John Spencer’s story about himself as the quiet kid in class reflects so many of our kids (and is exactly who I was as a kid).  The second half of the article connected with me when I was thinking about the work we will do with kids in the future.  It is a fast read that is well worth your time!

The MakerSpace will be a touchstone for innovation that will support all of our students.  It is a reflection of the direction we are taking learning.

“The Future Belongs to the Makers”, by John Spencer — http://www.spencerauthor.com/2016/09/the-future-belongs-to-the-makers.html/

Upcoming Dates


26 – MakerSpace Grand Opening!

28 – Mumkin Pickup, 4-7PM

29 – Pastries with Parents

30 – Building Advisory Committee meeting, 8AM; Interims go home


1 – Community Cardboard Challenge, 9-Noon, Heritage MS

4 – BIT Meeting, 8AM

7 – Building Tour by Board of Education

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

21 – COI Day

24 – State of Schools (Darby), 6-9PM

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

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

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



Board of Education Meeting – September 26, 7pm at Davidson High School

Community Information Meeting – September 27, 7:30pm at JW Reason Elementary

Community Information Meeting – September 29, 7:30pm at Darby Creek Elementary

Community R Factor Training – October 2, 7pm at Darby High School

Community Information Meeting – October 4, 7:30 pm at Hoffman Trails Elementary

Community Information Meeting – 6, 7:30pm at Horizon Elementary

Community R Factor Training – October 9, 7pm at Darby High School

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

Fuel for the Journey

Image from “Another Mother Runner”
This weekend, I used a product called GU Energy on my long run.  GU is designed to provide carbohydrates and other energy supplements during workouts.  Fitness experts recommend using supplements during aerobic exercises lasting longer than an hour — Our bodies only have enough fuel reserves for this amount of time.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of using GU, you aren’t missing out on much.  It looks like molasses and has the same texture and sort of tastes like the flavor listed on the package.  Strawberry banana was a real treat, let me tell you.

The bonus to taking GU was spending the next 5 miles of the run wondering how they made something that looked like molasses and felt like melted caramel in my mouth taste like a smoothie.

Having not used energy supplements on long runs before, I will say that I felt like I had more fuel in the tank an hour and a half into my run and I was thankful that I had the energy to make my goal.


The school year is gearing up and we’ve just experienced our first full-moon-at-the-same-time-as-weather-system-change event, if you believe in that sort of thing having an effect on kids (I do).

So what are you planning to use to fuel yourself during your journey this school year? How will you stay motivated and stay focused on the work we need to do to support our students?

Try investing more in something you are already apart of like faith-based activities, exercise, or more pleasure reading.  Maybe take up something that is new to you.  I started doing more meditating (and by meditating, I really mean just clearing my mind in the quiet of the morning with a cup of coffee).

A book that has helped me be more productive, reduce my stress, and focus on what is important is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. I highly recommend the book as fuel for anyone’s journey.

Here’s to staying focused on the work that lies ahead!  Grab some fuel and let’s go!

Have a GREAT week!



Tweets Worth Reading




Upcoming Dates

Weds, Sept 21  ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45PM — BREAKOUT EDU!  This should be fun…

Thurs., Sept. 22  School Picture Day

Thurs., Sept. 22  PTO Fall Tailgate, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. behind school

Fri, Sept 23   Gifted Referrals due

Sun., Sept. 25     R-Factor Training, 7:00 p.m. at Darby High School’s Performing Arts Center

Mon, Sept 26  MakerSpace Grand Opening!

Weds., Sept. 28   PTO Mumkin Pick-Up Day, starting at 4:00 p.m.

Thurs., Sept. 29   Pastries with a Parent, 8:15 – 9:00 a.m.; Levy Information Community Meeting, Darby Creek, 7PM

Fri., Sept. 30       Interims go home, as needed; BAC Meeting, 8AM

Sat., Oct. 1   Cardboard Challenge, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Heritage Middle School

Sun., Oct. 2   R-Factor Training, 7:00 p.m. at Darby High School’s Performing Arts Center

Mon., Oct. 10  PTO Meeting, 7:00 p.m. (childcare provided)



5 Ways Running Has Made Me A Better Teacher


Screenshot 2016-08-27 at 9.22.15 AM

I’ve been running for a few years now and this summer I’ve been training to run my first half marathon which takes place in October.  My training has been easy at times and grueling most others.

One of the best things that has happened to me besides my improved health and fitness has been the growth I feel I have made as a teacher.  During my run this morning, I thought about all the ways training this summer has helped me be a better teacher:

1. The journey is more important than pace. — The heat of the summer made my runs more challenging.  It was hot, humid, and sticky even before sunrise.  Research has shown hot conditions like this to be effective for runners training for high-altitude races, a fact that is a real bummer for me since Ohio is as flat as a pool table.  What really bummed me out was that the heat was affecting my pace, adding almost a minute to my average pace.  I had to shift my focus from pace to logging miles.  I needed to forget worrying about my pace and remind myself that these conditions would pay off in the long run.

Teaching connection:  As teachers, we know the amount of material we are faced with helping students learn over the course of a year.  It’s nearly impossible to get to it all and yet we go for it anyway.  We feel like we need to get to that next step in the curriculum because we are running out of time.  However, training has helped me truly see that it’s more important to focus on the journey than to dwell solely on that next milestone.  The challenge we face is in resisting curricular demands and replacing them with our students’ learning needs.

2.  Staying fueled with a growth mindset helped me overcome challenges. — When you hit mile 7 on a swampy summer morning, or at minute 20 of a tempo pace workout, it’s easy to justify fixed mindset thinking such as, “You don’t really need to do this,” or “It’s too hot to be able to do this”.  I had to force myself to think, “You got this” — It has become my mantra and something I will say to myself when I cross the finish line.

Teaching connection: Helping our students see how important it is to use positive self talk can go a long way to helping them develop a growth mindset.  It’s an uphill battle and one that each person struggles to win, but talking students through this struggle can help them understand that it’s a normal part of the learning process.

3. Using benchmarks to keep on pace is helping me build the skills necessary for the race. — The good people at Columbus Running Company created a chart of pace times that were all connected to a race time goal.  My goal finish time is 1 hour and 45 minutes.  I am determined to reach that goal and I know that each time my foot hits the pavement, I’m getting one step closer.  The chart has been my guidepost, a way of holding myself accountable on my runs and knowing these goals motivates me to work harder.

Teaching connection:  Helping students know the “why” or what the end goal for each learning experience can be highly motivating, especially if they have had a say in what that goal can be.

4. Metrics are important, but so is listening to your instincts. — Sometime the pace chart needed to go out the window.  There one day a few weeks ago when I was supposed to do a speed workout on the track but I knew that my body probably couldn’t handle it so I just ran the miles at a comfortable pace instead.  I was still tired from the workout, but I was able to be present with my family instead of a spiritless zombie.

Teaching connection:  We believe in teaching the whole child, so with that comes knowing when a student is tired, grumpy or hungry because these are the factors that can’t be written into a lesson plan; we just need to adjust and adapt.

5. Enjoy every step. — I’ve learned to love sweat.  I’ve learned to run with a water bottle.  I’ve learned to appreciate Body Glide. I’ve learned not to fear the bats I see that fly around the trail in the predawn hours.  I’ve learned almost all the lyrics to every Black Keys album.  But the best lesson I’ve learned is to appreciate that I get to experience all of this. I’m lucky that I have the time and ability to do this.

Teaching connection:  It’s a cliche, but one that I don’t take for granted: We change the world one student at a time.  Every interaction we have with kids leaves an impression on them and it can either be positive or negative.  We can’t take this for granted and we need to remember how intentional we need to be with our interactions.

Tweets Worth Reading






Upcoming Dates



31 – School Community Meeting, 10:45am



5 – No School, Labor Day

6 – BIT Meeting, 8am Media Center

7 – Curriculum Night, 6-7PM

12 – PTO Meeting, 7PM

30 – Building Advisory Meeting, 8am Conference Room



1 – Community Cardboard Challenge

4 – BIT Meeting, 8am Media Center

7 – Building Tours by Board of Education

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

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 – Building Advisory Meeting, 8am Conference Room



1 – BIT Meeting, 8am Media Center

8 – Election Day/Hilliard U Professional Dev. Day, No Students

23-25 – No School (Holiday)



6 – BIT Meeting, 8am Media Center

21-Jan 3 – No School (Winter Break)

The Folly of Comfort

Update for Dec 7-11

Comfortable shoes — There’s nothing else like them.  They are like the perfect pillow for sleeping or the hoodie we throw on to keep warm during a cold winter night.

At the end of a long day, no one is lacing up a pair of dress shoes to relax.  Instead, we often go for a warm pair of slippers or a pair of old running shoes that you can easily slip on without untying them.

I’ve been having some issues running lately where the muscle around my shin tenses up. It’s not something that makes me have to stop running, it’s just annoying and it slows me down a little.  I sound like a car that has a flat tire as my tensed leg strikes the ground with a flat “slap” on the pavement.

I’ve tried different stretches, paces and routes trying to find a solution.  I decided to go back to an old pair of running shoes to see if maybe my new ones were the issue.  

I laced up my old Sauconys and they felt great — Why did I ever stop wearing them?

After about a mile and a half into a run in my old shoes, my feet and knees started hurting.  Instead of going for a 6 mile run, I ended early.  What was I thinking?  I stopped wearing these shoes when I started getting injured — Why was I going back to them?

Instead of going the distance in my old comfortable shoes, I ran less than normal.

I share this because in the midst of change, we sometimes are tempted to go back to our old ways, putting on “comfortable shoes”, rather than face the challenge.

Our project is hard work and we have miles to go.  If we are going to keep moving forward and increase the depth and authenticity of the learning experiences we help create with kids, we should build off of what we do well.  

Let’s commit to strategically increasing our distance and pace and avoid seeking out comfortable solutions.

Have a GREAT week!


Articles Worth Reading —

The Links Between Teaching Reading And Math http://www.heinemann.com/blog/oconnell-reading-math-11-30/

Video Worth Watching — 

Upcoming Dates —   

Dec 7 – PTO Meeting, 7PM

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

Dec 9 – 3rd Grade ELA State Assessment; 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

Dec 18 – 5th Grade Talent Show, 1:15ish; Holiday Parties, 2:30ish

Dec 21-Jan 3 — Winter Break