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As the 9th largest school district in the state of Ohio, the Hilliard City School District serves more than 15,500 students in grades K-12, through three high schools, three middle schools, two sixth-grade schools and 14 elementary schools.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 2, 2013

21st Century Schools or 21st Century Learning?

The following is an article from one of my favorite online sites, edutopia.  It is easy to get lost in this site for a couple of hours simply perusing the articles.  The articles are always written in such a way that I am prompted to analyze my own practices and philosophy.  In addition, they are typically short and to the point!  This particular article explores the concept of 21st century schools.  As I read this article, I found myself asking several questions.  The following are just a few:

- What percentage of our classrooms would fall under the heading "Classroom A" versus         "Classroom B?"
- If one attribute listed under "Classroom A" was removed from EVERY classroom in the Hilliard City School School District, how would education be impacted?
- If "rules were unnecessary," would our students be highly effective?
- How many of our teachers are using devices to teach like the attributes listed under "Classroom A?"
- If every student in your building had a device what would change?
- Do the papers/handouts that get distributed to our students and community reflect the attributes listed under "Classroom A" or "Classroom B?"

As you read this article, I encourage you to pose your own questions, and I challenge you to take a scavenger hunt of your school looking for the qualities listed under "Classroom A" and "Classroom B."  

5 Things I Want My Daughter to Learn in School

My selection this week comes from Jeff Delp, a Junior High Principal in Arizona.  Much like Jeff, I often find myself reflecting on the education I want my two daughters to have before they head off in to the "real world."  It's often hard for us as administrators to put aside everything we must balance on a day-to-day basis and view the education we provide in the HCSD through the eyes of a parent, or better yet through the eyes of the nearly 16,000 students that walk through the doors everyday.  As I read Jeff's blog, I found myself in complete agreement with what he identifies as the 5 things he wants his daughter to learn in school.  I can only hope the same for my two daughters and their peers.

Have a great week! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 11, 2013

“Why Are We Doing This?” Establishing Relevance to Enhance Student Learning

Effective teachers strive to maintain student interest and motivation during every lesson. Most learners wants to know,  "Why do I need to know this and when will I use it?"  "Perceived relevance" is an important contributor to these two desired outcomes. 

In this week's article, author Jeff Fox says the way to build relevance is for teachers to do the following:  "1) regularly share and discuss the learning outcomes of the course; 2) clearly tie those learning outcomes to the required activities and assignments; and 3) orient students at the beginning of each class period by discussing the “What, Why, and How” of that day." These tips remind me of "Knows and Applies Best Practice", one of the Seven Characteristics of Highly Effective Teachers. The look-for of "Establishes Clear Learning Targets" is described in the professional text. 

Formative Assessment Options

As we all know, formative assessments are a great way for teachers to monitor student learning and for students to monitor their own learning. Here are a few videos with various examples of formative assessment options that teachers could use (or you could use with your staff):

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 28, 2013

Grading Exceptional Learners

Do teachers have to choose between fairness and accuracy when assigning grades to exceptional students? Can the grades for such students ever be both fair and accurate?

This article presents a five step model to provide fair and accurate grades for students with disabilities and English language learners.  I love the focus on individual progress as opposed to where they are-value added.

Who is Helping You Get Better, or Better Yet, Be Great?

"I am here to tell you we do and if we are going to be great and inspire our students and others to be great, then we must model the way for others to see us being great and feeling great!"  We all desire to be Great, or at least I hope that's the case.  As I've spoken with many of you, I feel so fortunate to see how each and everyone one of you perform "Greatness" in your buildings in your own ways.  Often times, it's the little things we do that allow us to get better, and go from good to great.  This article provides four of these so called "little things" that can help us get better and become great.  I especially liked the the last suggestion...calling the parents of your new teachers to say Thank You! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 14, 2013

Improving Practice with Sarah Brown Wessling

As you know, technology use can be challenging for everyone sometimes.  Technology does not always work the way that we think it should work.  Fischer's Gradual Release Model is an excellent strategy when it comes to helping staff and students to use technology effectively.  Students are very comfortable using and trying technology tools, but they are not always proficient user's of technology.

Making a Difference

This fall administrators are using the new OTES rubric for wide-scale teacher evaluation for the first time. We realize that differentiation is a topic in which more learning is needed.  Educators use the term but often have misinformation about what it means or how to implement in classrooms with many diverse learners. 

This week's article is an interview with the 'mother of differentiation', Carol Ann Tomlinson, called Making a Difference. She defines differentiation as a teacher "...trying to address students’ particular readiness needs, their particular interests, and their preferred ways of learning." She speaks of "respectful tasks" in which the work of every learner "...is equally engaging, equally appealing, and equally important." In the interview, she shares practical strategies for gleaning information from students that would enable teachers to provide the desired tasks. I believe the article could be used as a powerful conversation starter with our teachers in HCSD.

Breaking the Rules of Professional Development

“Breaking the Rules of Professional Development” reminds us of the importance of providing professional learning opportunities that offer educators the opportunity to take total control over what they learn and when they learn it.  Mary Jo Maddo wants to help Dan Callahan, co-founder of EdCamp, introduce the word “unconference” into more educators’ vocabularies.  The goal is simple.  Let’s not allow our colleagues to be tacit observers when it comes to professional learning.

Dare we provide professional learning experiences that are not reliant on assignments or rigid structure?  Could organized chaos and “radical openness” still result in high-quality learning?  Multiple EdCamps are held every weekend in states and countries across the globe.  Educators have the opportunity to learn and establish connections with other “education-enthusiasts,” whether it’s at the actual event or via Twitter.  The structure is simple.  EdCamp forms communities that people can become a part of and participate at their own leisure.  Sound familiar?  PD isn’t forced within the EdCamp Twitter forums.  Instead, it becomes an option that educators can utilize when they need to.

I fully agree with Madda.  The “unconference” should become the norm, not the exception.

Breaking the Rules of Professional Development

Teacher's Top Five Tech Tips

For this week I chose a short video about the "Ohio Teacher of the Year" and her Top 5 Tech Choices for education.  This is a short video about 5 tools she uses that give her the biggest impact on her students education.  She has identified a way for her instruction to be integrated with technology and it works for her.  What are the top 5 tools in your building we can be focusing on that will maximize the instruction for your staff?  It would be my hope that this teacher is leading PD in her building on how to use these 5 tools, and that her colleagues are learning from her.  Who in your building can lead PD like this on the tools they are "experts" on?  Allow opportunity for your staff to share their Top 3 or more Tech Tools that influence their instruction.  Then ask them to share how.  See what happens.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 23, 2013

How We Can Actually Create Lifelong Learners

As most of you, I am also an advocate of Twitter and love how it brings personalized information directly to me.  However, it has presented me with a tremendous challenge, "Which of the several thousands of articles that come to me each day should I choose to share?" Decisions, decisions, decisions! I recently read a great one from ASCD but everyone knows that site and trusts in it's validity. Thus, I've decided to share one from a site I've recently come into contact with:www.edudemics.com. If you haven't visited this site you should! Articles are short, to the point, and filled with video integration.

After much debate ,I've decided to share an article entitled, "How We Can Actually Create LifeLong Learners."  As schools begin to develop 1:1 initiatives and  B.Y.O. D. Policies, this article made me think about the true purpose for these initiatives. I have to admit that about a year ago, the phrase, "personalizing education" was just that - a phrase. However, the more I read and reflect the more embedded it becomes in my personal philosophy of education. I hope as you read this article, you find yourself making new and deeper connections about what public education should be! Finally, if you haven't explored the www.edudemic.com website, I strongly encourage you to do so. 

How We Can Actually Create Lifelong Learners

6 Ways to Use Google Hangouts in the Classroom

We are all crazy busy, so instead of sharing an article that requires your in depth attention, here is a quick hitter with a list of 6 ways you can encourage your staff to use Google Hangout.  First step.  If you don't know what Google Hangout is, then google it.   In all seriousness, Google Hangout is a platform for 2-10 people to join in a video conference.  Video conferencing like Skype, FaceTime, any Hangouts are something I believe can be a game changer for our students.  It's a practical, free way to tear down all four walls of the classroom.  This article gives 6 suggestions on how to do this, but it takes you (The Leader) to make it a viable option. What if you allowed your staff members to flex their day a little as long as they hold google hangouts twice a week.  Let me give you an example.  What if you have a staff member, team, or grade level that instead of reporting to their planning period, they hold a google hangout in the evening instead?  Free up that staff member during the day to run an errand, schedule an appt, and feel some freedom during their bell ringing factory style day?  The majority won't take you up on it, but what if one did?  Now, this teacher reaches more students during the evening of a Google Handout, than they ever would during their planning period?  Check out the rest of the options,  and think about ways you could use Google Hangout instead of having "meetings" after or before school.  Could we have Data Team meetings, without ever physically meeting?  Why aren't we having parent teacher conferences with Google Hangout? Stop yourself from saying "But……"

6 Ways to Use Google Hangouts in the Classroom

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 3, 2013

Creativity is the Secret Sauce in STEM

As the new school year begins, Hilliard City School administrators are considering how to implement the challenging district Continuous Improvement Plan for the benefit of their students. In particular, each leader is pondering the best way to create an 'innovation zone' in their school. 

Objective #3 of the CIP is 'Where' a World Class Education System occurs. It says, "Student learning will be enhanced through the creation of purposeful learning environments that promote innovative global experiences." We know that learning must be relevant, meaningful, and personalized to the individual student. The purposeful learning environments that we create in HCSD must cause students to develop the Habits of Mind, such a creating, imagining, and innovating.  Today's student must be proficient at solving unknown and difficult problems that arise daily in a global world. 

Forward-thinking educators enhance the creativity of their students. In the article "Creativity is the Secret Sauce", blogger Ainissa Ramirez says, "...the skills of the 21st century need us to create scholars that can link the unlinkable. These scholars must be willing to try many combinations before finding the right answer. They must be comfortable with concepts that they can play with in new ways." Lets all strive to create learning environments in our schools which develop creativity and other 21st century skills of tomorrow's leaders. 

Paying It Forward: Teachers Model a Passion for Learning

My selection this week serves as a great reminder to us all on why we chose to become educators.  It came through my email at that perfect moment when I needed that extra little boost to carry me through the week.  It describes the story of Dave, a student that we have all come across, one that is disengaged and uninterested in school.  A student that many teachers before Trevor Muir had given up on.  However, Trevor found a way to reach Dave and bring out his passions and his voice.  Something we have all done in our careers and what we hope to inspire our teachers to do on a daily basis with their students.

This paying it forward approach is best summed up by the following: "The best teachers are themselves hungry to learn as adults -- eager to find ways to reach "difficult" students, creating projects that motivate and engage, finding ways to coax the hidden talents out of each student, making learning real and relevant. Perhaps this is the best way to pay it forward."

Be sure to check out the video of Trevor telling Dave's story at Coming Alive at 14

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Reading Suggestions

Jennifer Adams suggests To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink

To Sell Is Human is another great read by Daniel Pink. In this book, Pink uses several examples from the play, "Death of a Salesman." I found this book to be an easy read and enjoyed it, because Pink provides clear examples and situations to explain his points of emphasis. He claims that the art of selling has changed due to the information consumers have at their fingertips. He states that the ABC's of selling have changed from "Always Be Closing," to "Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity." After Pink explains how to be, he explains what to do: pitch, improvise, and serve.  As leaders we recognize the importance of conversation and value collaboration. Thus, it was beneficial to see these leadership traits validated in Pink's book.

Vicky Clark suggests A Principal's Guide to Special Education by David Bateman

This is an invaluable resource for new and experienced principals.  It contains everything you need to know about special education, from special education law to selecting and evaluating special education staff. Topics include discipline, IDEA 2004, NCLB, evaluation of students with disabilities, inclusion, adaptations, and due process.

Kim Halley suggests Brain Rules by John Medina

The title captured my attention; the professional readings that attract me and many busy educators are those in which the information applies to all areas of life- not limited only to the career path.  In Brain Rules, the author studies the impact of exercise, sleep and stress on our brain function, including cognitive connections, attention span, and creativity. As readers apply the recent brain research, we enhance our role as employee, spouse or parent.  

Tim Hart suggests The Connected Educator by Sheryl Nussbaum Beach

I recommend The Connected Educator, by Sheryl-Nussbaum Beach.  Sheryl shares a whole new way to look at our professional learning through connected learning communities.  In this book, she talks about her three-pronged approach to effective professional development:  local (professional learning community), contextual (personal learning network), and global (community of practice).  We’ll get to hear Sheryl at our evening event with administrators, and all administrators will receive a copy of the book.

Susanne Lintz suggests Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter

This is a quick, enjoyable, and inspirational read. It is a fable about a penguin colony (which represents an organization) that is faced with challenges and how they overcome them. It is based on the Eight Step Process of Successful Change. If you are looking for ways to move and change your building, this is a great resource that is fun and engaging.

Mike McDonough suggests inGenius by Tina Seelig

Can we teach creativity?  If we are truly continuing with our ongoing pursuit of building environments that foster innovation, then it’s imperative that we embed creativity in all facets of teaching and learning…but, how?  That’s where Tina Seelig, Stanford professor and author of inGenious: A Crash Course on Creativity, and her “Innovation Engine” model come in to play.  This model captures the relationship between the factors (culture, attitude, imagination, resources, knowledge, habitat) that stimulate creativity.

Brent Wise suggests The One World School House by Salman Khan

The man who created Khan Academy writes an easy to read book about his viewpoint of education. The reason I like this book so much is that it isn't a book written "at you" but rather a book written for us. It provides solid examples of where education was and where Sal believes it needs to go. Sure you'll disagree with some parts but I found myself agreeing and taking notes in the margins far more than being upset or feeling threatened. It challenges your thinking and I believe we always need a little of that. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 15, 2013

How I Turned My Classroom into a ‘Living Video Game’ – and Saw Achievement Soar

If you’ve ever watched kids play video games, you know how it goes.  They try something.  It doesn’t work.  They try again a different way.  It fails.  They try again and again and again.  So, why is it that kids typically hate struggle, challenge, and failure in the classroom, but are motivated by it in the world of gaming? 

In this interesting post, second grade teacher Joli Barker shares her journey to turn her classroom into a living video game.

“I spend approximately 30-45 minutes a day in direct whole-class instruction. The rest of the time I am facilitating thinking through monitoring their work, asking pointed guiding questions, or pulling aside small groups and helping students develop skills they will need to advance in the game. It takes more meticulous planning on my part to create the codes and activities that elicit independent thinking and collaborative work, but the payoff in student behavior, self-esteem, motivation, and determination is well worth it.”

She has some impressive results, and students are developing critical skills.

Inspirational Team Building

As we head down the home stretch for the 2012 - 2013 school year, we could all use a little motivation to carry us through.  I came across this short 3 minute video on my twitter feed earlier today and it was just what I needed.  I'll think you'll fine that many of the questions posed throughout the video align closely to our 7 Characteristics of Highly Effective Leaders, Teachers and Students.  I particularly found the last question posed most fitting with our theme of innovation and the opening of the ILC in the fall.

What if...

What teachers need and reformers ignore: time to collaborate

Linda Darling-Hammond, well-known author and Stanford University professor, shares new findings from educational practitioners about implementation of new Common Core State Standards.  Teachers weigh in on what they need to transform their instructional practice in order to meet the rigorous demands of CCSS.  

According to recent survey results by National Center for Literacy Education, teachers ..." most value time to co-plan with colleagues to create new lessons or instructional strategies and to analyze how their students are developing and what they can do together to advance progress."  The article may not contain new information to us in HCSD.  However, the message increases our awareness that teachers need time to collaborate, discuss and design updated teaching with other professionals.

What teachers need and reformers ignore: time to collaborate

The 10 Skills That Will Get You Hired in 2013

“The 10 Skills That Will Get You Hired in 2013” reminds us once again that technical skills and programming skills aren’t the only skills that make us marketable. As a matter of fact, skills proficiency is beginning to take a back seat to mindset, critical thinking, and problem-solving.  Casserly examines the top job of 2013 to demonstrate that it’s the less flashy skills that actually dominate when it comes to securing the best jobs.  She also reminds us that our students must be aware of the skills in highest demand in order to guide educational decisions and future opportunities.  The top ten skills, as defined by Casserly, are:

  1. 1.  Critical Thinking
  1. 2.  Complex Problem Solving
  1. 3.  Judgment and Decision-Making
  1. 4.  Active Listening
  1. 5.  Computers and Electronics
  1. 6.  Mathematics
  1. 7.  Operations and Systems Analysis
  1. 8.  Monitoring
  1. 9.  Programming
  1. 10.  Sales and Marketing

If we are directing our students toward greater innovation, we must help them secure the qualities that will help to thrust them forward in the job market.  Not only must they put these skills into action, but Casserly reminds us that we must also get them to think about how they put the skills into action and how those skills have contributed to their success.

Personalized - not individualized - learning

People have asked during the many ILC presentations why the personal success network will focus on "personalizing" education for students and not individualizing. Mr. Zhao makes it clear in his quote and live speech that personalized is a better goal than individualized. As things come to close for you this year and things ramp up for the opening of the ILC, I want to ask you and your staff to really start thinking how the ILC can become part of your identity and assist you in reaching more students, not just the number that have indicated they will come here during the day, but also how can your teachers utilize this space to help personalize their instruction?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 11, 2013

Google Glass

Are you ready to be amazed?  The future is here.  Ian Jukes has been talking for years about the future arrival of “glasses” that are essentially the same as a computer and computer monitor.  Google just recently announced the release of this exact product, and they are piloting them with select people right now.  Take a few minutes to watch the promotional video (click the “How It Feels” tab after going to the site).  It’s really pretty neat, but more importantly, gives us all a glimpse of what’s soon to show up in our classrooms.  Remember, at the same time Jukes was talking about these glasses, he also mentioned “contact lenses” that do the same thing won’t be far behind . . . . .

Five C's: Creating a Committed, Dynamic Organization

My selection this week highlights the 5 C's: Culture; Climate; Community; Connection; and Capacity that are essential for a successful organization.  As we are preparing to welcome new students in to our buildings next year, I felt following quote about creating a sense of community reminds us how intentional we must be in establishing our culture:  “Creating community is an intentional act…as leaders we need to not only understand how to create it, but the kind we are trying to create.”

If you get a chance take a look at the video, I can't promise there will be a ball pit in the ILC, but I will sure try!

Teachers: What kind of students are you making?

This is a good one....it will make you think.  Blogger Seth Godin asks a few questions about the educational practices in our classrooms, buildings, and districts that make me wonder why we do the things we do.  He requests that we examine teacher behaviors that are carry-over from the industrial-era by asking "What kind of students are we really trying to create?  Are our classrooms built for creativity or compliance?"  

As the administrators in HCSD continue to lead educational reform, let's keep asking ourselves the difficult questions, reflecting on the culture in our district, and challenging the status quo. Our students deserve it!  

Professional-development reform: 8 steps to make it happen

I found this blog, “Professional-development reform:  8 steps to make it happen,” and it made me realize even more how important it is to provide and engage in professional learning that is differentiated, relevant, and engaging.  Tom Murray outlines eight ways districts can reform their professional learning opportunities:

   1.  Clearly define and articulate the vision.  Do all stakeholders really understand the goal?  How are the kids going to benefit?
   2.  Lead by example and model professional learning.  Shouldn’t we, as administrators, help pave the way for new learning and learn with our staffs side-by-side?
   3.  Balance district-wide initiatives with the need for differentiation.  Murray points out the emphasis we place on meeting students where they are, yet we don’t do the same for the adults. 
   4.  Move from hours-based to outcome-based accountability.  He emphasizes the shift from “I attended” to “I learned and then implemented.”
   5.  Alter the traditional paradigm.  We need to view professional learning as a daily process, not special occasions.
   6.  Empower staff to design their own learning.  It’s no secret that I’m excited about finding ways for our educators to explore their own professional passions.
   7.  Solicit teacher feedback.  What do our very best people think about the professional learning opportunities we’re offering?  “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
   8.  Expand your boundaries.  It’s 2013.  Let’s use social media to our advantage.

Murray’s blog is worth a look as we forge ahead in professional learning.

Professional-development reform: 8 steps to make it happen

5 Ways to Energize Your Team

This week I want to share with you an incredible article about energizing your team/staff. It's that time of the year, spring break is coming, it's testing time, scheduling time, etc…  tensions are high, fuses are short.  Michael Hyatt is one of my favorite authors on leadership, and in this blog he points out 5 ways to reenergize the team.  I'll share a little bit of it with you right here but I encourage you to read the whole article.  

"He had evidently forgotten that, at the end of the day, everyone is a volunteer. People will only go so far in the performance of a duty. If you want their very best, you have to have their hearts. You can’t demand this or even buy it with a paycheck. You have to earn it. In my experience, there are five ways to do this:
  1. 1.  Assume others are smart and working hard.
  2. 2.  Listen intently and ask thoughtful questions.
  3. 3.  Acknowledge the sacrifices others have made on your behalf.
  4. 4.  Express gratitude for their effort and their results.
  5. 5.  Remind them why their work is so important and the difference they are making.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 25, 2013

5 Characteristics of an Effective 21st Century Educator

My selection this week is yet another take on the characteristics that effective educators in the 21st century need to possess if they're going to be most effective and stay current with the ever-changing landscape that defines the classroom and students of 2013 and beyond.

Here's what eSchool News Readers identified as the top five characteristics:
  1. 1.  Anticipate the future.
  2. 2.  Be a lifelong learner.
  3. 3.  Foster peer relationships.
  4. 4.  Teach and assess all levels of learners.
  5. 5.  Discern effective vs.non-effective technology.
"One of the most common responses from readers was that 21st-century educators must be lifelong learners … and should be willing to learn not only from their peers, but from their students as well."

The Essence of Leadership in Five Letters

Dan Rockwell, a.k.a. the Leadership Freak, discusses and publishes a particular aspect or approach to leadership on a daily basis.  In this recent blog post Dan highlights the works of Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller, two highly regarded leaders in their fields, and their "secret" to leadership.  This "secret" can be summed up with one 5 letter word, SERVE.  As I read the meaning behind each of these letters, I couldn't help but find similarities to the spirit of their meanings and how they relate to hear of our core values in the Hilliard City Schools.  These 5 characteristics are as follows:
  • S = See the future
  • E = Engage and develop others
  • R = Reinvent continuously
  • V = Value results and relationships
  • E = Embody values

The New Ed-Tech Leader Models by Digital Example

"Modeling is crucial. If you want your kids and teachers to be users of 21st-century tools, … you have to show that you can do it too," he says. "It shows that I'm still a teacher—I can still instruct and still learn."  This quote embodies the essence of my selection this week.  The impact technology makes the day to day instruction and operations of our schools today is enormous.  As educational leaders, it is essential that we take the risks to utilize these new technologies to enhance student achievement, and, as the quote above illustrates, we must effectively model how our teachers and students should be utilizing the tools at their disposal.

The New Ed-Tech Leader Models by Digital Example

Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do

Larry Ferlazzo focuses on the fact that working alongside students, knowing their interests and goals, and developing trusting relationships that help students to connect their learning to their goals are paramount to working successfully with challenging students. In fact, he says there are eight things that truly skilled teachers think, say, and do (hence, the title of the article):
  1. 1.  Remember that authoritative beats authoritarian. Authoritative wins (and this is a great one for professional self-reflection).
  2. 2.  Believe that everyone can grow. Think Carol Dweck and mindset.
  3. 3.  Understand that power isn’t a finite pie. Shared leadership isn’t a sign of weakness.
  4. 4.  Give positive messages. Ferlazzo targets three practices – the use of positive framing (if
    you do this, these good things will happen), saying yes (emphasizing what you DO want people to do), and saying “please” and “thank you.” It’s our opportunity to help students feel valued.
  5. 5.  Apologize. W e’ re human. W e must seize every opportunity to “humanize” our profession.
  6. 6.  Be flexible. Ferlazza suggests that this may be the most important thing we can do to help those who challenge us. He points out three ways that flexibility aids teachers in differentiating instruction and managing the classroom.
  7. 7.  Set the right climate. Extrinsic rewards don’t produce true motivation.
  8. 8.  Teach life lessons. Consider “front-loading” the year with lessons focused on life skills, and
    refer back to them throughout the year in order to create a growth mindset.
This article serves as a wonderful reminder that fostering relationships can help to fuel student motivation. 

Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do

Those People

This is a dead ringer for a powerful read to share with your staff(s). If you haven't noticed by now I am a fan of Seth Godin and his thoughts on many topics, this one in particular.  How often have you heard one of your staff members or even yourself at times use the phrase "Those students".  You know the students we are referring to.  The same students that "all the other" students thought were going to be using the ILC as their new location.  The students that are predestined for mediocrity. Their family expects it, their teachers expect it, so they expect it.  Seth G. asks a simple question "What if we expect more?".  What if as a district we viewed 'those students" with the same expectations of succeeding at their highest level, just like Johnny straight A's ? What if we were a district of inspiring staff members that rallied around the common theme of every student can, and will succeed.  Success can be defined individually, nonetheless it's the goal.  I know all of you feel this way already, just thought you would like to see it in print from a guy that can write, Seth Godin. Have a great week.

Those People

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 11, 2013

What Makes You Itch?  What would You Do if Money were No Object?

My selection this week is a short video that is sure to make you think!  As I watched it, I couldn’t help but think of how much it reinforces the importance of the “experience” we create for students every day.  The video’s messages illustrates the power in having choice, sparking an interest, and finding a passion.  It’s also a great reminder for us of just how important those college & career readiness skills and real life, authentic experiences are to all of our students!  Most importantly, it drives the question: How are we preparing students for their futures?

7 Essential Principles of Innovative Learning

As we are well underway with HS course registration, and soon to begin both MS and 6th Grade course registration, it's amazing to see the types of new opportunities and experiences our students have been afforded.  My selection this week hits at the very core to the importance of how we create these experiences in our classrooms.  I think you'll find some major connections to these 7 Essential Principles and our 7 Characteristics of Highly Effective Leaders; Teachers; and Students.  Enjoy and have a great week!

Why Leadership Requires Prudence and Temperance

In this week's article, "Why Leadership Requires Prudence and Temperance", we are reminded of the 7 Characteristics of Highly Effective Leaders. In HCSD, we know that effective administrators "challenge the status quo to address academic needs and establish clear goals". This characteristic requires courage on a daily basis!  Blogger Deborah Mills-Scofield recognizes the importance of leadership courage in order to "disrupt the status quo" and make the greatest impact.  However, she presents two additional virtues that leaders must practice:  prudence and temperance.
Leadership is a complex role that requires more than perfecting one isolated virtue. The author knows that great leadership is "...the ability to deal with overlaps, to integrate, to identify synergies and interdependencies and support our people in maximizing those opportunities to create profit (output) and purpose (outcome)." 

Why Leadership Requires Prudence and Temperance

Why Educators Should Spend 15 Minutes a Day on Social Media

Roscorla’s article, “Why Educators Should Spend 15 Minutes a Day on Social Media,” reminds us of the importance of staying connected for the benefit of our continued professional growth.  Professional Learning Communities allow us to go beyond sharing ideas with colleagues who have similar interests.  Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, just to name a few, help us to reach out to the online community to gain access to a world of rich, diverse perspectives.  

How do we find the time?  Roscorla shares a few ideas she’s come across through other educators.  Maybe we could spend a few minutes each morning on Twitter, “favoriting” thinks we might find valuable and then spending a bit more time with them when we have extended periods of time available.  More important than finding the time, though, is sharing the discoveries we make with our colleagues who need it most.  “None of us is as strong as all of us.”

Solving the Problems of Dumb Leaders

Where does it say leaders can't be wrong?  Likewise, where does it say that leaders shouldn't admit when they are wrong? I know the reaction is that it comes across as a sign of weakness right? Leaders always tell their followers, it's ok to fail because you're going to learn from it.  The only problem with that statement is we remove the human decision and "assume" they will learn from it.  In order to learn from a mistake, you must first accept the fact that you made a mistake.  Can a leader admit to making mistake, learn from it, and still continue to lead?  I believe yes, but what do my beliefs matter for your leadership style? The important question is do you believe it? 

Do you believe leadership comes from a title? 

Are leaders expected to be perfect? 

Are you willing to be a learning leader?  See the article for a description of what a Learning Leader truly is. Have a great week.