Category: @NAESP

October is a time to celebrate!

I believe you can always find something to celebrate! Many people will say holidays were created so people in the card business could sell more cards. Sounds like a great business plan. However, I don’t think that is a factual statement. A fact check opportunity for someone.

October marks the start of fall for me, harvest time for farmers, and the best one of all….National Principal Appreciation Month! I love celebrating Principals! It was the best job I ever had!

What do Principals do? What have you seen them do? Do you know a Principal? Can you remember your Principal?

“What time is it?”

“It is 4:30.”

“In the morning?”

“Yes, I need to get in early so I can get to the bus garage. I am going to ride a bus today because it has been having some issues.”

“Do you need some help in here serving lunch today?”

“You are the Principal you do not have time to help in here.”

“We are short in the kitchen, and kids need to eat, so I believe we are a team. So could you put me in coach?”

“I forgot my book bag at home.”

“Do you need things in it, or do I have stuff in my office you can use today?”

“I need my homework, uniform and my permission slip for the field trip.”

“Okay, let’s call to see if I can run you home to get it.”

“I do not want to live anymore without my brother.”

“I know how hard all of the last few weeks have been. My husband has lost both brothers, but he was not in middle school or a twin. I can not promise you it will be easy, but I can tell you how many supports will be here for you. Can we start with one day and then another? Can I help get supports in place?”

Principals make sure teachers are ready to teach, have what they need, check on the safety of the building. This is not a job but a calling of service. Every minute of the day is filled with meeting the needs of those they serve. It does not stop when the school bell rings to end the day; in fact, it continues in ways they are happy to share, and in other moments they feel the most profound heartbreak.

I celebrate this month the expectancy of a baby girl with two of my former students as they invite me to the celebration. Then I find myself joining in the mourning of the loss of a former student whose death is unresolved. Would you please pray for the family of Jelani Day and the help to resolve #JusticeforJelaniDay?

If you have an opportunity, thank a Principal serving today, as they are balancing more than ever. All educators are doing so much during this time to help the leaders for the future.

Thursday Thoughts

I enjoy reading, learning, and always stretching myself to find solutions to share with others. Leadership is essential in supporting growth in every aspect of life. We want to grow in our personal life, faith, family, work, and community. I am sharing information from Bill Dodd and his insights. The resource for his post is below.

One of the important lessons I have gained in my journey is that of coaching. We need coaching! As individuals being open to coaching or “coachable” is critical for your growth. When you are the coach, you are still receiving coaching as you learn by doing. Having an open mind and heart will provide essential pieces to the puzzle of growth.

Chicago White Sox scout Kevin Burrell said, “Look for FAT people. Faithful – Available – Teachable.” He also added, “How one manages their ‘Time & Calendar’ will reflect the condition and priority of their heart.”-Bill Dodd, June 9,2021

When looking for coaches, players, teammates, or new employees with heart, look for SCRAPPY individuals.

SCRAPPY – Skill, Calling, Rejection, Attitude, Perseverance, Purposeful, Yearn to Learn.

  • Skill – The ability to perform with excellence. Even people with heart need to have talent. There was a reason Rudy never started a game for Notre Dame.
  • Calling – This is the thing inside you which proclaims, “This ONE thing I must do!!!” Mike Linch said, “It’s the core of me.” He also noted, “David conquered the giant of a disconnected heart.”
  • Rejection – Remember that time when someone said you weren’t good enough, that you didn’t measure up? Of course you do. This challenged your calling but you moved forward anyway. Rejection provided clarity. It stripped away all non-essentials. You worked even harder. It limited your choices and spurred work hard and creativity to find solutions.
  • Attitude – Attitude determines your altitude. A great attitude separates evenly matched people and closes the gap on those more talented than you. You have a great attitude because you can’t believe you get to do what you do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
  • Perseverance – Because your calling is so clear, you learn perseverance through difficult and trying times. You are willing to pay the price needed for your dream to become reality. You become mentally-strong and resilient.
  • Purposeful – Perseverance and resilience births a focused approach. Your life has meaning and direction. Because you have paid the price for success, there is a single-mindedness to it. As Coach Stroupe said, “Don’t compartmentalize. (Don’t say) I’m coaching now but will put my Christian hat on when I get off the field.”
  • Yearn To Learn – Scrappy people are continual learners. They are humble and seek out all the coaching, people, resources and information needed for success. You can’t stop them. They will always find a way. Continual learning helps ensure future success.

We all want people with “heart.” Here are the 7 things to look for when finding them.

@briankdodd

Wednesday Wonders…

The final school bell for 2021 has rung for most of our students. Students have their final report cards but do we wonder how all of our schools did? What about education?

  • How did all of the students across our nation do in 2021?
  • How did the schools and districts do for our students?

The importance of education is essential for all of our students as we grow. The expertise to help all children is available to us. It is not found in a particular program or a defined environment. The success is found in the expertise in the experience of all of those serving children.

  • It is the data and research collected to utilize in decision making
  • Identifying strategies and procedures that worked to focus on enhancing instruction
  • Having curiosity and willingness to continue learning to enhance the quality of offerings for students
  • A reminder kids are kids no matter where they live, the color of their skin, the challenges they face, or the disabilities. Each one can, will, and wants to learn.

The key to opening the door to expertise is sharing. Opening this door is the hardest thing for educators to do. We chase shiny objects as a quick fix, the grant dollars need us to spend money on programs, there is no time for this and the list continues.

Narratives dictate the focus of what education is focusing on. Society influences what is to be focused on in education instead of what is truly needed. Education needs to remember the priority of what they do. Our children deserve our focus on the foundation of their needs not the political agenda of the day. Education is not something to play around with but a critical piece of a child’s life and everyone’s future.

Be the solution by standing up for education! I wonder if people will begin to understand how important this is today. We have no time to waste! Speaking of time, my granddaughter shared with me how many of her friends cannot tell time. She says, “they really don’t teach time anymore.” Oh, she was just finishing 7th grade. Also, they don’t teach cursive writing, but we teach time and writing at home.

Change the glasses you are looking through for a moment and see the future. If we do not raise the bar on the quality of our education our nation will fall further behind others. Be the solution daily as we support education.

What wonders do you have about education? I have more, but what are yours? There are many other wonders for me in the world and we will continue to look at them.

Time matters..Wednesday Wisdom

Below is a great article to read as you think about solutions for your schools moving forward. Often in school improvement efforts, the time has been a talking point and added to programs with promises of improvements.

Time is a very fragile element we have limited control over. Additional time is not the solution alone. Please read the article and see if you come to the same conclusion. What solutions do you have for getting education back on track for students?

How You Use Time Matters More Than How Much You Have

How You Use Time Matters More Than How Much You Have

Clocks

Recent data on slowed learning growth and increased percentages of failures during the pandemic has schools across the country searching for ways to increase time. The theory of action is that if students have more time to receive instruction, they can make up learning growth and get back on track.

At first glance, this theory seems to make sense. After all, learning takes time, so more time must be the answer. However, an experiment tried by Washington D.C. schools presents a cautionary example of why such an approach may fall short.

A few years ago, D.C. Public Schools added twenty days to the school calendar on 13 of its lowest performing campuses. The increase meant that over the course of time these students spent in school up until eighth grade, they would add the equivalent of an additional year. The idea was simple. They expected that students in these struggling schools would benefit from having more time to learn. Test scores would improve, and the schools would become more successful. After three years the school district collected performance data for each school and discovered there was little evidence of any academic improvement. Attendance rates remained low, and reports of teacher burnout grew (Stein, 2019).

The fundamental flaw in the theory of action was assuming that just adding time would result in more learning. We cannot assume that doing more of what is not already working will somehow make it work better.

There was no evidence that the students involved were incapable of learning. Nor was there evidence that the teachers were incapable of or not committed to teaching. The problem was not the people.

This is not an argument that time doesn’t matter. However, adding time without changing instructional strategies and learner experiences offers little promise of improvement. As we think about efforts and initiatives to help students get back on track, we would do well to ask how the time that is available can be used to address the reasons for slippage in the pace of learning. We need to focus on how we might engage students in ways that lead to acceleration and recovery. Here are some ideas to consider.

We can start by reestablishing and reinforcing our relationships with students. This year has been one of isolation and loneliness for many students. Try as we might, we have not always been able to maintain strong, positive, influential relationships with many of our students, nor have they always been able to maintain relationships with each other. Now is a good time to refocus on relationships.

We can design learning experiences and opportunities that learners find attractive and engaging. Most educators and students are exhausted, especially with the often awkward and inefficient teaching and learning context we have experienced. What students find interesting and worth doing can be a good place to begin. Community-based experiences, gamification of content, and project and problem-based activities can offer the connections students find worthwhile, while also learning academic content.

In areas of learning where students need to fill skill and knowledge gaps, we can focus on essentials. We can design experiences that are focused and efficient while looking for hooks and pulls to engage students. Resorting to instructional strategies and structures that did not work the first time hold little promise of producing different outcomes now.

As much as practical, we can cluster students with classmates who are friends and acquaintances they may have missed if they spent the past year in remote instruction. Recreating familiar learning groups and clusters can reduce awkwardness and increase social support. We can also employ social learning strategies such as having students work in pairs, groups, and teams as they learn.

Of course, we need to begin learning and instructional activities in response to learner readiness. We do little to stimulate and build learning confidence and skills when we ask students to learn what they are not ready to learn or lack adequate background knowledge and skills in to be successful.

Stein, P. (2019, February 21) District eliminates extended school year, invests more in classroom technology. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/district-eliminates-extended-school-year-invests-more-in-classroom-technology/2019/02/21/e9478500-3484-11e9-a400-e481bf264fdc_story.html

Thoughts?

Education for many students wrapped up for the 20-21 school year. My parents pushed me to get an education as they were not able to receive it. What do you think? Is education the way to change the world?

What does this statement mean?

Do you agree with this statement? Is this how we are currently moving our educational system to meet the needs of our students?

Today’s posts are thoughts to ponder and to share. I believe children deserve the best we have to prepare for the future. They need opportunities to think critically, be innovative; opportunities to lead, and be exposed to high expectations with curriculum to meet these needs.

Education is an essential part of our society. Many changes have occurred and are proposed. It is important to know what is happening and voice your opinion. Be the solution today for the future of children everywhere.

Emerging Stronger!

When we face challenges, we can find the leadership, skills, discipline, and resilience needed to overcome them. As we glance back at the past, we can see the many issues tugging at our hearts. Then we can feel the pains in our bodies from the battles we have endured. Finally, a light shines through as smiles begin to show through from the masks once hidden from view.

It has been a tough time. It continues to be a struggle, especially for our children. Each day brings us one day closer to solutions.

There is one thing I am optimistic about today. We can emerge stronger if we are wise in our planning. Many people count on your leadership! What we need to remember is not everyone is ready to move full steam ahead. In our plans, we have to make room for the social and emotional part.

During this time, many lost loved ones, dealt with illness themselves, or faced fears at levels we may not understand. What we do understand is the process through which individuals effectively apply knowledge, skills, attitudes, emotions, and empathy is through social-emotional learning. Along with this is maintaining positive relationships and decisions. We can begin with setting positive goals to achieve.

Keep in mind staff can experience secondary traumatic stress (STS). Depending on the type of organization or business you have, staff members can receive daily stress. Staff in school settings are definitely at risk of experiencing STS as children share in many different ways when they have stories to tell.

Solution Steps

  • Provide staff with opportunities to discuss
  • Have outlets for stress relief
  • Have fun
  • Talk about ways to manage emotions and stress
  • Provide opportunities for training on social-emotional, trauma, mental health, and overall self-care
  • Model how to support each other
  • Set up checkups with staff. Check in on them as much as you can

Thank you for being part of the solution daily.

Fundamental Friday

In our lives we have fundamental things, activities and principles that are important to us. We can believe strongly in some as an essential part of who we are or part of our purpose of being.

People seeking meaning beyond themselves seem to be happier, healthier, and live longer. I have no data to confirm that statement, only my observations. I like to think of myself in the category of seeking meaning beyond myself and in service to others. I am happy; I have had some health issues, but I am in remission, which has been a big positive. I have also had some near misses to death resulting in living longer. According to my formula, it works!

The fundamental definition is – serving as a basis supporting existence or determining essential structure or function. Looking at the four pillars of the fundamental parts to our life is : Happiness, Self-Care, Relationships and Health

Take out a calculator and do this quick math calculation. This is “life math.” -Guide to Unlocking the Power of Purpose by Richard Leider

  • Multiply your age x365__________.
  • Then, subtract that number from 30,000, an average life expectancy.
  • Divide that number by 365_______
  • Now you are clear that you have _____more years to live. What will you do?

I know you have heard me say before, but I will repeat it: “Every day is a gift full of opportunities to unwrap.” I repeat phrases and words a great deal. I believe it is important in order to help reinforce the ideas to those you are serving, coaching and modeling for each day. My staff called them “Yohoisims.”

  • “Make it a great day or not the choice is yours to make”
  • “It is what it is, so it will be”
  • “We don’t know what we don’t know, do we”
  • “You have one foot on the outside and mine on your backside if you do not make some positive changes.”
  • “Do you know why you are tired? You bark all day.”
  • Many others to share but enough of the Yoho for today.

Look at your four fundamental areas and decide what improvements you can make. The following years of your life should fundamentally be full of “FUN” “DAily”/ “MENTAL” “Learning”/ “Yourself”-focusing on happiness, self-care, relationships, and health.