Thursday, February 18, 2016

1, 2, 3, 4, 5- A #principalsinaction challenge

Thanks to my fellow #principalsinaction colleague Kas Nelson (@kasnelson), I have taken the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 blog challenge.  By the way, if you aren't following Kas on twitter or haven't started following the #principalsinaction hashtag, you are missing out on daily awesomeness.  And don't think you need to be a principal to follow #principalsinaction.  Follow and share the nuggets of greatness with your principal or superintendent.  You won't be sorry.
Now on to the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 blog challenge.

1.  What has been your ONE biggest struggle during this school year?
My biggest struggle has been getting into each classroom every day.  Now I think I do a pretty good job with this, but my focus needs to be better.  I need to interact more with students, when appropriate in classes, in the hallways, before and after school, and during lunch and recess.  I know if I put student interactions on my calendar that I will be more likely to make the time to be an active learner in classes.

A related struggle has been providing reflective feedback to staff.  Sure, I'm in classes all day long because you can't be an effective principal from your office.  I also have the requirement of doing walkthroughs and although I'm right on schedule with these, I need to be more diligent in providing feedback.  Occasionally I have left messages on Voxer after leaving a classroom, but I need to do this more often.

2.  Share TWO accomplishments that you are proud of from this school year.
Number one-  Our continued implementation of our PBIS program.  Two of our staff, Katie Francoeur and Matt Pomeroy, took the lead during the 2014-2015 school year.  As with any change, it's important to reflect upon what went well and what we need to change.  I honestly believe that because this new program was introduced and directed by two staff members it met with greater success than if it had been introduced from administration.  By no means is it perfect, but it sure has had a positive impact on the culture of our school for both students and staff.

Number two-  The book chat of "Beyond the Bake Sale" with families and staff.  We have met and had some phenomenal discussions.  The honesty of the members of this group have helped our school, and me, to become better at what we do.  We still have some work to do but having this group to provide direction has been awesome.  The best part is that we have decided to really look at the way we do our Open House to be more inclusive of new families and to provide more information about how our school operates.

3.  What are THREE things you wish to accomplish before the end of this school year?
Number one-  I need to get a coding club started, like yesterday.  We've got spheros and now I just have to find someone ready to lead this opportunity.  Any takers?

Number two-  I need more of a family-school balance.  I'm not sure how to accomplish this right now, but I need to be school focused when I'm at school and more family focused when I'm not at school.  Anybody know of a book or an app that can help me with this?

Number three-  I need to really need to get to know more students.  As a principal, there are those students that I get to know well for a variety of reasons.  See my struggle above for my attempted plan to accomplish this.

4.  Give FOUR reasons why you remain in education in today's rough culture.
Number one-  Because the kids deserve it!

Number two-  Because the staff deserves it!

Number three-  Because the families deserve it!

Number four-  Because I want to give back in a way that honors my original teachers (my parents), all my teachers and professors, and my colleagues.

5.  Which FIVE people do you hope will take the challenge of answering these questions.
Number one-  Mike Budisch (@headlearner) because he has much to share with the education community.

Number two-  Tom Whitford (@twhitford) because I miss his humor, his straight forward thoughts for improving education, and the connections he has helped me make with other top notch educators.

Number three-  Elaine Mead (@ElaineMead1) because she just needs one more push to get blogging and the world will witness her greatness.

Number four-  Any of the great educators at Merton Intermediate School (@mertonint and #mertonint).

Number five-  Joe Schroeder (@joeschroeder23) because he has a mind for education like no one else I know.

I look forward to reading all of your 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 blogs.  Anyone else out there want to accept the challenge?