As I sit in my office, visiting our school for the first time since I left on Friday, December 22nd, I reflect on the connections we have made with our students and with one another. In some cases, we have done an exceptional job. In other cases, we have not done enough. I know that each of you have a large number of students to connect with. We all do, and that shouldn't be an excuse. It should be our challenge. There are days when we are tired, or overwhelmed, or sick, or frustrated, or all of these at the same time. Those are the days when focusing on a relationship with one student or colleague can provide a complete turn around. My #principalsinaction friends, in particular Mark French, challenged one another to come up with #OneWord2018. If you can't tell, mine is "Connected".
Now I know that many of you think that I chose connected due to social media and the incredible PLN that I have. That is not the reason for my word choice. The face to face connections that we have and need to develop every day is the reason for my #OneWord2018. I have the opportunity every day at school to improve on my connections with students, staff, and families. When I take the opportunity to connect with a student or group of students, they get to know me better and I get to know them better, too. When I take the opportunity to connect with a colleague, I need to focus on that time to listen, to learn, and to share the great things they are doing with and for our students as well as setting goals for improvement. When I take the opportunity to connect with families, I need to focus on finding the ways to make things the best they can be for their child or children.
Notice that each of these connections doesn't mention social media. Connections are about relationships, and social media or emails or phone calls can start a relationship, but to truly build a relationship, one must have face to face conversations. Now here's where you all come in. I need those gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, reminders to unplug and disconnect from my device while we are talking. My #OneWord2018 of connected is meant to focus on building relationships with all of you and I know that I will need your help. Thanks in advance!