All Posts by Date & Excerpt

School PR Podcast Interview 32: Principal Dr. Andy Jacks Creative Student Videos & Social Media Interview

Public Relations & Digital Communications With Ryan Foran Virginia Principal of the Year Dr. Andy Jacks shares his why and how he shares the great stories of the students and staff at Ashland Elementary School through creative videos and social media. Be sure to follow Dr. Jacks on Twitter @_AndyJacks, and his website https://andyjacks.co/. Jacks … Continue reading School PR Podcast Interview 32: Principal Dr. Andy Jacks Creative Student Videos & Social Media Interview

Slowing down to provide leadertunities for others

A little moment today with my son helped me rethink our work with teachers and students. Random Saturday morning. I really should be thinking about anything else after a long week. Does anyone else have these random leadership thoughts that come out of the middle of nowhere? We stopped to get gas and he asked … Continue reading Slowing down to provide leadertunities for others

Fifth grade students refurbish computers for peers in need

Principal Carrie Webb of Signal Hill Elementary School heard two of her students needed computers. For one month, she kept her ears and eyes open, until she found the solution at Ashland Elementary. Source: Fifth grade students refurbish computers for peers in need

The Call to Reduce the Use of Email

The first email was sent on a local network in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson. He sent this to a computer sitting right next to his computer and the message was "something like QWERTYUIOP" in the email. Tomlinson was also the one who began using the @ sign in emails. 1 Historical Context … Continue reading The Call to Reduce the Use of Email

Sensory Friendly Haircuts

For many families like mine, even simple things can be very stressful. When our son was little, the barber shop and a tight haircut, one of my favorite things, was way too much and very overwhelming for him. I had to cut his hair at home for years myself. Now it's better, but I know … Continue reading Sensory Friendly Haircuts

Enhance Mail Communication through Augmented Reality

Our annual tradition of mailing postcards home for information and to notify parents of students' teachers saw an innovative twist the last couple of years by adding augmented reality.We use HP Reveal (formerly Aurasma) to turn the front of the postcard into a 'trigger' image so the app recognizes it and automatically overlays a preset … Continue reading Enhance Mail Communication through Augmented Reality

Using the Technology SAMR Model to Rethink Educational Leadership

In the instructional technology circles, the SAMR model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) has provided a way to rethink how technology is not only used, but how it can enhance instruction in the classroom. Ruben Puentedura began creating this model in the mid-eighties as a Harvard graduate student. The main idea behind this model is to … Continue reading Using the Technology SAMR Model to Rethink Educational Leadership

Tech Tip: How to Sync Outlook & School Messenger Calendars

Make sure to take any opportunity to save time and energy in your schools! Here is a quick how to video on pushing out one of your Outlook calendars onto your calendar on your website through School Messenger. Both Outlook and School Messenger are programs that we use in Prince William County Schools. Let me … Continue reading Tech Tip: How to Sync Outlook & School Messenger Calendars

Tech Tip: Bookmarking Favorite Tweets

Did you know you can record your phone screen while you model how to do something new and innovative? I met Ryan Foran @RyanPForan at the #NSPRA2018 conference and we hit it off right away. He's doing amazing things in his district and really putting himself out there with posts, blog, and podcast. Here is … Continue reading Tech Tip: Bookmarking Favorite Tweets

Five Tips to Maximize Video Communication

There are a handful of key considerations when using video to maximize engagement in your school community. These concepts are important because they will help others share in your journey and success in a way that is meaningful and interesting to them. Read more below on these tips and reflect on how you are using … Continue reading Five Tips to Maximize Video Communication

Video Introductions

School is about to begin again and there is nothing is worse than an excited parent that goes to the school's website to meet the administrator or teacher and all they see is a boring letter, or even worse, the person's name with no other information. You had the parent right where you wanted them! … Continue reading Video Introductions

Read Alouds & Book Talks

Read AloudsReading to every classroom every month is by far one of my favorite things I do as principal. It is a fantastic opportunity to build personal relationships, set the tone for expectations, and prioritize literacy as a leader. Reading tons of books to students is one of the most important things we can do … Continue reading Read Alouds & Book Talks

School Culture Building as Software Updates

Sometimes the most profound statements happen during random times. Today a guest speaker doing a keynote at the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals 2018 Conference was asking about how our 'business' was doing in our schools. He asked the crowd about this and Michael Santos, an up and coming school leader, said something to … Continue reading School Culture Building as Software Updates

Mobile STEAM Labs – Update

This year, our teachers At Ashland led by 5th grade teacher Jen Young, created mobile STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) carts that are housed centrally in our STEAM garage and checked out by teachers to use in their classrooms. Recently, they made some amazing updates based on what they have learned about the organization … Continue reading Mobile STEAM Labs – Update

Modeling Should Be Exact for Student Success in Lessons

As principal, I have the honor of observing classroom lessons to learn about instruction and student motivation. This week I was able to directly see the positive impact that specific and direct modeling had on student performance in a 4th grade math lesson by Jesse Raines  (@Mr_Raines on Twitter). His lesson's objective was for students … Continue reading Modeling Should Be Exact for Student Success in Lessons

Kindergarten Readiness Top Tips Video

As Hannibal in the A-Team used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together!" This year our kindergarten team decided to create a new program to help communicate to parents what helps students be successful in school. As students at Ashland register, they typically receive supply lists and will receive a school shirt, … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Top Tips Video

Traveling Tips #dadsasprincipals

This year we took the plunge and the whole family to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This is true both literally and figuratively since we all got wet flying down Splash Mountain! The trip was both fantastic and exhausting, and I learned a few tips along the way that hopefully may help other parents. Comment … Continue reading Traveling Tips #dadsasprincipals

Tips to Engage and Inspire Your School Community #NFES2018

It was fun to lead this presentation at the National Family Engagement Summit in Richmond, Virginia this week. The group of educators were so responsive and I can really sense a growing desire to get back to the basics. Schools should be the center of the community and we should be the go-to place for … Continue reading Tips to Engage and Inspire Your School Community #NFES2018

#30SecondBookTalk Tournament

The #30SecondBookTalk is in full swing led by @GustafsonBrad and @JenniferLagarde where they celebrate literacy by sharing the love of great literature. This year, I'm competing in the first round with my book talk of Josh Funk's It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk, a great book with amazing visuals. I used WeVideo to edit the video … Continue reading #30SecondBookTalk Tournament

Bringing My “A” Game – #DadsAsPrincipals Super Bowl Edition

This guest post is written by my friend J. Kapuchuck. a super dad and a super principal in Rockingham County, Virginia. Follow him on Twitter @PrincipalKap In today’s society everything is changing at a rapid pace.  However, the one thing that has not changed is our passion for either participating in sports or watching them. … Continue reading Bringing My “A” Game – #DadsAsPrincipals Super Bowl Edition

Celebrating Your Home Team -#DadsAsPrincipals Super Bowl Edition

When you  think of your “home team,” what comes to mind? Is it your family or your favorite sports team? Why don’t we put as much energy and passion into celebrating our family or our school as we do our favorite football team? This post is part of a series we are starting with our … Continue reading Celebrating Your Home Team -#DadsAsPrincipals Super Bowl Edition

The Power of Principal Read Alouds

Principals need to be engaging with students in their classrooms for them to be an effective leader. It is imperative that we get a feeling of what the teachers’ and students’ lives are like in school on a regular basis. Random walkthroughs and class visits don’t always give this immersed feeling because they are quick … Continue reading The Power of Principal Read Alouds

Twitter Teacher Tips

I'm often asked by teachers and schools how to get started using Twitter. Our school team has been fortunate enough to help many other schools begin their social media journeys by providing social media workshops. At these workshops, we typically provide a tip sheet to give teachers to take away with them as reminders or … Continue reading Twitter Teacher Tips

Don’t Let Your Speed Bumps Turn Into Stop Lights

A goal without a plan is just a wish. If it matters, follow through, work the goal every single day, make it a priority, and success will be inevitable. Don't let your speed bumps along the way turn into stop lights and stop you from accomplishing your goals. Recently our school teams met with me … Continue reading Don’t Let Your Speed Bumps Turn Into Stop Lights

Principal’s Book Talk – Legacy

We have a team of readers at Ashland and I wanted to inspire, not require, them to read this great book Legacy by James Kerr. Legacy provides insight into the amazing culture of one of the world's most successful sporting teams, the All Blacks, a rugby team from New Zealand. This book provides powerful lessons … Continue reading Principal’s Book Talk – Legacy

Ritualize – My #OneWord2018

The 'One Word' movement originated by Jon Gordan and has been a fantastic way to retool every January, sort of like a more thoughtful New Year's resolution. As I write this post about my #OneWord2018 for others so that it will hopefully help them reflect, posts like this are major introspective moments in my leadership … Continue reading Ritualize – My #OneWord2018

Mr. Jacks & the Falcon Video Series

It's January now and now that the holidays have passed it's prime learning time in school. It's also time to start planning for how we will motivate our students to do their best on the end of the year tests. One of the ways we do this is through a video series called Mr. Jacks … Continue reading Mr. Jacks & the Falcon Video Series

20 ‘18’ Ways to Start the New Year

Happy (Early) New Year! As you are wrapping up the last few days of 2017, taking in those last hugs, smiles, high fives, and waves for a few days we (Lindsy, Eric, Jessica, Andy, Todd, and Nick) wanted to challenge ourselves, and our PLN, to think about how to ring in 2018 when everyone returns. … Continue reading 20 ‘18’ Ways to Start the New Year

“Tacky Sweater” Staff Parody Holiday Video

Every year, we create a staff video to celebrate the holidays. This time, we were right in the middle of an office meeting that got so rudely interrupted...

Let Student Lead! Making a Case for Student-Led Conferences

It is critical that students know how they are performing and what they need to do to improve on their skills to be fully invested every day to achieve their learning goals. Student-led conferences are one way to support this effort, and research for many years has stated the positive aspects of involving students in this way. In … Continue reading Let Student Lead! Making a Case for Student-Led Conferences

Dads On Deck Podcast

I've been fortunate to connect with many dads across the country who are passionate about keeping our priorities straight with our kids at home as well as our kids at school.  Our Dads As Principals group joined forces with another dad group called Maker Dads to start a podcast called Dads on Deck. We are … Continue reading Dads On Deck Podcast

My First Schoolwide Read Aloud Experience

If we don't run our day, our day will run us. If you are a school administrator or educator, then you know exactly what I mean! We must set priorities and schedule them or other things will take their place whether we like it or not. If it's that important to us, we must put … Continue reading My First Schoolwide Read Aloud Experience

Costumes Show You Care

Recently I was cleaning out my office closet and noticed that most of it was full of my costumes and accessories that have accumulated over the years! I thought to myself, I wonder how many other principals' closets look like this? I've taken Dave Burgess' philosophy of going above and beyond to create excitement and … Continue reading Costumes Show You Care

Dad and/or Principal? #dadsasprincipals

Work all day. Exhausted. Finally sit down at the kitchen table to shovel in a late dinner. And...out...comes...my cell phone...Why?? It's like an automatic reaction that I can't even control! To check the emails that I have may have missed on the way home from work?? I struggle with separating work and home and separating … Continue reading Dad and/or Principal? #dadsasprincipals

“Don’t Stress Out” Staff Parody Video

Testing shouldn't be stressful for our students if we prepared them like we should! This was fun to make, especially trying to keep it 'cool' and relaxed this time.

Every Month is The Month of the Military Child at Ashland

April is the Month of the Military Child, but this takes on more meaning in our school. Secretary of Defense Casper W. Weinberger, in 1986, started this movement to remind others that military children also sacrifice and serve alongside their parents. Every year, the U. S. Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy continue … Continue reading Every Month is The Month of the Military Child at Ashland

Students Share their Stories in Many Ways #MonthoftheMilitaryChild

A recent visit to Washington, DC reminded me of the importance of sharing our support for our military families outside our school community. Led by Amanda Woodyard, our Military Student Transition Consultant for our school division and housed at Ashland, students from Ashland and neighboring schools helped make two quilts to show their support for … Continue reading Students Share their Stories in Many Ways #MonthoftheMilitaryChild

Ours, not Mine: The importance of shared decision-making

I originally wrote this reflection as part of an assignment for my Virginia Tech Government and Policy in Education class a few weeks ago. Recent decision-making regarding changes at the national level has provided excellent reflection on the skills and processes that leaders need in order to have successful and positive change. The recent news of … Continue reading Ours, not Mine: The importance of shared decision-making

Good evening! How may we serve you at the Decimal Diner?

Education does not have to be miserable. All of those things we complain about in the great system of education can be improved. It starts with us. With our thinking, planning, and effort. Recently, two or our 4th grade teachers, Mrs. Clevenger and Mrs. Milleson took basic math decimals practice to a new level of … Continue reading Good evening! How may we serve you at the Decimal Diner?

What, Why, & How of Instructional Technology: Our School’s Story

Using new technology just because it looks cool or because it makes you feel innovative is not enough. Culture, instruction, and the needs of students come first, technology comes after. At Ashland Elementary, we have worked tirelessly to research and try new technologies but to also quickly re-assess usage for students. I talk every day with my … Continue reading What, Why, & How of Instructional Technology: Our School’s Story

Lone Nut or First Follower: Building a Culture That Celebrates Uniqueness #WEIRDPRINCIPALS

The #WeirdPrincipals effort is all about energy and starting movements that inspire others. Similar to #PrincipalsInAction and #KidsDeserveIt, we seek to unleash leadership potential by inspiring others to be themselves, do their very best, and run into school to make magic happen every day! @_AndyJacks and @JessicaCabeen wrote this together to show how two principals … Continue reading Lone Nut or First Follower: Building a Culture That Celebrates Uniqueness #WEIRDPRINCIPALS

How to Be Happy in Your Work

Are you happy in life? Are you happy in your job? Do you even know the things that should make you happy? As a renewal of motivation in our school, I met with all of my school teams recently to discuss this very thing. To be effective with students, I have come to realize that teachers … Continue reading How to Be Happy in Your Work

Some Gifts Are Not So Obvious

Virginia Tech security just taught me a life lesson this week, but probably not the one you would expect! Every week, two times a week, we have class at the Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center. Hamish and I always make it a point to say hi and get to know the security guards or custodians … Continue reading Some Gifts Are Not So Obvious

Dyslexia is Not a Mystery

For many, dyslexia is a mysterious and strange word of a disorder that sounds like it is really difficult to support in school. The reality is much different. Parents have been bringing this concern for their child to our schools for years and finally we are addressing it in a more systematic and educated manner. … Continue reading Dyslexia is Not a Mystery

If my students are Batman, then I must be Alfred…

Usually, I’m looking for any excuse I can find to dress up and act like a nut for our students at school. If you follow anything of mine, you’ve probably seen that already, dressing up like Thor, the Elf on the Shelf, Mustafa, you name it. But today, as we were getting ready to come … Continue reading If my students are Batman, then I must be Alfred…

Weird Principals

Weirdness isn’t weakness! It's a way to celebrate the unique ways we can engage our school community by any means possible. We try so hard in leadership positions to be what we think others want us to be, remembering the many, many leadership ‘characteristics’ that are apparently so vital for success. We read, try to imitate, … Continue reading Weird Principals

“I Believe” Staff Video

When inspiration, reflection, and engagement comes together with your staff, this is an example of what you can accomplish. At our 1st staff meeting in January, we asked teachers to write what they believed for their students and then show it on video. The twist is that we played the video back in reverse! This … Continue reading “I Believe” Staff Video

Keep it Simple, Less can be More

The easy. The obvious. Why are we spending so much time coming up with complicated plans and strategies when the best ways to connect are so simple? Before winter break, I asked all of our staff members to write a postcard note to one of their students. We mailed these out over the break so … Continue reading Keep it Simple, Less can be More

My #OneWord2017 is FOCUS

My #OneWord2017 is focus! If you know me at all, you wouldn't be surprised that this is my one word for the year. You may be muttering under your breath, "...it's about time..."  or "...that should have been your one word last year..." As I'm typing this, I have eight tabs open in my web … Continue reading My #OneWord2017 is FOCUS

Life is like a box of…puzzle pieces

Sometimes inspiration for writing comes at the oddest times. As we were putting together a puzzle as a family for the holidays, I was struck with how much this was a powerful metaphor for life, leadership, and education. Forrest Gump so famously said, "Life is like a box of choc-o-lates" but I think he had … Continue reading Life is like a box of…puzzle pieces

“Peanuts Holiday Dance” Staff Parody Video

This is one of my very favorite staff videos we have done! We (meaning Mr. Benware, our amazing Instructional Technology Coach) learned this year how to superimpose videos and shrink them via green screens. A really cool thing is that members of our team involved in this video are so inclusive to our whole team. … Continue reading “Peanuts Holiday Dance” Staff Parody Video

Effective Leadership Starts with Positive Thinking -This I Believe

I was recently tasked in one of my graduate classes at Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) to write a statement about my beliefs in the form of "This I Believe." This style was founded through NPR as a series that is pretty similar to what Ted Talks have now become. I thought not only was this … Continue reading Effective Leadership Starts with Positive Thinking -This I Believe

Hustle Like It’s the Last Game of the Night

What do you think? One more game or we done for the night? Can we see the ball? Yea? Then let's get one more game in! Sometimes the best inspiration comes when you aren't even thinking about it, and in this case I was 2 hours into a night of pick up basketball in the … Continue reading Hustle Like It’s the Last Game of the Night

Sphero Ideas for Teachers

Finally! Robotics & Coding finally are far enough along to create amazing engineering lessons for students! This post is just a mish-mosh of visuals and ideas to help you think about using our Spheros with your students. These will create special moments for your students as well as give you a tool to pull students … Continue reading Sphero Ideas for Teachers

Get Stronger, Every Day

He's the MVP of the NBA right now for a reason! Of course this is a commercial, but these statements describe the attitude it takes not only to win, but to continue to grow and strive to be the best you that you can be. It's a new workout, every day. It's physical, every day. … Continue reading Get Stronger, Every Day

We Are All Lead Learners

  Every school year the same thing happens. On the first day of school I tell my students the story of George the Gummy Worm.  George is no ordinary gummy worm.  George, like any other candy animal, decides to take a summer vacation in the Caribbean and gets stuck on the top of his boat.   … Continue reading We Are All Lead Learners

“Rock That Test” I’m Sorry Staff Parody Video

State testing is an opportunity, not an obligation! Let's show them what we are made of and rock that test! This was inspired from I'm Sorry by Justin Bieber.

The Falcon Fourth & A Sense of Urgency

A football game is broken into 4 quarters and the final quarter is the last chance to bring everything you have before the game is over. Players and coaches on the sidelines and the field routinely hold up 4 fingers during the start of the 4th quarter. These images for many of you like me … Continue reading The Falcon Fourth & A Sense of Urgency

Conner’s Leadership & Conner’s Law

What an opportunity I had today! As a father and as an educator, I was so inspired today by my new hero Conner Cummings! If you don't know Conner, you soon will. Conner is an up-and-coming 23 year old young man who is a nationally recognized advocate, connected to the top researchers in the world of Autism, … Continue reading Conner’s Leadership & Conner’s Law

Why We Gave our Reserved Parking Away to our Teachers

I really don't know why principals have reserved spots. I tend to be at school really early and leave really late, so it's not like I can't ever find a parking spot. I've always felt weird about it. When I go to a business, store, or other public place, they typically have their staff park … Continue reading Why We Gave our Reserved Parking Away to our Teachers

All They Need Is Love

With Valentine's Day approaching, the love that is in our classrooms has been amazing. But let's not forget the power and importance of loving our students as we move past this holiday into the rest of the year! In education, we are so easily distracted by programs and activities that it becomes easy to forget our … Continue reading All They Need Is Love

The Teaching 4-4-2: Organizing the Art of Education

This guest post is written by Justin Holbrook @JustinHolbrook I am one of those soccer fanatics who wakes up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings to watch the matches from “across the pond”. As the rest of my apartment complex is fast asleep in their nice warm beds, I am up drinking coffee and screaming … Continue reading The Teaching 4-4-2: Organizing the Art of Education

A Powerful Day as a School Principal

Whoa! What a day! I love my job, especially on days like this when I get to be with kids the whole day! I had somewhat of a plan, but I definitely woke up knowing that I was going to bring it today no matter what! Started my day with popping in and out of a 5th grade math … Continue reading A Powerful Day as a School Principal

Learn How to Code to Learn How to Think

Why the pressure to have our students coding all of a sudden? It's not like everything that they do uses computers, right...right? Wrong. Basically every recreation and professional occupation now uses computer programming in some way. The old emphasis on teaching simple machines is now evolving to into complex machines. This is coming to us in the form of … Continue reading Learn How to Code to Learn How to Think

A Positive Mindset

This guest post is written by Lauren DeIntinis @laurendeintinis, a 2nd Grade Teacher in Manassas, Virginia. Check out more of her information at the end of the post. My name is Lauren DeIntinis and I am a 2nd grade teacher at the FABULOUS Ashland Elementary School in Manassas, VA. I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA but have lived in Virginia for … Continue reading A Positive Mindset

Open Your Eyes To See Your Students Leading

Are you listening to your students when they have ideas for improvements or helping others? Do you turn these into opportunities for developing their leadership skills? What has really caught my attention over time is seeing individual students that have shown leadership WITHOUT adults giving them the ideas. This has taught me to keep my eyes … Continue reading Open Your Eyes To See Your Students Leading

Games or “Gamification” in the Classroom?

This guest post is written by Justin Holbrook @JustinHolbrook, a 4th Grade Teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. Check out more of his information at the end of the post. I fondly remember the games I used to play with my family as a little kid.  Legos with my mom.  Monopoly with all the money missing or … Continue reading Games or “Gamification” in the Classroom?

Autism Resources by Sesame Street

I played this music video as I started writing and my kids swarmed me, halfway sitting on me, arms around my head! They were totally drawn to the sounds of Elmo, Abby, and Grover celebrating Autism! We have come a long way with the resources available for children, adults, and families that are affected by Autism. Sesame Street … Continue reading Autism Resources by Sesame Street

Instructional Blocks with a “Flexible Purpose”

This guest post is written by Justin Holbrook @JustinHolbrook, a 4th Grade Teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. Check out more of his information at the end of the post. When thinking about designing a dream instructional block, questions start whipping through my brain like the frantic tornado scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”  How much time … Continue reading Instructional Blocks with a “Flexible Purpose”

My #OneWord for 2016 is BELIEVE

My #OneWord for 2016 is believe. Although I am cheating a little bit, since believe is a word that we have been discussing as a school team all year! I'm definitely still focused on it for 2016! Believe in Yourself: If you want to make a difference in others, you must first have confidence in your own abilities. … Continue reading My #OneWord for 2016 is BELIEVE

Our Students Need Grit

I've almost been trying NOT to use the term 'grit' because of how trendy it has become, but I've found it may be one of the best character traits we could possibly teach our students! Grit is courage and resolve; strength of character. It's clenching the teeth, especially in order to keep one's resolve when faced with a tough or difficult responsibility. Angela … Continue reading Our Students Need Grit

A Lesson from Yoda on Achieving Goals

"No! Try not! Do. Or do not. There is no try." Yes, I'm excited! Can't wait to see the next Star Wars movie soon, so I'm catching up with the original series with my oldest daughter and then bam! A lesson by Yoda! In Star Wars V Empire Strikes Back, Yoda challenged Luke Skywalker to believe he could … Continue reading A Lesson from Yoda on Achieving Goals

Inclusive School Week is Every Week

This week is Inclusive Schools Week and we celebrate what it means to be inclusive through activities, readings, and discussions with our students. But why do we only talk about inclusive practices during this week? Inclusive Schools Week should be EVERY week! "Inclusive" is a powerful word. Remember that inclusive refers to mixed abilities but also … Continue reading Inclusive School Week is Every Week

Manage Stress, Have Fun!

WE LOVE KIDS. We love making a positive difference in the future of students. We love feeling like our job matters and that the work is worth it in the long run. We radiate absolute joy when our students show growth and success. WE FEEL STRESSED. Like...all...the...time. Stressed about the tasks that have to be done. About the thousands of decisions … Continue reading Manage Stress, Have Fun!

Why Walk for A Cause? A post about why it really matters.

Why spend a Saturday or Sunday morning to literally walk or run around in circles? When I was younger, before kids, before other life experiences, I really struggled to understand what the purpose was for walks and runs for the many causes that came up throughout the year. But as life kicked in, I realized how important … Continue reading Why Walk for A Cause? A post about why it really matters.

Value All Students: 7 Tips for Challenging Kids

Value each and every child in your classroom and school. Really. All of them. Not just the cute ones... Not just the funny ones... Not just the well-behaved ones... Not just the ones with supportive parents... All of them. Hopefully as educators, we went into this profession like superheros. Idealistic. Ready to swoop in and save every … Continue reading Value All Students: 7 Tips for Challenging Kids

Don’t Give Up on Your Players During the Game

Even though there are so many reasons why a team may win or lose, the Steelers made an epic leadership mistake that cost them the game this week. They gave up on one of their players during the game. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost 23-20 in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens on this week on Thursday night football. … Continue reading Don’t Give Up on Your Players During the Game

Their feelings matter

I went into this position as a school leader thinking so much about what tasks have to get done and the programmatic changes that would need to be made. But as I reflect and gain experience (of course the best teacher) I realize that in most ways I had it all wrong. People's feelings matter.  People will forget … Continue reading Their feelings matter

Edcamp: Learn tips and takeaways from a successful example

Edcamp started in 2010 in Philidephia, Pennsylvania, and continues to take off as a professional learning trend in education. It's designed to be free, have noncommercial sessions, and use the 'Rule of 2 Feet' where participants can come and go as they please during sessions. Session topics are created by the participants on the day of … Continue reading Edcamp: Learn tips and takeaways from a successful example

Use Cell Phone Videos to Make Instructional Hooks

  Look closely. No, not at Jason Aldean, the country music superstar. Look at the crowd. What do you notice? In a quick count, I see more than 70 lights from cell phones, let alone my own as I took this picture and probably hundreds behind me in the crowd. This really caught me as a … Continue reading Use Cell Phone Videos to Make Instructional Hooks

Teachers Need to Talk to Learn

Whoever does the talking, does the learning. So who talks in your staff meetings, professional development, and classrooms? Ever since the really cool invention of projectors, there has been a serious and sad condition called, "Death by PowerPoint" in staff meetings worldwide. But don't worry, there is good news! We have a cure! There are a few … Continue reading Teachers Need to Talk to Learn

Believe in Your Success

Pulling up to the railroad tracks... Crossing lights off, arms up... Each car slows down while crossing... One car STOPS right in the middle of the tracks... The driver looks left, looks right... WHILE STILL STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRACKS... Wait, is he really stopped in the middle of the tracks to check … Continue reading Believe in Your Success

You Better Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

"The Answer is in the Room" (But are you honest about why you can't or won't see it?) How many times have we said, "We can do this, the ANSWER IS IN THE ROOM" when we try to solve problems? So much, that it's now a cliche, and maybe we need to reconsider what it actually … Continue reading You Better Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself