July 10, 2009

Wife's B-day today! We are getting together with some co-worker friends tonight. Looking forward to some good conversation with some great teachers and my wife's principal who I love to share stories with.

Also been looking forward to the PLC's at Work conference coming up in August. I am taking 4 staff from my building and I think they are going to love it. Three days with Richard, Rebecca and Robert learning to do "Whatever it Takes" and becoming a true collaborative learning community.

July 9, 2009

Been thinking of all of the changes we will be instituting this year. Very exciting...but also a little nervous as I want the implementation to go smoothly. The staff worked hard to create a schedule that allowed for a dedicated reading block, time for an intervention team to come in and assist each grade level (K-4), and blocks of time for collaboration.

We have also found some excellent tools to help us improve student performance. Compass Learning to go along with our MAP testing, AIMSweb to act as a data management tool, a normed benchmarking tool and as a progress monitoring tool as we begin to implement our RtI model. It all shapes up to be a very exciting year. I know that we also want to focus our efforts to become a true PLC and shape that collaborative time into a data focused session that allows us to discover various areas of improvement either in instruction delivery or in needed interventions for specific students.

After reading TurnAround Schools I also want to make sure that we put our vision statement in writing as well as our collaboration procedures, followed by the staff signing the agreements. I thought this was an excellent idea. This is of course, not so I can hold staff accountable, but so that they can hold each other accountable.

Moving on to a new book today. It came highly recommended from an old admin mentor I worked with. "Compelling Conversations connecting leadership to student achievement" by Thomasina D. Piercy looks to be a great read about approaching the serious conversations that need to take place in a school seeting. Conversations between staff and administrators and conversations amongst grade level teams.

These type of conversations already take place at highly effective schools. While I am the leader of a very good school, we are still not doing what it takes to become a top notch school that ensures the success of all of its students. Where I am lucky is that I have a staff that desires nothing but the best for its students and almost all are willing to try whatever it takes to get there. What we will have to start working on is following the steps taken by these exceptional schools and making it a common practice in our building. It is comforting to feel that I know it will happen.

July 8, 2009

I just finished reading TurnAround Schools today! Excellent book by Damon Lopez and Jeff King. Damon was featured in "Whatever It Takes" by the 3 R's and I had the chance to meet him at a SPARK conference in Milwaukee back in May. Great guy with a great message...All kids can succeed no matter their personal life circumstances. Poor, single parent, homeless, only meals at school, none of these are excuses for Damon or his staff. Jeff King and he have created simple rules to establish what separates average collaboration, average data assessment and average interventions from exceptional practices that make these strategies more successful for all students. Highly recommended and it is an easy and short read.

July 7, 2009

Getting Started

I have been having various conversations with friends and colleagues and have determined that I needed a place to share my views. If for no other reason than to release some of the thoughts going through my head so that I can sleep at night. That and I was hoping to get some input and new ideas from all of those out there in the blogosphere that are interested in the same thing as I. Making education the most respected job in the world. Well, at least move it up into the top 3.