Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things

As a principal it is easy to become consumed with the negatives, shortcomings or lack of good judgements that come across my desk. The truth of the matter is is that when a student needs to talk to me in private or a teacher needs to "shut the door," there is a pretty good chance that it is to report a poor decision, confess a wrong doing or report a problem that they heard. This is NOT why I choose to lead. I choose to lead because I believe that the young people of this great nation have crazy potential. I believe that without a quality education it is impossible to accomplish your dreams. I believe that teaching is one, if not the most noble profession in the world. Last, but not least, I know that a school can be the bright spot during a dark time for our students even if they may not realize it at the time. 

As a father my perspective on education has continued to evolve. When I look at what I want for the kids and community of Eaton the answer starts and stops with placing quality people with the tools and support to work with these young people effectively. Having quality, inspiring, hardworking teachers in place to fulfill their dreams while working to make students come true is a must. 

What a great time to be in education. Not only are there technological tools that give us access to countless resources but we also are living in a time where accountability has continued to increase based on an array of state tests. Accountability is a great thing if accountability is done correctly. The keys to having accurate data for teacher accountability are very similar to collecting student data; it must be done at different times, using multiple measures and being transparent concerning the goals and the objectives that the individual should be striving to meet. Accountability is all about raising ownership and if teachers take greater ownership of their students' success then the entire school/ district/ community can achieve things never thought possible. 

"Each finger can be easily broken but close them into a fist and the power increases significantly."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Professional Development for All

Ask most teachers what they get out of a PD day and the answer usually is something like: "well it's something we have to do." So as a principal of a middle school where we have endured 8 calamity days, 11 snow, fog or ice delays, and 17 testing days thus far, it is my goal to change that answer from something teachers feel they have to do into something that teachers feel is beneficial to themselves and their students. 

The real question is, why should teachers care? Does the work equal more hoops to jump through? By that I mean are we working on goals that are never followed? Are we creating paperwork to justify the hours spent without students in the building? I challenge teachers to continually ask, how does this improve a students life? Easy to say not easy to make happen. It is always easy to point the finger and play the blame game of who's at fault when your time as an educator is being wasted. But a wise man once said, if you do not like what you are being fed than pick up the spoon and feed yourself. 

So lets take the time to reflect and look more carefully at the decisions we are making, the time we are spending, and if again we are not using it to better student learning, then why are we doing it. So let's do the work and make it meaningful! Have a great day or not the choice is yours.