Friday, September 25, 2015

Right Before My Eyes, Room 202

As an avid writer and blogger having a desire to grow professionally through sharing of my ideas, observations and experiences, what I saw this morning right before my eyes in Room 202 was all encompassing of years of dedication and passion for teaching and learning.

Room 202 was alive in every sense of the word. When we talk the education lingo and toss around all of the buzz words of our profession, what I saw in this classroom was each and every one of those terms, concepts, best practices and components of education being applied. Flawlessly. And, it did not happen as an independent event. It took effort and focus. Hours and hours to say the least.

There was trial and error, there were mistakes and disappointment by the students and the teacher, there was growth from their efforts and there was frustration from the rigor. There was grit, there was collaboration, there was noise. The room was alive with learning.

Right before my eyes I was witness to everything I strive for with the students and the teachers I work alongside with. Room 202 (and most significantly the teacher within these walls that is dedicated to being the best vehicle of sharing of knowledge and their passion for instruction) has reaffirmed that the hours of planning and preparing, collaborating and connecting, being given the freedom and trust and respect to try new things (and to fail and try again) is worth every moment of every day. The investment in our teachers is being returned in countless ways. The evidence is in Room 202.

On this Friday I am grateful to be surrounded by passionate educators that have a mindset that is built around growing themselves as learners. And, equally as important, they instill this mindset with their students. Room 202 is alive.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Culture Matters

It is at the core of what we do. It is what makes us tick. It drives us.

When you believe in what you do, you are relentless in your actions. When you are inspired by something you see, you share with everyone you come into contact with. As stories of success come across your screen, you re-tell them many times over.

Education is constantly changing, constantly evolving. It is a pulse that is always beating, feverishly. Always an opportunity to learn. To grow. To discover and to explore. Nothing about our world stays the same. Lessons unfold, students reach, teachers take risks, parents invest. The community is one.

Culture is created. It takes time.

Rising in the morning we are eager to see what lies ahead of us within the day about to unfold. We thrive off of what we learn and from whom we are learning. Students and teachers are our source of professional energy. They are our heartbeat.

It does not happen overnight. It takes time to create a culture worth knowing. Worth being a part of. Nurture it.

Culture matters.

Monday, September 7, 2015


Heading into a new school year can bring excitement and anticipation. Eagerness to meet new friends, colleagues and classmates and, of course, the beginning of the journey of learning. Teachers are ready to implement best practice and their administrators are ready to support them each step of the way. Everyone will work in concert to provide the best experience and the best lessons possible. It will be inspiring.

However, a new year also brings challenges, obstacles and the unknown. Students are entering environments in which they are having to make new friends, learn the styles of new teachers and learn new expectations and routines. Teachers too are taking on unchartered roles as they continue to be lifelong learners themselves. Implementing one2one, incorporating a personalized learning experience and of course, always doing what is best for kids and being innovative each step of the way. It can be overwhelming.

As we came back together as a staff prior to the school year we talked about our mindset. Growth vs Fixed. And how we as teachers and learners ourselves could shape the climate of the year awaiting. With all of this excitement and anticipation and conversation there is a word that we as a community of learners adopted for the year ahead with the hopes that it will propel us to great things each step of the way. As we were talking about these unknowns, these fears and these opportunities for new learning, we know that students and teachers alike will be faced with doubt, worry and a desire to retreat to something more comfortable. Therefore, as this community of teachers, leaders and learners ourselves, we will add this simple word to our students and our teachers (and our own) vocabulary. When met with resistance, a seemingly insurmountable challenge, the brain that is telling us to stop or worse case, not even try to begin with, this will become our response. This word will be a part of our growth mindset.


This year, as we recognize students becoming worried, fearful or anxious about material, relationships and responsibilities we will support them in their learning and work with them to be successful and accomplish what lies in front of them by adding the word "yet" when they say they can't, won't or have doubt. Ourselves as educators, teachers and administrators when we are handed moments of challenges and adversities in our day we too will implement this mindset into our decisions and our direction and be reminded of "yet". We will model what we expect of others. We will be relentless in our pursuit of success. And of course, failure may be a part of this growth but growth will occur none-the-less.

With that, can you add "yet" to your work? What will you do when faced with challenges? Will you fold to pressures and the weight of our profession or will you regroup, regain your focus and forge ahead? Will you add "yet"?

I encourage you to purposefully add this simple word to your classroom or school building/district and to your mindset this year and watch what unfolds. Already I have grown in my leadership and modeled how I expect others to do the same. As someone who thought they were always a person to persevere, this intentionality of "yet" has added that much more value to what I do.