Before becoming an administrator, I admittedly used to wonder what work principals really had to do all summer. I quickly learned that there is still much to accomplish and still never enough hours in a day. Summer is also a time when I am able to reflect, recharge, and regain the energy and enthusiasm I need for the school year. However, the biggest challenge I face in the summer is the emptiness of the building! I love my job because of the people I get to work with everyday, and particularly the kids. They are truly my “why!”
Each summer, I try to be intentional in finding ways to stay connected to kids, even in the months when the classrooms are dark and the hallways are quiet. Here are three easy ways I have found to be successful and honestly, fun!
This past week since the school year officially ended has been like one long exhale, as things come to a close and settle. Reflection is such an essential part of learning and yet something that I think many of us in education find it difficult to make the time for in meaningful ways. At our last day of school chapel assembly last week, our director of spiritual life shared the myriad of things she had learned throughout the year. It was a beautiful example of reflection and has caused me to pause and consider my own learning over the past year.
This year our staff completed two book studies together for the first time; I attended several conferences; Todd Nesloney came and presented a full day of learning for our faculty and staff; and I devoured several professional books on my own. Each of these...
Like every educator at this time of year, I’m tired. December is a fury of trips, concerts, special events, incentives, and an energy that is impossible to fully capture. It’s fun, but it can also be draining.
This past week, I received an unexpected pick-me-up from the fifth graders at my school, who wrote me letters as part of a guidance lesson on gratitude. The letters were incredibly meaningful and encouraging. It was the exact boost I needed in this very hectic season.
As I read through the stack several times, I was reminded of some simple truths about kids; things that I believe we all need to remember now, in the midst of the craziness, and as we transition back to school in the new year. I’m choosing to allow these reminders to be my “why,” especially in the next two weeks, a...
This past week I (Steven) had the incredible opportunity to travel to Harvard University to work with the Center for Education Policy Research on a project called “Visibly Better: Using Video for Teacher Development.” My dissertation research focused on teachers’ perceptions of using video for self-reflection and professional development and since that time, I have continued to use video with teachers at my school as an optional component of classroom observations. To say that I was humbled to be invited to work with such an esteemed group of researchers and educators in the reputable setting of Harvard University would be an understatement!
During the two-day working conference, we had great dialogue about a range of topics related to video-use, leading change initiatives, giving fee...
This post was co-written with Todd Nesloney. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.
Schools across the country have either already begun or are gearing up to start their year. As the year gets underway, one thing that campus leadership must keep at the forefront is how we can intentionally uplift and empower our teams on our campus. Now, don’t get us wrong - kids are always the number one priority! But, it is important to remember that an empowered, positive, and engaged staff will ultimately impact students in that same, powerful way!
What follows are a few ideas that we’ve used in our own schools that we wanted to share with you - ideas and activities that have shown to improve morale, bring people together, and amplify the important voices across across our campuses.
I have come to firmly believe that the fastest way to increase leadership capacity is to read. Whether from books, articles, blog posts, or 140 character-long tweets, reading about the ideas, experiences, and perspectives of others has exponentially impacted my own development as a principal and a leader over the past two years. In fact, one of the first principals I started following on Twitter was Beth Houf (@BethHouf). Her energy and enthusiasm is contagious and I have “stolen” more than a few ideas from her as time has gone on!