Monday, April 17, 2017

Priorities and Prioritizing

I have been enjoying connecting with my PLN this evening on Twitter. I am super excited about our week long Twitter Challenge; #FSUSDtweets that begins tomorrow.  I am even more proud to see how #EdcampFSUSD which began as merely an idea about only a short month ago has now blossomed into a full fledged REALITY. There is now a Twitter account, a website, a Google folder with many docs,  a multi-member planning team, hundreds of amazing donations flooding in, a date and a location!!

The reason I am so pumped and excited about #EdcampFSUSD is similar to the reasons I was so excited several years ago when I was principal at Crystal Middle School and we were planning our first Innovation Day. There is something so exhilarating to see an idea germinate, then how it grows with input and creativity from others, and it then begins to take on a momentous life of its own. I am so appreciative of the educators that are taking part in planning #EdcampFSUSD. They aren't planning because they will get paid or for kudos. They are part of the team because they are passionate, eager, creative, innovative PIONEERS. They are willing to take on something BIG because of the potential that it can have!! A HUGE shout out to the #EdcampFSUSD planning team. They are: Colleen Hutchinson, David Avery, Allison Klein, Gayle Horsma, Andy Meyers, Shareen Choy, Stephanie Budenthal, Meghan Cannon, Steve Trotter, and Jeff Kubiak.

I am currently reading "Lead Like a Pirate" and I was able to make some good connections with the text while on the drive up to see the in-laws for Easter. The one takeaway that has been at the forefront of my mind since Sunday is the idea of prioritizing our work. Thinking about our weekly tasks and determining of those tasks how many are really having a major impact on student achievement.

I have begun to wonder what are the priorities I am focusing on in my blogs and in my weekly newsletters? Are they the same? Do I send similar or conflicting messages? I have put myself to a test. I decided to copy and paste the last three blog posts into a Wordle and the last three newsletters into a Wordle to see what key words/phrases rise to the top. Here are the results.  There are some similarities, but not enough for it to be a clear, consistent message. There is work to be done.

My blog Wordle:

My newsletter Wordle: 

Now my next task is to evaluate my calendar and cross reference that with what my true priorities are that I want to see happening to have the largest impact on student achievement. I may need to shift and reprioritize. It is always good to reflect and refocus. It is so important to always keep the Goal in mind: Student Success!!! 

Continue to be innovativecreative, and a model of excellence!!

My Family: My motivation to be the BEST that I can be. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

This is what it's all about!!!!!

What an AMAZING day!! Today was a day for the record books!! It has left me feeling  #Proud #Energized #Motivated and #Encouraged. I am PROUD to be working with #innovative, #motivating, and #strong educators. I am ENERGIZED by the positive activities that are happening with students and staff. I am MOTIVATED to employ new strategies to "lead like a pirate." I am ENCOURAGED that the efforts that so many people are putting in day in and day out are starting to pay off.

My day began at Armijo High School where a team from the County Office of Education had begun their visitation to analyze the contents of their Gold Ribbon application. The County Office has the task of determining if the practices highlighted and outlined in the application are in fact taking place at the site. The time I spent there in the morning definitely showed that the Collaborative Coaching Process they highlighted is not only in effect on the campus, but is proactively changing the culture. Teachers shared how they are supporting one another and feeling safe to take risks with new ideas. The team spent the day visiting classrooms and speaking to staff, students, and parents. At the afternoon share out the County team shared that they were happy to announce they were giving their stamp of approval to send the application to the state level. They commented that they were so impressed with what they saw on the campus and what they gained from speaking with the students. It is a telling moment when senior students are able to verbalize that they are aware of the differences in how their teachers are teaching now compared to when they were freshman and sophomores. The students shared they are engaged much more in class since their teachers are having them talk instead of the teacher just talking, and they appreciate that their teachers are learning and trying new ways of teaching. Armijo's Collaborative Coaching Process was referred to as "exemplary."

My next stop was at the PSA where they are in day three of a four day WASC visit. I participated in a similar process as earlier in the morning, but this time the WASC visiting committee is working on validating the items described and outlined in the school's WASC report. The visiting committee will have their findings shared out tomorrow afternoon. The feedback so far is that they have seen a plethora of evidence to support what is written in the WASC report. The committee members we spoke to were thoroughly impressed with the structure, culture, and collaboration occurring at the PSA. They commented that this is the first time they have a seen a school that is a public school employing such a unique structure. I am confident that the share out tomorrow afternoon will be very, very positive. I must also add that the PSA had a Gold Ribbon site validation last week and the County is moving the PSA application to the state level!

Midway through the day I was humbled as a I partook in the ceremony at Matt Garcia Career and College Academy. Today is Victim's Memorial Day which is part of Crime Victim's Rights Week. The Matt Garcia Foundation in collaboration with the District Attorney's office, City Council, Fairfield PD, Solano County Sheriff, and many other community groups unveiled a statue and provided words of wisdom to the youth of our community. The ceremony bells were symbolic of #resilience, #strength, and #justice.

While I was at these three sites, there was so much going on at all of our other campuses across the district. I am so happy I get a glimpse through my "window" of Twitter without even being there. Over at Cordelia Hills, Principal Trotter was infusing innovation at his staff meeting by incorporating Flipgrid into collaborative conversations. Across town at Fairfield High, Assistant Principal Balthazor was infusing innovation at her staff meeting by incorporating Breakout Edu with the staff. These site admin are taking risks and modeling engagement they want to see in their classrooms.

This was a GREAT day in FSUSD. I am super excited to close out my night by starting to read my newest book, "Lead Like a Pirate." Tomorrow I will be part of a group of admin and teachers that will begin planning the VERY FIRST #Edcamp for FSUSD!

Continue to be innovativecreative, and a model of excellence!!