Enjoy this very short video that perfectly captures how tired we all are!
It's been an amazing year. We all worked so hard for kids each and every day! Thank you for all that you've done this year.
Enjoy this very short video that perfectly captures how tired we all are!
Here is your staff update for May 26th!
Throughout this school year, we’ve been on a journey to ELITE. We strive to be ELITE everyday. Sometimes we don’t win the moment, but we shake it off and try to win the next and then the next. In his book, Make Your Mark, Coyte Cooper writes about the power of not letting the day of the week dictate your pace. Cooper explains that “high performers who are passionate about their vision never allow the day of the week dictate what they are able to accomplish”. (pg. 267)
As I reflect on Cooper’s words it makes me think about the importance of these last days of the school year. If we’re truly on a journey to ELITE, we won’t let the time of the year or the day of the week dictate our pace. We will make the most of each moment we have together. We will ensure that our purpose and intention remains high for each moment we are with our students.
At this time of the year it’s easy to hold back, slack off a little and let our guard down. But, where does that get us? Is this really who we are and who we want to be?
There are five days left.
Five more days to impact students.
Five more days to positively interact with staff members, parents and children.
Five more days to grow and step out of your comfort zone.
How are you going to spend these days? Will you spend them counting down the days until summer or will you continue your journey to ELITE? Will you let the time of the year or the day of the week dictate your pace? You’ve been given the gift of each day, so why waste it?
Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I shall be remembered. –Dr. Seuss
Here is your staff update for May 19th.
I recently finished Dr. Coyte Cooper’s book Make Your Mark. I’ve never read a book that caused me to reflect more on my own choices, my own thoughts and my own goals and dreams. I’ve also never read a book that motivated me more to take steps to improve my life.
Over the past few weeks, I was lucky enough to get to work with Coyte to plan the discussion questions for #ohedchat on Twitter. As I poured back over my notes and favorite quotes from the book to prepare, I was reminded that living your best life is something that everyone hopes for, but it’s rarely something that we take intentional steps to do. A great life doesn’t happen by chance.
This week I hope that you take the time to read the quotes that Coyte and I chose as our favorites. Reflect on the questions and think about what steps you can take to live your best life.
“If you allow not knowing to stop you, then you have no chance of ever achieving extraordinary things that impact the world.”
In what ways have you allowed uncertainty to stop you in the past? How will you change this moving forward?
“The reality is that if you start small, you are probably going to go small. People’s failure to think big enough usually means they will never act big enough…”
What big ideas do you have? Share them. Are you ready to think big?
“When something is important to you, it will show in the amount of energy you put towards making it remarkable.”
What specific things (2-3) are you committed to making truly remarkable in your life moving forward?
“Double your rate of failure…you can be discouraged from failure or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes.”
What are some of the best mistakes that you’ve made and what have you learned from them?
“When we spend all our time pleasing others, we rob ourselves of the ability to live our best life & end up feeling unsatisfied.”
How can always striving to please others have a negative impact on your life?
“You don’t have to be great to started, but you have to get started to be great.”
What is one thing that you can take action on today that will help you build the momentum you need to live your best life?
“It makes sense to create a vision board that include pictures, quotes and words that capture your dreams effectively.”
What pictures, quotes, words are on your vision board?
“Today I shall behave as if this is the day I want to be remembered.” –Dr. Seuss
How do you want to be remembered?
On our journey to ELITE we must take time to focus on ourselves, our growth and our goals. We must move through each day with intention and purpose as we strive to live our best life.
MAKE TODAY YOUR BEST DAY!
Here is your staff update for May 12th.
The school year is winding down and will soon be a memory. As educators we have a unique opportunity to positively (or negatively) impact the lives of hundreds, and for some of us thousands, of students over the course of our careers. We have the privilege of getting to be part of their story. This privilege cannot be taken lightly.
The funny thing about our moments is that we often don’t recognize the life changing or life shaping ones until they’ve passed. Our moments with our students are running short and will soon become memories. We only have a few more days to make a difference. Let’s make the best of the time we have left with our students, because it’s likely that we will be a part of the memories that they will carry with them for a lifetime.
Here is your staff update for May 5, 2017.
What do you do when things don’t go your way?
Do you blame others? Do you complain? Do you defend your actions?
This time of year in education is always a time of change. The addition and subtraction of sections at certain grade levels; teachers retiring or moving to new positions; and course offerings changing usually create feelings of discomfort. Sometimes the changes that we are faced with are not ones we wanted or planned for. And, let’s be honest, teachers love a good plan. Often, when that plan doesn’t go our way, we don’t like it.
I’m guilty of not liking certain changes. No matter how much I push myself to think differently, embrace the journey and dream big; sometimes when change doesn’t go my way, I get upset. But, just like you, I have a choice. Will I stomp my foot and throw a little fit…sometimes I will. (I’m not proud of it.) But, will I allow myself to hold on to those feelings and continue to blame, complain and defend? Absolutely not.
This week it may be true that I didn’t get my way. And, maybe, just maybe, I let myself fall below the line while I spent a few minutes (okay longer than that) on autopilot as I complained. But, I had to press pause and snap myself out of it. So, after I got my complaining out of my system, I decided to look at my new situation as a learning experience, an opportunity, a new challenge that would help me learn and grow. It’s not easy to keep this positive mindset. But, I know that I control the story I tell myself. I’m not going to live with a victim mentality. I’m going to embrace my challenges. I’m going to pick myself up and continue on the journey to ELITE.
What will you do when you are challenged? What will you do when things don’t go your way?
Here is your staff update for April 28th.
When I was a little girl I was often referred to as “bossy”. I wanted things my way. I was assertive. I enjoyed having a plan and insisted that everyone followed it. I wanted to give orders using my microphone.
As I grew up, I started to feel really bad about being called “bossy”. And, in elementary school I became very quiet, shy and unsure of myself. (Those of you who know me now are most certainly surprised to hear of this shy phase.) Looking back now, I know that being referred to as “bossy” made me feel unsure of myself. I didn’t want to be a “boss”. And, I certainly didn’t want to be called “bossy,” but deep within me was a desire to be a leader.
Me, circa 1983.
My first microphone.
It wasn’t until high school that the leader in me began to be cultivated. It happened naturally as I played sports and was part of various organizations and teams. But, even as I began to embrace my desire to lead, I still felt like a “boss” and I really didn’t like that. As I continued through college and then on to my teaching career I began to study the leaders around me. I learned lesson from them. Surprisingly, some of the most important lessons I learned came from the least effective leaders. I learned what leadership wasn’t. Only then, could I really begin to hone my own leadership skills. A few years into my teaching career, I was blessed to work with many inspirational leaders in Hilliard City School. These leaders helped me reflect on my skills, gave me constructive feedback and most importantly believed that I could be an inspirational leader.
A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to lead an entire school! I didn’t think I was ready and it turns out we’re never really ready. I’m so glad that I accepted the challenge. It turns out that the best way to learn about leadership is to be one.
While, my journey to ELITE continues and my journey through leadership continues; I feel like I’m ready to share what leadership has taught me in hopes that all of the leaders who read this will share their leadership lessons with me:
What would you add to the list? I’d love to hear your leadership lessons.
Here is your staff update for April 21st.
Have you ever bought something and then been told by the cashier that you’ve been selected to complete a survey about your customer service experience? I get these surveys on the bottoms of my receipts all the time. Though I rarely, if ever, complete them.
Two weeks ago I purchased a new car. After spending what seemed like a lifetime at the car dealership negotiating a price that I hoped was reasonable, I was finally ready to sign mountains of paperwork. My salesman, Rick, shook my hand and said “It was great working with you today, in a few days you’ll get a survey and we ask that you answer each question by saying you’re completely satisfied.” I smiled and said, “Oh, okay.” Rick walked away to tell the finance department that I was ready to sign more paperwork. As I waited I couldn’t help by replay his words in my mind. “Answer each question saying you’re completely satisfied?” I was shocked, why would anyone ever tell someone what to mark on a survey?
Soon I walked into the next office to sign more papers. There, I was offered all kinds of extra insurance and warranty plans that I didn’t really need. I kindly listened to all of the sales pitches and signed papers again. When it was finally time to leave, the nice lady in this second office said, “I want to remind you that you’ll be getting a survey in a few days. Please be sure to click the box all the way to the left to indicate that you’re completely satisfied with your experience.” At this point, I had been at the car dealership for 5 hours, I wanted to ask her why she felt she needed to tell me how to rate my experience. But, instead, I said, “Okay, thank you so much for all of your help.” A few days later when I played a voice message on my phone. It was from the dealership. This time a person was calling to check to see how I was enjoying my car. At the end of the message he said, “And remember to check completely satisfied when you get the survey about your service.”
What does feedback mean to you? Sure, it’s great to receive positive feedback. But, whether the feedback we receive is positive or negative isn’t what matters. What really matters is what we do with the feedback. Do we just pretend like everyone is “completely satisfied” all the time? Or, do we accept honest feedback with an open mind and growth mindset? Do we want to grow or do we want to maintain the status quo?
Accepting feedback, especially critical feedback, isn’t always easy. When we are open to feedback we have to be prepared to make changes, do more work and accept that our ideas are not perfect. But, think about what things would be like if we simply asked everyone to tell us they were “completely satisfied”. Where would we be personally and professionally? What opportunities would we have missed?
On our journey to ELITE, feedback is crucial. We don’t ever really want to be satisfied or even “completely satisfied”. Instead we want to constantly be moving forward. As Tim Kight says, "We must strive to be better today than we were yesterday and we must be better tomorrow than we were today." The feedback we receive along the way is what will continue to propel us forward.
Here is your staff update for April 7.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn
I heard this quote for the first time a few years ago. After hearing it, I began to think about the people with whom I spend time. I reflected on how those people make me feel. I quickly recognized the people who make me a better person, teach me new things, push me to reflect, inspire me to be better and help me grow. I created a list in my head of people who help me bring up my average and also started to recognize those people who bring down my average. Most importantly, however, I reflected on myself. I started to think about whether or not my words and my actions were adding value to others? I definitely don’t want to be a person who would bring down the average of someone else!
The theory of being the average of the five people you spend the most time with directly connects to the values we embrace in our school district. In Hilliard City Schools, we are immersed in R Factor training. One of the principles of R Factor is the concept of no BCD. As we all know, BCD stands for Blame, Complain and Defend. In a recent blog post, Tim Kight explains that BCD “afflicts millions of people every day, and is often triggered by work stress.” This time of year brings about a lot of stressors-testing, end of year assessing, data team meetings, IEP meetings, moving grade levels, new initiatives, and more. So now more than ever, we need to reflect on our own mindsets, words and actions. We can all fall into the habit of BCD. BCD makes things worse. When we BCD we bring down the average of those around us. I challenge us all to think before we BCD. We control our self-talk and we control the story we tell ourselves.
As we continue on our journey to ELITE we must surround ourselves with people who raise our average. Take a moment to think about the five people who you spend the most time with at school, at home, at the gym, etc. What do these people do to your average? Are these people habitual BCDers?
Now think about yourself. Do you inspire others? What do you do when you’re stressed? Are you raising or lowering averages?
To read Tim Kight’s blog that was referenced in this post, click here.
Here is your staff update for March 31.
I always think of Spring Break as the equivalent of coming down the home stretch of the school year. Before I completely destroyed my ankles from years and years of running and never adequately healing from injuries I ran many, many races. For me, there is nothing like the feeling of coming to the last mile in a race and then the last half-mile and then finally seeing the finish line in my field of view. No matter how tired or sore I was; it seemed that when I came down the home stretch I was able to dig deep and keep running. If I dug really deep I could even feel myself speeding up and I would start passing people. I never raced because I wanted to win, in fact I knew I would never win a race; I ran because I wanted to push myself to run faster than I did during my previous races. I ran because I loved the feeling of accomplishing something that was hard. Just like the races I ran, the end of the school year is hard. It’s easy to want to slow down because we’re tired, but now is the time to dig deep, keep the end in sight and not give up.
Throughout the past week, I have had to keep myself focused, push myself forward and remind myself that I have not yet crossed the finish line. Positive self-talk always helped keep me moving forward as a runner and it has the same effect in my professional life. On many occasions this week, I found myself thinking about the answers to five questions. These questions have helped me as I have dug deep to push myself down the home stretch:
It would be easy to slow down and say, “It can wait until next year.” It’s also easy to get lost in the minutia of the school year and forget about the importance of taking time to truly connect with the students, parents and staff who are so important to me. I will continue to reflect on these questions as we move into testing season and then the final part of the home stretch, which is the month of May. I hope that we can all continue to dig deep and if we do, this just might be our best finish ever.
Here is you staff update for March 17th.
The school year is winding down. It’s March, spring break is almost here. The end of the school year is in sight. We’re looking forward to next year by submitting budgets for the 17-18 school year, looking at staffing plans for the upcoming year and thinking about summer PD. One would think that as educators we would feel like we’re almost “finished”. And, in all honesty in years past I have felt exactly this way around this time of year. But, this school year has been different. This school year has been one of transformation, change and new adventures. During this week alone, my staff and I have been interviewed by the Teachers of Critical Language Program team located in Washington, D.C. because we are semifinalists to receive a grant that would pay for an Arabic teacher to work at our school next year. We were visited by a team from Apple Education that included the Vice-President of Apple Education and Sales. On Thursday, I was part of a committee that is rewriting our language arts course of study. If that isn’t enough, my staff and I are taking another crucial step in redesigning elementary education on Friday as we work to plan ways to provide our students with experience that will help them identify and learn about their own personal passions. For some, a week like this could be stressful and overwhelming. And, while we all had a lot of work to do this week, we are feeling energized and inspired.
As I was driving back to school from my course of study committee meeting on Thursday I had an overwhelming feeling of excitement and anticipation about the future for my students and my staff. Instead of thinking about the end of the school year, I was feeling like I was just getting started. Often times as we embark on a journey we are anxious to arrive to our destination. But, for me, it’s not the destination that excites me; in fact, I don’t even know what our destination is going to be. Right now, I’m excited about the first steps, the beginning of the journey. I can’t wait to see what new risks we take and what we learn along the way.
Here is your staff update for March 10th.