The summer is a great time to recharge and reconnect with your priorities as an educator. I had the opportunity to do just that over the past several days at the 2017 National Principals Conference (#NPC17)! Principal Brooks didn’t share it in his video, but I was the presenter of the “jeans day & chocolate” workshop. I know how much you love that bowl, #BullockES! LOL!
While there were many fantastic moments throughout the Conference, below are some “stand out” moments and reflections. Enjoy…and don’t forget to share your thoughts via social media, email or in the comments section below!
Set some personal goals & ALWAYS plan for an “ideal” week (Danny Sunshine Bauer): It is very easy for a Principal to become consumed with others’ needs and priorities, or to get wrapped up in the day-to-day minutia without accomplishing much. Therefore, we must balance that out with what is important to us! I want to be more purposeful with my time in the fall, and am currently working on what my ideal week would look like. I will need your help…so stay tuned because I plan on sharing! Don’t worry though, there will still always be what Danny called “white space” included for those things that you just can’t predict (I had a mentor that always jokingly called it the “arsenic hour”)!
Every Principal defines their own role & priorities (Todd Nesloney): You cannot speak to the culture and instruction of your building if you are in your office all day! While we all know this is true, it is easy to get wrapped up in emails, paperwork, and emails (did I mention those emails?). I am certain that the wonderful educators I work with know my priorities, but I want to double-down and have some great new strategies to keep me engaged with our students & the community! To paraphrase Todd: The kiddos will always be in my office to celebrate, share and visit more than they will be for discipline!
Focus and get back to basics (Mike Schmoker): Mike Schmoker has always been one of my favorite educators. His texts are always pragmatic…and his presentation at the NPC this year was no different! As we know all too well, it is easy to get lost in the fog of best-practices, new initiatives/programs, technology, etc. This is why Schmoker started out by reminding us of John Hattie’s research on high impact instructional strategies (click here and here for more on Hattie’s work). During the presentation, Schmoker shared a list of buzz terms (see below), but what is it that we need more of? Before you scroll down to the second slide, make your predictions…and no cheating!
With this in mind, I have utilized Danielson’s FFT to establish 7 basic “look fors” that will allow me to provide better feedback during informal walkthroughs.
After three wonderful days of learning, have I solved all the challenges of the foreseeable future? Absolutely not! What I did achieve was the opportunity to connect with some inspirational educators, reflect and plan, and even seek out some new resources! Now, it’s time for the real work to begin!