Monday, February 29, 2016

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Make it Count Challenge

Although the challenge was handed to me a while ago, I'm finally sitting down to write. This challenge began in #principalsinaction Voxer group that I listen to daily (Well, I try! It's more like a couple of times a week).  The group consistently inspires me, challenges me,  and helps me grow. Thank you to my #savmp mentor @PrincipalGarden who encouraged me to take this challenge on and reflect. Thank you to all I have connected with this year and made year two better than year one! I've loved expanding my PLN this year and learning with all of you!

1. What has been ONE of your biggest struggles this school year? 

One? I sometimes feel like an entire week is a struggle so it's hard to just pick one thing. Since I have to, I'll choose staff meetings. I want my staff meetings to be professional development for my teachers; something they are learning or something they can replicate and bring back to their classrooms. I have the best intention to always make them this way but then I feel like things get in the way: information to discuss about upcoming events, district requirements, technology issues, state testing...you get the point. I always try to put whatever I can in my blog post to my staff, but some things end up at a meeting. 

2. Share TWO accomplishments that you are proud of this year. 

Before school began this year I made a personal goal to get connected with other administrators. Through Voxer and Twitter I have been able to do just that. I have multiple groups I connect with throughout the week that motivate, inspire, and support me. I've grown this year because of them! 

Another thing, thanks to #principalsinaction, is I've started positive calls home. As a teacher I made it a point to call and email home for good things all the time. It was something that was enjoyed by everyone and helped build relationships. As a principal I never really thought of doing it and even when I first heard of others doing it, I pushed it off because I thought I was too busy. My thoughts changed and I made time for the calls. They were such a highlight to my day, not to mention for the parents and students too! :) I'll definitely be continuing them. 

3. What are THREE things you wish to accomplish by the end of the school year? 

One thing I wish to accomplish by the end of the year is to remain balanced through the craziness of the spring. I have worked this year on balancing work and other parts of my life. Although it's a constant struggle, I'm doing better than last year. I remember the crazy, stressful time of spring last year and I want to remain balanced and not let it overcome me. With my Work.Life.Balance group as one of my supports, I think I can do it! 

Another thing I'd like to accomplish is to refocus our staff on the purpose and power of professional learning communities at our site. With the shift to common core, a couple years without new curriculum, and now newly adopted curriculum, our focus has shifted and time is spent trying to stay afloat. I want to focus on looking at student learning and instruction. 

My third thing I'd like to accomplish is to be present more in classrooms. Although I get in classrooms every week, the time seems to decrease as the meetings pile up. I want to be in classrooms to connect with kids and provide feedback and support to teachers. I'm often popping in and out of classrooms, but I want to make sure I'm providing effective feedback in order to support instruction and provide the best opportunities for students. I want to connect with kids on a daily basis. 

4. Give FOUR reasons why you remain in education in today's rough culture. 

#1 The kids - I love seeing their smiles, their accomplishments, their growth, and supporting them in their time of need. On a difficult day all I need to do is go into a classroom or out on the playground to join in on a game and my day is changed. 

#2 The teachers - they need someone who is willing to support them and their students as they work to provide the best opportunities for them. 

#3 I get to make a difference. Every day I get the opportunity to have a positive impact in the lives of so many people. 

#4 What else would I do? I can't imagine doing anything else. Every day is a new day and not one day is the same as another. I get to continue learning alongside other educators near and far. 
(My quote I love from @DrShannonbray, "I don't HAVE to be a principal, I GET to be a principal!")

5. Which FIVE people do you hope will take the challenge of answering these questions? 

I won't call anyone out specifically, but I'd love for the teachers at our site to take on the challenge. It doesn't even need to be in the form of a blog, just a Google Doc to share with others as a chance to reflect and inspire. 

Any principal from #principalsinaction that hasn't done it yet. Brandon?  Adam? :)

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