Posted in Analogies/Metaphors, Servant Leadership

Ours, not Mine: The importance of shared decision-making

I originally wrote this reflection as part of an assignment for my Virginia Tech Government and Policy in Education class a few weeks ago. Recent decision-making regarding changes at the national level has provided excellent reflection on the skills and processes that leaders need in order to have successful and positive change. Continue reading “Ours, not Mine: The importance of shared decision-making”

Posted in Feelings Matter, Inclusive Practices, Instructional Tips

Good evening! How may we serve you at the Decimal Diner?

Education does not have to be miserable. All of those things we complain about in the great system of education can be improved. It starts with us. With our thinking, planning, and effort. Recently, two or our 4th grade teachers, Mrs. Clevenger and Mrs. Milleson took basic math decimals practice to a new level of engagement, fun, and efficiency. They called it the Decimal Diner.  Continue reading “Good evening! How may we serve you at the Decimal Diner?”

Posted in Inclusive Practices, Instructional Tips, Media, Student Leaders, Technology

What, Why, & How of Instructional Technology: Our School’s Story

Using new technology just because it looks cool or because it makes you feel innovative is not enough. Culture, instruction, and the needs of students come first, technology comes after. At Ashland Elementary, we have worked tirelessly to research and try new technologies but to also quickly re-assess usage for students. I talk every day with my superstar Instructional Technology Coach Mr. Benware and the rest of our staff about what is best for students and teachers. Many times we discuss what we will not do along with what we will do next.

Our educational philosophies drive our implementation of technology.

  • We believe in our shared school vision of Kind, Creative, Hard-working, Safe, and Fun.
  • We believe that ALL students should have access and learn through the best technology available and that it shouldn’t be dependent on if we feel like doing it or not.
  • We believe that technology should give students a voice and build confidence.
  • We believe that students and teachers should be supported emotionally and physically when taking risks and being innovative.
  • We believe in our school motto of Together We Soar Higher and that we all have a role in sharing our school’s story and best practices.
  • We believe in using video for motivation, fun, and creating special moments.
  • We believe that instruction and content should drive implementation.

Because of the hard work of our school team, our students are performing higher than they ever have (state performance results above 90%) and our student engagement and leadership is better than it ever. This post is a summary of the many ways we implement these tools at Ashland. I hope this shows the great efforts put in by our staff and the positive effects those efforts have on our students! Maybe you will find a new strategy to take back to your school! Continue reading “What, Why, & How of Instructional Technology: Our School’s Story”

Posted in Analogies/Metaphors, Guest Posts, Media, Servant Leadership

Lone Nut or First Follower: Building a Culture That Celebrates Uniqueness #WEIRDPRINCIPALS

The #WeirdPrincipals effort is all about energy and starting movements that inspire others. Similar to #PrincipalsInAction and #KidsDeserveIt, we seek to unleash leadership potential by inspiring others to be themselves, do their very best, and run into school to make magic happen every day! @_AndyJacks and @JessicaCabeen wrote this together to show how two principals from very different parts of our country can both lead through their own unique personalities, and that you don’t have to be perfect or always follow what the ‘textbook’ tells you to do in order to be successful. What better way to describe this than the Ted Talk on How to Start a Movement by Derek Sivers. But remember, it’s not just about being the lone nut, it’s also about being the first follower… Continue reading “Lone Nut or First Follower: Building a Culture That Celebrates Uniqueness #WEIRDPRINCIPALS”

Posted in #OneWord, Analogies/Metaphors, Feelings Matter, Innovative PD, Instructional Tips

How to Be Happy in Your Work

Are you happy in life? Are you happy in your job? Do you even know the things that should make you happy? As a renewal of motivation in our school, I met with all of my school teams recently to discuss this very thing. To be effective with students, I have come to realize that teachers and administrators need to be happy at school! Not giddy, but truly happy in our work. If we want our students to be happy and want to be in school, then we must make sure we are doing things that make ourselves happy and want to be in school as well! Continue reading “How to Be Happy in Your Work”

Posted in Analogies/Metaphors, Instructional Tips

Some Gifts Are Not So Obvious

Virginia Tech security just taught me a life lesson this week, but probably not the one you would expect! Continue reading “Some Gifts Are Not So Obvious”

Posted in Inclusive Practices, Instructional Tips, Media

Dyslexia is Not a Mystery

For many, dyslexia is a mysterious and strange word of a disorder that sounds like it is really difficult to support in school. The reality is much different. Parents have been bringing this concern for their child to our schools for years and finally we are addressing it in a more systematic and educated manner. Continue reading “Dyslexia is Not a Mystery”