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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Counselors office

Last year, I had the privilege of presenting, along with the high school principals, to the Worthington City Schools Board of Education on the “State of the High School Programs”.  We spent time framing our work to consider the whole child as well as students with different backgrounds, interests, and levels in learning.  We shared about the partnerships with various organizations which extended learning beyond the walls of the schools, as well as creating a physically and emotionally safe environment for students to learn and explore.  After the presentation, we opened the time to questions that led to a great dialogue to showcase the hard work of our staff and students.

At the conclusion of the evening presentation, I continued to reflect on a statement from a Board Member immediately after the presentation portion of the evening – “It sounds like our School Counselors are doing a lot for our students.”

As I reflected on all of the slides about our programs, everything we talked about attached to the direct or indirect work and involvement of our school counselors.  While I have an incredible respect for our school counselors and what they do each day, I realized that I neglected to recognize them overtly.  I am so glad our Board Members were able to make this great connection of the work with our students to our school counselors.

With the increased and changing requirements on graduation requirements and state Image result for school counselorstesting, I am fortunate to work with such talented and committed school counselors.  The role of the counselor has changed.  In addition to managing college essays and counseling
students, they also create and monitor programs, in social-emotional learning, new student programs, suicide prevention, career development, intervention, and family issues.  In my role as a district administrator, they are on my direct dial for many of these efforts.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

It still seems to be an accepted response continuing to receive a smile when someone makes a "drop the mic" comment in response to a profound activity, come-back, statement, or speech.  Although the phrase has recently gained popularity through its use by notable celebrities, the actual physical dropping of the mic started way back in 1980's by rappers and comedians.  

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There's got to be a high sense of accomplishment to say something so profound and definitive that it cannot be followed.  The ultimate show-stopper.  How could you not help but smile when you release the mic allowing gravity to do its thing?  There would be nothing left to do but walk off stage under the thunderous applause! 

But, what happens after the mic is dropped?

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Last year, I participated in more Twitter chats than I can count.  I co-hosted 2 Edcamps and went to a national conference.  I even traveled to Australia to present at a conference!  But, there was one professional development experience that surpassed any of those events by far; and it didn't cost me anything.  I participated in the inaugural Shadow a Student Challenge!

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In my work with design thinking, the foundational premise is based on the concept of gaining empathy to understand how best to help others and solve the right problems.  As a result, School ReTool, IDEO, Stanford's d.schools, and the Hewlett Foundation combined forces to create a movement to excite school leaders in spending a day shadowing a student to provide powerful insights and experiences in better understanding the world we are creating for our students, and how we can make it even better.

Even though we could all say we went to school when we were younger and are surrounded by students all day, shadowing a student, as a student, provides a whole different context.  It took time to blend in and remind myself of the pace of the day and true shifts in the uplifted cognitive rigor in our classrooms.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

inspire2017

It's becoming a tradition for me to begin thinking about in at the beginning of December.  As the days get closer to the end of the month, a myriad of emotions ensue ranging from hopfulness, passion, and to excitement, nevousness, and doubt.  For the past two years, I have participated in the One Word Challenge, and choosing next year's One Word hasn't been easy.  

The One Word Challenge is for leaders to identify one word they will use for the next year that helps to anchor them in stretching and reaching for something more.  At first, I thought it was a fad with people creating graphics of their word, posting them on social media for a few weeks, and then it disappearing - no different than 99% of New Year's Resolutions out there.  But, the challenge has been pivotal in my personal growth not only as a leader but a person in all areas. 

Last year, I instituted some leadership defiance and went with two words - Not Yet.  In the wake of the growth mindset craze, I wanted something to provoke me to not be comfortable and settle with my current state and limitations.  Over the course of the year, these two words stayed in my heart and on my lips when I was confronted with trials or roadblocks that did took me out of my comfort zone.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

security airport checkpoint

At least I got to enjoy the journey when I was little. The whole process was different, and it definitely helped that I could be a carefree child while my parents took care of the logistics. But now as an adult and living in a different era of safety, the thought of going to an airport gives me complete and utter stress. While I have taken it as a personal challenge to perfect my routine of getting from my car to the plane in the least amount of time, all the steps in between test my perseverance and patience (not to mention my germophobia).

First, I have to wait to catch the shuttle from the parking lot to the airport.

Then, I have the navigate around the cars and other travelers, pull my oversized luggage, and try to keep my kids close while making it to the ticket counter.

After that, I make my way to the security gate while mentally preparing to not sound nervous or guilty of anything.

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