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Posted by on in General

It seems these days, families live so far apart. I’m sure that’s the way it is for most of us. Keeping connected takes a lot more effort than it used to.  I don’t think it is just me and my loved ones.

Screen sharing is not the same as being together in real time, although it somewhat fills the gaps.

I feel like a slacker. Lately I’ve been losing things, including house keys and my wallet, twice. Moving much too fast. Not exactly self-care. I finished helping at the preschool until September and the preschool was the first graduation. We had seven of the littles graduating and what a fun, imaginative production for all the children.

It seems like I’ve been on a treadmill lately, such a busy time of year. I looked forward to going up to Beaverton to take a much needed family-filled break.

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Posted by on in UNward!

 Offended

 

 “If we can’t begin to have an honest discussion… without people taking it personally, that ‘s part of the problem…” 

 “There were some things that he talked about that were uncomfortable to me, but these are the uncomfortable conversations we need to start having now to start figuring out where we’re going…” 

“If you don’t want to have these conversations because you might be offended…”

I’m Offended

It's the title of the episode from which I pulled the statements above.

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Posted by on in General

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If you are reading this then you most likely have some form of leadership role. You may be a teacher, a principal a parent, etc. And, since you have this role, you know what it feels like to carry a load. Furthermore, I am guessing that many of you don’t just carry your own load. I imagine that many of you help to carry the loads of others.

As leaders that is what we do. We make every effort to help to lighten the loads of those around us. And we do it often and we do it well. Simon Sinek eloquently articulated this point in his book Leaders Eat Last, that great leaders do in fact eat last.

But, as my dad worded it, sometimes in life “we need to put down the umbrella” and let others carry it. Just for a while. Just long enough for us to collect ourselves. It is ok, and it is what is right, because those we lead need us at our best. My father wrote this as he was dying of cancer. He was the type of person that would never pass the umbrella, no matter the cost to himself. It is a shame that it took cancer for him to learn this important life-lesson.

Passing the umbrella will not be easy because we are accustomed to serving others before we serve ourselves. It will not be easy because much of the reason why we are good at what we do is because we hold the umbrella so firmly and so often.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

I found myself mixed with humility and joy listening to my sixteen-year old son, Keegan, as well as just observing his passionate explanation of how I don't know how to use my own camera to take pictures.  Having mastered the art of lecturing to me complete with eyes rolls and exhausted breath, he walked me through all the various settings, buttons, and dials on the camera. When did my son learn all of this?  

While I tried to act interested in all of his tips, tricks, and strategies, I waited patiently for him to finish, so I could school him a very important fact that would keep me at the top of the food chain of knowledge in the family; the fact that I bought an expensive camera with something called "Auto-Focus".  When he finished, I paused for dramatic effect before announcing my profound statement.  Getting ready to drop the mic, he quickly brought me down to Earth with his response: "Then, why would the company still keep all these features?  Sometimes, it is necessary to focus manually."

Even a year later, that experience and his response had me reflecting on its truth in settings outside of the photography world.  We tend to think about the word “Focus”, and think it should be automatic in what we do with it.  We tell ourselves we need to focus more as a New Year's Resolution, and say it when we are asked what changes we intend to make in improvement settings.  It has become such a much-needed area of work that it often gets nods of approval and the occasional "Amen" when we say it aloud.  We treat the ability to focus as something automatic, when it is something that is meant to be set manually.

In an effort to ensure you are focused, here are "Four Strategies To Manually Set Your Focus": 

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

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I became an educator because I wanted to impact the lives of students in the same ways that my teachers did for me. See, I owe so much to the educators who invested their time, care, and love in me. They saw something in me and never gave up, no matter how many reasons I gave them to do so (believe me, they had PLENTY of reasons).

What I never expected was the impact that my students would have on me as a person. Not one day has passed where I have not been in awe of at least one of my students. I have seen high levels of excellence in academics, athletics, arts, and other areas. I have witnessed students overcoming the highest odds stacked against them to overcome and be successful. I have worked with so many kids who deal with things that would make the average person crumble into pieces.

To say that my students inspire me on a daily basis is an understatement. They reinforce my why for being an educator every single day. They challenge me to be the absolute best that I can. They are the reason I decided to move into the realm of politics. They have unknowingly become my motivation and are the inspiration behind the Our Future First movement.

Over the years, we have been through a lot. I remember an 8th grade class being very upset about remarks that their building principal made during an awards assembly. When they came back to our room, they suggested writing a letter and having the entire 8th grade sign it. They dictated the letter to me as I typed it for them. They distributed it to their peers and explained the cause. They presented it to the their principal. This was all them, with some positive encouragement from me to do what they thought was right and just.

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