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Posted by on in Education Leadership

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It’s been very busy on my end over the past month. I released my second podcast, published my first flash-read on Amazon, and have crisscrossed the country. Despite all of the good stuff, those who aren’t fans of mine capitalized on some mistakes that were made under my watch.

As a superintendent, the buck stops with me.  I am responsible for everything that happens under the time I am there. I’m also responsible for giving and getting the best possible education for students. I’m not perfect, and I will never pretend to be, but I will say there is truth in that the higher you climb up the leadership ladder, the bigger target you become.

With being so busy, I hired a media group to take care of my social media and my online presence. I was online from time to time, but I also have twins that just turned two and am making presentations all over the country, so I didn’t bother with it.  What could go wrong, right (note –  sarcasm)? Well…for me, all of it.  In talking about some future projects, the person took that information and misrepresented me online. Not cool at all. It eventually turned into a local news story, and before I knew it, I had to start playing defense.  I looked like a fool. Had I not corrected any of it, who knows what this would have become?

I fired the company and hired a new firm to handle this. They did, and we move on, right?

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

“Life begins at the end ofyour comfort zone.”

– Neale Donald Walsch 

change management1

My work as a school leader brings me to change management often. From graduate school, to post doctoral leadership programs I have received a great deal of information about change management. Often I use a graphic from the Satir Model of change to illustrate the processes related to the systems view of change.

In this model shown in the blog image above, change is indicated as the “foreign element” introduced into the system. Following this change or foreign element, there is chaos in the system.

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Posted by on in Professional Development

Does your doctor use leeches? Does your dentist use doorknobs and string? Of course not. If we want medical professionals using contemporary practices, shouldn't we expect the same from other professions, especially teachers? The best way to stay current is to be a connected educator. Being a connected educator means using social media to improve your practice and help other teachers improve theirs. Here's how to do it.

First and Foremost - Twitter

Twitter is the main event for connected educators. It's where we live. It can be overwhelming. Start small and start learning from others. Create your account. When choosing a handle, your name is best. If you can't get that, pick something simple and avoid numbers - they're out of style in Twitter handles. Use a picture of your face and write a bio that includes what you do. Profiles with Twitter eggs for pictures and no bios are not taken seriously. Start off by following a few education Tweeters to start learning.

EdWords bloggers who tweet include Ross Cooper, Oskar Cymerman, Neil Gupta, Jon Harper, Rae Pica, Debra Pierce, Sean A Thom, Julia G Thompson, and Rita Wirtz.

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Posted by on in Differentiated Instruction

RIGOR

Do we all define rigor the same way?

With rigor being one of the biggest buzz words in education right now, teachers and administrators have to make sure we are all on the same page regarding what we believe it means.  Like many concepts in education, rigor is a word, heard often, but never really explained. It's an expectation, an outcome, a belief - one never normed or calibrated, just expected and understood.

Like with many concepts where meaning is assumed, there seems to be a miscommunication that few are willing to address; we just "assume" we are all talking about the same thing and go about our own definitions in our own spaces, sadly in isolation.

When we use big terms like "rigor" or "learning" or "mastery", seldom do we talk about what it actually looks like and how we can achieve it. "Engagement" seems to come up often when discussing any of the above as one of the measureable factors to ensure they are happening, but that too is extremely subjective.

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Tagged in: Learning Rigor Twitter

Posted by on in General

DevenBlackWide

I really can’t say that I knew Deven Black all that well. Because I’d learned he was a thoughtful and well-known educator, I had called upon him to be a commentator for a couple of shows on BAM Radio Network. He happily accepted my invitation. When I asked what topics he would most like to address, he listed: Getting rid of school beyond 8th grade. Not testing kids to the point where we drive out their curiosity, creativity, and passion. Focusing on the individual child. Things in school currently set up around benefits to the system. He told me he was opinionated and not afraid to speak his mind. My kind of guy.

My next encounter with Deven was at the first Bammy Awards celebration. I recall him standing on the stage, clutching his trophy, which he’d received for his work as a school librarian, and expressing puzzlement that he should be the one to get it. His confusion Deven Bammywas genuine. But I knew he was honored when, soon after, he posted to his social media accounts a photo of himself holding that trophy.

Unfortunately, the next photos I remember seeing were not nearly as pleasant. He’d fallen and broken his neck and was documenting the story, along with his eventual healing process. His attitude was amazingly philosophical and good-humored. Many of his Facebook friends, myself included, expressed their sympathy and encouragement.

He was still wearing his neck brace when I saw him at the next Bammy Awards ceremony. Again, he was good-humored about his situation. In fact, he was attending expressly because he wanted to be of help. In an earlier communication he had said to me, “How could I not be at the Bammys?” I was delighted that he felt that way.

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