Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The #cddolpins presented our school at the Colonial School District board meeting.  There were not many in the crowd and I actually had to ask for applause at the end, which is kind of funny in its own right.  But it is a board meeting not a rock concert.  Although if board meetings were set up like rock concerts you may have to charge for admission, that might be a later blog post!

The board meeting was another exercise in our school community coming together and sharing "Our Vision" and "Our Mission" as a school.  Our audience was the School Board, but the exercise in itself was so much more important.  The slides and words were shared with staff two weeks in advance and feedback was welcomed from all.  There was not a lot of feedback, but hopefully most people read the words of the presentation or watched the accompanying videos.

We have achieved so much in such a short period of time and could not be any more excited and humbled to be the principal of such a great school.  When knowing a script had to be generated for the meeting, I took on this job, as it is my responsibility, but I feel any #cddolphins could have written words that would have encompassed our passion for education, community, and Our Kids.  The presentation was a team effort, even a great father helped with one of the slides.

I hope that those that heard our words and were present at the meeting left with the feeling of Awe. We are a group of very different people (Bad News Bears  maybe...) that still have a focused idea of what we want our school to represent.  I think after tonight, there is no question what we want to represent.  

Many people this year have asked me, "How do you build a school community?"  I personally don't know the answer to that question.  I know the steps that we have taken, but don't know if that would work for everyone.  We are unique, as every school has their own DNA. 

Many would say, "keep it all about the kids."  To me that is too vague and at this point should be implied.  "What's best for kids," is certainly an important ideal, but the definition can vary so greatly from thinking strict rules are important, to a more progressive approach.  In each staff member's head, "what's best for kids" is different.  So I don't like that saying.  Besides kids are so unique in their needs that you are constantly playing a game of darts.

I like to pick ideals or words to concentrate on.  We agreed on TEC# as our brand based on lots of conversation. The acronym was developed by one of our staff members Stuart Wilkie, who has a crazy creative side to him.  Technology, Empowerment, Community, #cddolphins. 
Those are tangible things that have definite definitions.  If done properly would definitely benefit all OUR KIDS.  

Our vision about being 21st century risk takers, which is a little longer, encompasses what we strive for every day.  As the principal, I get absolutely jazzed up to be able to walk around and take pictures and enjoy in the learning of OUR KIDS.  The only better job than mine is to be a teacher, where you get to see all the "aha" moments and laugh with OUR KIDS all day long. 

Here is the TEC# video combined from the board meeting

So if you want a playbook (for schools) here it is:

Tangible Action Steps for teachers to connect:
  1. Love your kids/students! I mean like you think about them and worry about them 24/7. Like you wonder if they went to dad's or mom's over the weekend to be prepared on Monday kind of thinking... You got me on that one? If not talk to your kids and parents!  
  2. Notice things about your kids/students, like being tired, angry, upset, etc. and react immediately with some physical contact and with a "I notice" comment.  Not "I like comment."
Tangible Action Steps for teachers to plan:
  1. Walk around thinking, "how could I incorporate that 'real world' experience in my lesson plan?"
  2. Think where you want them to get to and how can you challenge them in thinking to get there.  I know this sounds overly reflective, but what is standard? and how can you challenge their level of thinking to show mastery? 
  3. Model risk taking.
  4. Highs and Lows are expected when you have passion, OWN IT! and then figure out how to recover quickly.
  5. Laugh, Laugh, Laugh!
Tangible Action Steps for Principals:

  1. Model risk taking, own your mistakes and apologize for them. 
  2. Force yourself in rooms of teachers that are trying things for the first time.
  3. Promote your vision/brand constantly, NEVER deviate from that! Don't switch course 6 months in.
  4. Laugh, Laugh, Laugh!
  5. Highs and Lows are expected when you have passion, OWN IT! and then figure out how to recover quickly.
  6. Be there for THEM and that means your kids you think about constantly, but also your staff you think about constantly.
  7. Be available, Text, Voxer, Twitter, Google Hangout, Google+, Email, mailbox notes, drop-ins, phone calls, etc.  You get the idea. 
  8. When you sign on to be a principal you sign on to being responsible for a second family.  Embrace it.  I love my second family, they have issues at times! HAHA, but we all do, we are family.  We fight, hate each other at times, and all that, but try to create that comfort zone.  Hopefully, even mistakes and bad decisions can be resolved.  You need a, "nothing we can't get past mentality."
This blog got away from me, but I don't care, because the #cddolphins are the only ones that will hopefully understand my random thoughts and therefore the only ones within our our school DNA that matter.  Not changing the world, but our model will show you how you could!  Just saying....



  1. I loved it! THAT is the #cddolphins!

  2. Sorry I couldn't make it last night, but I am proud to be part of a school where the feeling of community is so strong.

    1. Thanks Rebecca, I feel it as well. It is a special place.

  3. I think I am the newest Dolphin, but I can say that I feel like this school really cares about the students/staff and we are bringing the focus back to what is important! :) I know I was proud to be part of this team Tuesday night and everyone did a great job speaking and representing the values of CD!