Thursday, February 18, 2016

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Challenge

In my opinion, professional development is the single most important thing we do as educators in the field, and this year I uncovered PD that is responsible for redefining who I am as a principal: social media. Being a more connected educator through media such as Twitter and Voxer has not only given me a massive network of colleagues to reach out to, but it has pushed my thinking in ways I would have never thought possible. Because of this, a year ago I was the principal I thought I should be but now I am the principal I want to be. I consider this blog a "thank you" to all my colleagues and friends who have supported and challenged me each day to be better for kids.

I am writing this post as a response to a challenge from one of my principals in action friends, Kas, and in hopes that I can push more educators to become more connected. 

1. What has been your ONE biggest struggle during this school year?
BALANCE! Many of you know that my family recently added twin boys to our growing household. Maintaining balance in such a demanding job so that I can be a father and husband when I get home is something I am always trying to do better. There is nothing better than being a husband, father, and principal; both require me to be at my best at all times. What I am slowly learning is how to take time out of my day for myself, even if it is 15 minutes. I cannot take care of my family or the Dexter Park family if I am not taking care of myself. Isn't it funny the advice you give to others but don't follow yourself?  
2.  Share TWO accomplishments that you are proud of from this school year.
I am so proud to have re-prioritized my time this year. I have been saying since I began in the principalship that I need to get into classrooms more and working with kids and staff. Having made it a goal for 3 years without much change I think I had told myself that it was impossible with all the other duties that come with the job. Thanks to my PIA friends, who are a group of the most innovative principals I have ever known, they challenged me to do things differently. Now, I spend 3 complete days in classrooms. Since everything I do is electronic, I bring my computer with me and I am available if needed. This simple thing keeps me focused on why I do what I do: kids and teachers.

My other big accomplishment is getting more connected. As I said above, it has been an absolute game changer for me and I didn't know what I was missing until I tried it. It has also shaped how I view PD and the value of ongoing, networking between professionals. Hence why I am so passionate about the edcamp model as a mode of PD.   
3.  What are THREE things you wish to accomplish before the end of the school year?
So many things to choose but here it goes:
-I want to say that we had an awesome time at EdcampNQ and that educators can't wait until next year!
-Complete planning and application process to become the Dexter Park Innovation School for 2016-2017!!!!
-Find a way to give my educators a staff room. Every school staff needs a place to get away from their classrooms to decompress, connect with colleagues, and feel valued for their work.
4. Give FOUR reasons why you remain in education in today’s rough culture.
-Kids and families
-I love a challenge and every day in a school is just that. "If it were easy, everyone would do it."
-We change lives- how many people can say that?
5. Which FIVE people do you hope will the take the challenge of answering these questions.
-My Massachusetts principal friends: Mike Leander and Julie Vincentsen. They got me hooked on Voxer and are doing awesome things for kids in their schools.
-Roxanne Dorrie, who has a blog and has made some huge strides to become more connected through Twitter and Voxer.
-Chrislyn Doran, a 4th grade teacher who is one of many at Dexter Park who does amazing things for kids in her classroom. Frankly, I am surprised she doesn't blog but I think she should and share her work with the world. Consider yourself challenged!
-Elaine Mead, who is a MESPA colleague who has been challenged to start a blog. Could this inspire your first post, Elaine? I hope so ;)

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