Principals Unite! Resources for SWMAESP

For those of us who are proud to call ourselves Principals we are very familiar with assemblies. You know the kind.....LOUD! The kind where we give recognition, high fives, awards, and celebrate success.

Well there is a special kind of "assembly" going on right now and it is of the heavenly kind. There are 20 little angels receiving their wings this weekend. Unfortunately their parents aren't able to be at this very special assembly. (We elementary people are good at inviting everyone to everything) but.....The Lord sent the very best in their place. He sent the principal and best teachers because they know how to have an assembly!

Doesn't that paint a better picture than the 24/7 media coverage of complete inconsistencies? The reason I am able to look at this through the lens of faith might be that I just finished reading Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. After this weekend's events I highly recommend the book. Like read it! I am serious. It paints a beautiful picture of Heaven.

Words are not coming for me so I am borrowing the words from my other Principal friends. Many of you can speak much more eloquently than I can. Just like teachers are always borrowing ideas, I hope you all don't mind that we share each others strength and wisdom.

Below is a link to a public Google document.(If your district blocs Google I am sorry.) I have copy and pasted various blog posts from today that might contain wording that could be used to send a memo to a school community. It has been good to have the weekend to try to respond to this. If I had to respond overnight I don't know that I could even compose a readable or sensible document.

Hopefully we can all string together some of the words found here and sensibly communicate with our school communities.

Peace and strength be with you this week as you take back your school! And may God be with the families whose children did not come home from school Dec. 14th.

CT Tragedy Resources for Principals   <--click click--="click--" here="here">

Credit given to:
Joe Mazza
Scot Graden
Peter DeWitt
Angela Maiers

Faculty Meeting/PD Exit Ticket Idea

Our staff has been using the strategy of "exit tickets" for a couple years now. It was a strategy we were mostly implementing in our special area classes, Art, Music, P.E., Library, and Computer. It was our way of making sure students were getting as much writing processing as possible.

I usually remember exit tickets after-the-fact and don't have them ready for the meetings but I do try. This week I was ready! I found this idea on Pinterest but it was not linked to a blog to share. When clicked on in Pinterest it was just a photo. So if you are reading this and recognize this please take credit in the comment area and I will make sure you are credited.

Back story: Our Leadership Team has been trained in the Adaptive Schools practices. During this meeting we covered the 7 Norms of Collaboration:
  1. Pausing
  2. Paraphrasing
  3. Posing Questions
  4. Putting ideas on the table
  5. Providing Data
  6. Paying attention to self and others
  7. Presuming Positive Intentions

Principal's Photo Workflow

Recently I have been listening to the Mac Power Users podcast on the 5by5 network. I came across this podcast after reading the iBook Paperless by David Sparks who blogs at MacSparky. It is a great book, by the way, and has screencasts and lots of photos and uses iBooks author to the best of its ability.

David and Katie have guests on to talk about their different workflows:
After listening to the photo workflow episode I thought it might be helpful if schools/principals shared their photo workflows. I wish I could say I have perfected this and have just the best way to organize and publish photos for my school...... but I would be lying. It's still a work in progress just like all my other brilliant ideas:)

Tools:
  • iPhone5 - Yes that's right I am the proud owner of the 5 and I switched from AT&T to Verizon. I can't tell if I am happier about the phone or the service? Both have been great!
  • Epson Stylus NX625 printer - nothing special about this printer. I think I originally got it because I was supposed to be able to print to it wirelessly. It was such an ordeal I just forgot about that.
  • MacBook Air 11" - This is my "go to" computer. Hardly use my iPad. Shocking I know.
  • Photo stream - Everything I take with my phone will eventually show up on my Air. I still find it easier and quicker to post and compost on my Air than my phone or iPad.
Apps:
A bird flew in my house last night! That was fun.

Workflow:
  1. Take all pictures with iPhone5. This is with me all the time. I can take pictures of everything with it. My goal is just to get pictures out to my school community as often and quickly as possible.
  2. Add drawings or text to pictures if needed with Skitch. If I can't get the picture uploaded right away I will work on it on my phone at night while I am putting my kids to bed.
  3. Use an App to upload the pictures to my school website, staff website, and/or school facebook page. 
So I am probably forgetting something but here it is. How do you manage your photos for school?

rebootED Podcast in Google Hangout

Last Sunday I had the privilege of recording and episode of rebootED with Andrew Schwab and Mike Vollmert. I have chatted with Andrew on his 1st podcast Small School Big Tech but it was my first recording with Mike. It was also my fist recording in a Google Hangout! That was pretty cool!

Check it out below as we talk about a few of the differences between K-8 and 9-12.....

Staff Holiday Ideas

Yesterday our SWMAESP Sub D Principals group met for our quarterly meeting. We shared ideas for staff holiday gifts so I thought I would share in case you are still looking for ideas.

  • Scarves with district logo
  • Lottery tickets
  • Movie tickets to the dollar movie theater
  • T-shirts/sweatshirts with logos
  • Grade level progressive dinners
  • Principal cooks breakfast for teachers
  • Secret santas
  • Hoop-lalala Spirit wear week
  • Grade levels given $200 to adopt a family to buy for
  • District purchased hams and turkeys 
  • District purchased gift cards
  • Lanyards with names and logos
Funding varied by principal. Pop machine fund, social committee funds, PTO purchased, district purchased. One principal mentioned shopping the day after Christmas for sale items to give the next year at Christmas time.

Usually I post a picture of my holiday gift AFTER the break. Some of my teachers read my blog:) So it's hard to keep secrets from them when it comes to gifts.

MAESP Survey Results

In addition to using this blog as a personal/professional space for my ramblings about the Principal-ship, I put information here that I want to link back to or find again someday.

Here are the results to the survey regarding our MAESP State Conference.


Why Blogging is SO Helpful!

Earlier this week I posted about my struggles keeping up with newsletters, Facebook, school website, etc. You really need to read the comments under that post. Super ideas for newsletters or no newsletters, or paper only, or copies in the office and so on.

This month's newsletter was already in production so I didn't get to add all the new ideas. I did add a "Counselor's Corner" and "Gym-NEWS-ium." Thought I would share:

Click here for newsletter if using iOS device. (Embedded Box.net files won't show up on your iPhone.)