Learning What To Do

I knew what to do.

As I finally stopped to sit down at my desk to reflect on what had just occurred, the words above continued to be repeated in my mind… I knew what to do, I can’t believe it- I knew what to do.

A student was brought to my office visibly upset due to an incident on the playground. At first the behavior was quiet as the student shared a few angry words about what happened. Then, without warning, unexpected behavior forced its way throughout my office as the student became physically escalated.  This usually smiley and quiet student became unreachable. Immediately, I focused on my past experiences of similar situations and the knowledge shared from our incredible school wide behavior team:

  1. Stop all noise/talking
  2. Back completely away from the behavior, reducing negative attention
  3. Allow the student to find a place within the room to cool down
  4. Know and be okay with the fact that there is more to this behavior and we are not going to solve this problem today

I am grateful for our school behavior experts! This team consists of our school psychologist, student and family advocate, counselor, social worker, mental health worker, and nurse. These highly skilled educators are leading our team to be trauma informed, empathetic and understanding of student behaviors, and to prevent negative behavior. Ultimately, this team is leading our school away from reactive band-aid solutions and towards the implementation of positive behavior interventions.

Our actions have the opportunity to demonstrate a quiet understanding, leading students to begin to trust.

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What Is Your Four Minute Mile? #L2IPA

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing-that’s why we recommend it daily. -Zig Ziglar

Are you looking for consistent inspiration?  One of my favorite motivators is to listen to podcasts.  The episodes I choose provide the foundation for deep reflection on my current leadership practices.  These moments of reflection allow me to slow down and plan for personal and professional self-improvement, facilitating a transition to committing to new ideas and positive plans.

My daily goal is to be a consistently transparent and positive leader who inspires others to perform beyond their best expectations. As we move into a new school year, the podcast 413: Hostile takeover of your mind from Ziglar’s True Performance Show inspired me to implement new ideas to make positive leadership contagious! The host of the show, Kevin Miller, (along with an excerpt from Zig) discussed the impressive first sub-four-minute mile world record set by Roger Bannister.  Before Roger broke this record, it did not seem possible that someone could run a mile under four minutes… This incredible achievement demonstrated that anything is possible!  Learning about this record and the idea of success beyond expectations, the words of my parents echoed in my heart and mind.  They told me over and over again that I could do anything I set my mind to- I believed them and I want others to own this same belief!

As educators, we are in the business of inspiring and growing positive leaders. It is our job to show our students anything is possible! At the end of this podcast, Kevin asks, “What is your four-minute mile?”  I pass this question onto educators.

  • What goal(s) do you have for yourself and for your students as leaders?
  • With rigorous curriculum and the high expectations of standard mastery, how will you lead students to believe and know they can achieve high levels of success?
  • How will you build relationships with students so they trust you and take risks with their learning?

My four-minute mile goal: Facilitating leadership that guides each one of our school team members and students to see themselves as positive leaders and high achievers.

My current podcast playlist:

Ziglar’s True Performance Show
Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast
Hack Learning Podcast
Principal Matters: The School Leader’s Podcast with William D. Parker

30 Days of Summer

Grit = Courage and resolve; strength of character.

It has been 30 days since we played Schools Out for Summer! It always amazes me how this time of year begins to zip along so quickly. As I reflect on student progress during the 2015-2016 school year, GRIT describes it. I am so proud of each one of our students and the continued effort they demonstrated to maintain a positive attitude when learning new concepts that were challenging. Our students supported each other in taking risks with their learning and applied an alternative definition to the word fail = Forever Acquiring Important Lessons.

Click here to view a short Flipagram of our school year.

In honor of our 2016 fabulous Fifth Grade Class, click here to view a short Flipagram made just for you.

Enjoy these beautiful days of summer! As I plan for the 2016-2017 school year, I look forward to seeing the smiling faces of our Hedges students in just 54 days!

 

Positive Planning

 

It is summer and our Hedges Team is still working hard! Last week, our behavior and academic teams met to reflect on school wide student behavior expectations, communication, and celebrations.The keys to success are communication, reflection, and colla-2

Click here to view on Periscope!

After discussing what we learned at the MBI/PBIS Summer Institute/ MTSS training and reflecting on the 2016-2017 school year, we split into decision-making groups and divided up revising and enhancing current expectations. It was empowering to hear teacher leaders discussing and planning how to improve our practices for our students.

We began:

  1. Updating our Behavior Expectation T-Charts by adding visuals to provide a clearer understanding for our younger students. When school begins in August, we will add photos of our current students positively modeling the expectations.
  2. A collaborative plan for our Tier 1 (all students) classroom instruction. This will enable our teachers and our behavior support team to collectively communicate school wide behavior expectations, positive friendship strategies, and maintain a framework of instruction that prevents bullying.
  3. Developing a schedule to intentionally celebrate positive behavior and academic success. We will post our celebrations on our site each month!

As we look forward to the 2016-2017 school year, our team continues to be student-centered while reflecting on continuing and implementing best practices!

Silver Success!

Positive relationships are the foundation for leading students toward academic, behavioral, and social success.

During the last three years our team has dedicated a significant amount of time and effort into implementing the MBI/PBIS (Montana Behavior Initiative/ Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) framework.  Our goals throughout this intentional endeavor have been to be proactive in meeting the needs of our students and to collectively and consistently increase positive school wide behavior. Yesterday, our team was recognized by the state of Montana as earning Silver MBI Status! It was an honor to be recognized by the Office of Public Instruction and our State Superintendent, Denise Juneau.

With the guidance of the MBI expectations, below are some of the protocols we have developed to support our school wide focus of effectively communicating, teaching, and maintaining a positive, safe, and nurturing environment.  Our team collaboration in following these protocols enables us to support our students in reaching high academic, behavioral, and social success.

School Wide Behavior Expectation Matrix

Classroom Lesson T-Charts

I Caught You Cards

Guidelines for Success, Bully Rules, Playground Expectations, and Games

Behavior Flow Chart

It was incredibly motivating to learn that over seventy schools received recognition yesterday. We are excited to implement what we learned from other schools and at the Summer Institute to continue to lead and grow in this process.

Statewide Support

The journey is the reward. – Chinese Proverb

I am grateful for the educators in Montana!  With their support, nearly 400 hundred teachers and administrators took the time to complete my online survey, while eight also participated in an additional interview protocol that was created for my dissertation research at Montana State University. As I reflect on this journey and my recent Dissertation Defense, I am humbled. When one of my committee members asked me how I felt after my research was complete, I immediately responded with positive tears. I have always respected my colleagues; however, after spending over a year investigating their knowledge about and perceptions of the formative reading assessment process, my respect has increased beyond measure!  I was continuously fascinated by their expertise in and passion for reading instruction as well as their commitment to developing trusting relationships with each one of their young scholars.

Our educators are truly dedicated to our students, as both teachers and administrators, they continue to also be students who are engaged in life-long learning about best practices. Our educators have a relentless focus on learning how to most effectively meet students individualized instructional needs! Below is a visual of the conceptual framework for my research. Please click here to view my findings.

Diagram 7.15.15

21 Century Leadership Institute

As the school year is quickly coming to a close, I am reflective and grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in SAM’s 21 Century Leadership Institute.  This year long program enabled me to collaborate and learn with skilled administrators across the state and have the guidance of an expert mentor.  Collectively, we were able to learn, celebrate, and support each other in implementing a meaningful project.  I chose to focus on improving the framework of our weekly PLCs.

My goals were:

  1. Use simple weekly protocols for each grade level team to follow throughout the school year (modified from Solution Tree resources and forms shared by colleagues).
  2. Support teachers in having a structure to collaborate around student data to guide instructional decisions.
  3. Communicate frequent feedback to grade level teams through Google Docs.

What happened?

  1.  Each grade level team had their own folder: Click here to view.
  2.  Each week (mostly) I emailed the teams to remind them of the protocol to complete.
  3.  The teams would take notes about their discussions, plans, and instructional decisions made on their protocol and I would follow-up with email communication or face to face meetings.

Improvements?

  1. I believe creating the protocols with a Google form or spreadsheet would be helpful to add notification rules. This would support me in providing faster feedback…
  2. I created a folder for our Special Education, Title One, and Para teams; however, the feedback and/or collaboration was not as consistent.
  3. Modify some of the forms to provide for a little more flexibility.

Other Resources that support our PLCs

  1. MCCS- Essential Grade Level Standards (Still a work in progress)
  2. 4 Essential Questions for teachers and students