Education – Teaching, Leading, Learning

Archive for November, 2013

Reaching out to Parents #SAVMP

Dont-Be-Left-Behind-1024x682I have read several posts about what people are doing to reach parents and I definitely feel a bit behind.  This has been a continuing issue for my school.  Although we have seen improvements, I believe we have a long way to go.

What do we presently do?

  • We use daily agendas.  Student’s write important messages about what they have done or homework they may have to complete.  It’s a place to communicate back and forth with parents.
  • We send home “paper” in the form of Newsletters and notes.
  • We communicate monthly positive messages to parents (through agenda, handwritten note, email, phone call, text).  This has been one area that has really helped to begin to bridge the communication gap.  It’s easier to connect with a teacher when it’s based on a positive comment and not a negative.
  • We host a monthly – Student of the Month – where we honor students on their hard work and focus in school (they even get to eat pizza with the principal).
  • We have a webpage for our school.
  • We have a Facebook page.  We post important notes, pictures of events, agendas for Parent Council, and links to our webpage.
  • Some teachers have classroom blog sites where they can share with students and parents what they are doing in their class.

Where do I feel we need to go?  I would like to start a Twitter feed for our school.  Being a “newly” connected educator, I see the value of quick short messages and links to get information.  I would like to share the positive things that are happening in our school more regularly using social media.  I could see starting a blog site for our school and posting interviews, pictures, and messages from students. The possibilities are endless.

It has been great reading about what other schools are doing to connect to parents.  I believe the more creative ways we try to reach out, the more parents we will begin to connect with.  It is so important to get our parents involved in what we do!

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Aligning Vision and Priorities #SAVMP

In the School Administrator Mentorship Program blog this week, Amber speaks about Management as a Principal, (http://savmp.edublogs.org/author/amberteamann/). I have decided to focus my blog on answering the question:  What can I do to better align my vision and priorities?

I have taken this as a great opportunity to reflect on what I value and see as my vision.  In doing so, I hope to use this as a way to help me prioritize what I do on a daily basis at my school.

I will start with what I value because I believe this leads directly to my vision.  I value:

  • people – students, teachers, staff, parents, and colleagues
  • relationships – respect, understanding, honesty
  • learning – collaboration, differentiated instruction, technology, supports, reflection
  • time, organization, and flexibility

My vision is to be a leader that cultivates a school culture where everyone open-heartedly contributes to doing whatever it takes to help each child succeed in school.  This means that students will feel safe and secure, they will have a sense of belonging, they will be willing to take risks as learners and will value education.

So what will my priorities be?

  1. Building Relationships – I will model my values of respect, understanding, and honesty as I spend a large part of my day working on relationships.  I will make sure that I am out and about – in classrooms, hallways, the playground, and the staffroom.
  2. Support – I realize that my school vision is very demanding.  Therefore I know that a big priority will be to find out how I can best support staff.  I will need to be constantly looking and listening for what people need.   It could be helping with discipline, finding resources, helping plan PD, and giving people time…
  3. Learning – This encompasses my learning, staff learning, and student learning.  It means taking time to learn new ideas; collaboration; joining in common grade level PLC times; being aware of best practices and solid pedagogy in the school; and then taking the time to share.
  4. Technology – Our school has embraced technology and creatively finds many ways to use it to engage our students and help them learn.  So I need to make sure that the technology runs smoothly and that there is opportunity to build on everyone’s technological knowledge.  I need to support staff in their journey with technology.
  5. Organization – With sound organization, the managerial tasks like emails, reports, phone calls, and general planning should take less time. The more organized I am, the easier it will be for me to focus on the other priorities.

By taking the time to reflect on my vision and values I feel that I can better understand what my priorities should be and where I need to align my time.