Monday, September 5, 2016

During the month of August, I intentionally began the year with building relationships as my top priority. I did this by reading to classes, making positive phone calls home, and completing a Twitter chat with my leadership team.
Reading to a 3rd grade class
I highly encourage all administrators to read to classes the first few weeks of school. First, it gives the teacher a break. Secondly, it allows you to connect with kids. Thirdly, it gives you the opportunity to observe  students. I read The Day the Crayons Quit, I can read With My Eyes Shut, and Pete the Cat. Each student shared their hobbies and interests during our time together. I can already sense better connections with my students, and I am well on my way to learning all of their names. 

Inspired by Kids Deserve It 

Kids Deserve It by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome has challenged and inspired me to make a difference in kids' lives. On August 29th, I shared a Google doc with Second and Third Grade teachers, asking them to share students names that demonstrate excellent behavior and leadership skills.  By September 2nd, my admin team and I had contacted 14 parents. These calls make kids and parents smile and reminds us why we do what we do!!! 

Third Grade Student Leader 
Educational Twitter chats have motivated me this summer to develop my Professional Learning Network. I have encouraged my staff to join Twitter and participate in chats. Creek View currently has 45 staff on Twitter. In the beginning I was intimidated by Twitter and chats. Therefore, I set up a 3 question chat for our leadership team to discuss during our meeting. It was a huge success and we were in competition of having our posts retweeted.  Now they can help spread the word of the benefits of chats. 

CVES Chat during leadership meeting 

Creek View Elementary will  continue to celebrate the positive, encourage teachers to grow their PLNs, and make positive connections with students and parents. @CVESwarriors 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Listen to Lola, Put Kids First, and Ditch Your First Faculty Meeting

While reading Hacking Leadership this summer, one of the hacks discussed ditching the first faculty meeting. I was intrigued and inspired and starting brainstorming ways to make that time meaningful while having a lasting impact on our kids and community. I contacted Cindy Hawkins, with Kids First in Alabaster, AL. (Kids First offers after-school, summer enrichment, and community outreach programs for at-risk children and their families).

I asked Ms. Hawkins if I could bring my entire faculty to her facility. She immediately said yes and wanted to feed us and provide entertainment. I said no thank you, CVES wants to come and interact with the kids and bring any needed supplies. She requested backpacks, shoes, school supplies and items for the facility. 

When I suggested this idea to my leadership team, the collaboration and ideas began within minutes! They began calling area churches for support and organized which supplies our faculty would bring. Our PE coaches planned interactive stations and a Kindergarten teacher planned a line dance for all! 

Grade Level
What to Bring
Kleenex / baby wipes
First Grade
Hand sanitizer / hand soap
Second Grade
Clorox wipes / Lysol wipes
Third Grade
Paper towels / toilet paper
Special Areas
Ziploc bags (large or small)

After this planning session, I contacted Lola's Mom to ask permission to interview Lola to share about Kids First program. She said absolutely, laughed and asked if the interview would be live. Enjoy Lola's interivew via Voxer (wise beyond her years) :

Lola asked to have her picture made in the CVES Butterfly garden.
Kids Deserve It voxer book study has inspired me this summer as well. One of my favorite quotes is, "Every child deserves to feel important. Every child deserves to feel like the "favorite." CVES faculty and staff are starting the year off focused on kids. Our theme this year is Collaborate, Communicate and Celebrate!  How will your school and classroom focus on kids? 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Qualities of an Effective School, Effective Teacher, and Effective Principal -Where is the content?

Leadership Team Activity 
Spring of 2016 my leadership team completed an activity about what qualities make an effective school, an effective teacher, and an effective principal.  I asked them to list qualities each one of them would look for if moving to a new district. The chart paper was filled very quickly as we brainstormed ideas. When discussing an effective school, words such as safe, inviting, and positive culture came to mind. Then someone listed "Chick-fil-A." We all snickered and asked her to explain. She said the customers are always greeted with a smile and with kindness. Wow! So True! We continued listing adjectives such as kind, flexible, genuine, supportive, loving, collaborative, for both an effective teacher and principal. After much discussion, one of the teachers said "where is the content?" I was blown away! Not one person listed the teacher needs to be able to implement the Daily 5 or Math workshop. We discussed that we are in the business of building relationships!
As a second year principal, I was beyond thrilled with this activity and want to continue to be reflective with my staff. I have used this listing this summer during interviews! A huge Thank you to @Steelethoughts for giving me this idea to complete with my staff.

The effective principal listing looks a bit overwhelming however, I want to always display the following attributes: Positivity; Visibility; Trust!

Effective Schools
Student Achievement
High Expectations for all
Growth mindset
Effective Teachers
Loves What They Do 
Good Listener
Risk Taker
Team player
Continuous Leaner
Tech Savy
Thinks Outside the Box
Classroom Management
Respective to all 
Effective Principals
Role Model
Communicates with all
Seeks Resources
Builds Relationships
Ongoing learner
Makes fair decisions/choices
Knowing your teachers, classrooms, staff
Open door policy 
Tech Savy
Lead Learner 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Here is my first ever Blog post. I am inspired by reading Kids Deserve It! The first chapter talks about trying something new. So here goes.....

Who is your Mrs. McAfee? 

How do I remember every kids' name in this picture?
Mrs. McAfee's 5th grade class (I am the one in the middle wearing pink)
Mrs. McAfee-the best teacher ever! 

Was it because I was a social butterfly?  NO-The reason is Ms McAfee built relationships with every kid. She knew our interests and took time to listen and talk with us. 5th Grade can be one of the most challenging grades at a K-5th grade school. You are the seniors of the school, but very immature. Ms McAfee treated us like we were seniors in high school. She had a Baldwin upright piano in her classroom.We would have sing-a-longs every Friday along with a class meeting. We would discuss the week and sing! It was amazing! She took time to meet with small groups as well as meet with each of us individually. I asked her if we could go to the 7th grade choir rehearsals (since they were on our same campus). She arranged it for me and two of my friends. Guess what happened next....All of us were able to sing at the 7th grade Choir Christmas concert. I was in choir every year following. All because of Ms McAfee! I didn't realize it then, but she is one of the reasons I went into teaching.

We must connect with every student that walks in our buildings! I am so thankful that Ms McAfee led her classroom with love, compassion, and with a smile! Who will write about you one day? Who has made an impact on your life?