Saturday, October 29, 2016

Learning from Others

This past week I had the experience of visiting a friend's school and seeing what they were up to.  I've always been a believer in connecting with others online and learning from and with them. But that is only a piece of the puzzle.  To truly learn from someone you have to see them in action!

Time and time again, I have learned so much more from personal visits to schools rather than conferences, webinars, and trainings.

This week I was able to spend a day at Brad Gustafson's (@GustafsonBrad) school in Minnesota.  Brad and I have been friends for years and talk on a daily basis.  Brad (and Ben Gilpin) have been my constant source of encouragement and coaching as I've entered this administrative world.  I met Brad on Twitter, and over the last couple of years through Twitter and Voxer we've become great friends. Our wives are even good friends now and we have traveled together on several occasions.

It's one thing to hear about things someone says is happening at their school.  It's another to see it in action, especially since Brad was just recently awarded the National Distinguished Principal for Minnesota.

I was so impressed with many things I saw.  From the student work posted everywhere, the amount of teachers trying innovative seating/classroom design options, to the clear focus on literacy (student AND teachers advertising what they're reading), to the friendly little touches such as the welcome mats and signage.  It was a great day with lots of learning.

I share all of this to remind and encourage you of the power of connecting with others.  I always say "no matter where you work and how talented the people are that you work with, your ideas are still limited to the four walls".  Putting yourself out there and connecting on sites like Twitter really does expand your learning and opens doors like nothing else.  Then when you can push those "twitter" connections to the next level, and make face to face learning happen, it's a whole new ball game!

Know someone at another school who is doing exceptional things? Let's go visit!

Week at a Glance

Monday - ALL STAFF Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character
Tuesday - Writing Vertical - 3:30pm - TP room
Foundation Banquet - 5:30pm
Wednesday - Team Leader Mtg - 7:00am
3rd Grade Field Trip (Boenker Attending)
Thursday - 2nd Grade Field Trip (Marvel attending)
Friday - 50th Day of School Celebration (50s Day)
End of Progress Reports Grading Period (3:45pm)

TP Time

We will be looking at and discussing lesson plans this week.  So please bring your lesson plans printed out, a laptop, and your materials for the week.

Monday - 1st Grade
Tuesday - 2nd Grade
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through November 11th


You should be in contact with your T-TESS Evaluator to start setting up observations.  I have already completed two!  It has been such a nice process.  The pre-conference has been GREAT and a much needed add on to our new system.  I really am enjoying this time spent!  HUGE props to Ambrus, Colbert, Wilkinson, Desern, Robertson, and Davis for already getting yours scheduled!

Kids Deserve It

Many of you have asked about Kids Deserve It shirts!  There are the original six colors, the women's v-neck, the neon, and new baseball tees all on sale through next Sunday!  Get yours HERE.

Education Foundation Dinner

I still have a couple of tickets to the Education Foundation Dinner on Tuesday!  I will be sending an email out later this weekend to those who I have written down as attending!  If you don't get an email from me by Monday and you asked for a ticket, let me know!


Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) and Matt de la Pena (Last Stop On Market Street) discuss diversity in Children's Books


October 31 - Kevin Bradford
November 3 - Carolyn Hafley

Rockstar Educators

Angela Calkins - Angela is one of our 3rd Grade Math/Science teacher.  I absolutely love any time I get to watch Angela teach.  She is engaging and energetic.  There's so many times that I'm blown away at the knowledge she possesses and is only a 2nd year teacher.  Angela also loves working with our special education population and truly has a knack for them.  I am also super proud of Angela for stepping up into a leadership role when asked.  She has already done a great job and is truly a natural born leader.  I can't wait to see what kind of educator Angela will grow into as this is only the beginning.

Traci Colbert - Traci is our PPCD teacher.  I had the pleasure of sitting with Traci during a T-TESS Pre-Conf this week as well as watching her do a lesson with her students.  I loved sitting with Traci and hearing her talk about her students and what she was going to be doing with them.  I was even more thrilled to watch her in action.  Though Traci's students may learn differently than most, Traci holds them to a high standard.  She is active with them, cares for them with all of her heart, and knows deep down that she is going to do whatever it takes to help them grow.  I am so thankful our little PPCD kiddos have someone like Traci leading their learning.

Sue Ambrus - Sue is our HeadStart co-ordinator.  Sue is probably one of the kindest and most helpful educators we have on our team.  She is the perfect person too to be down at HeadStart leading those kiddos.  She has an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience and it is so clear every time I watch her interact with her students.  She also always encouraging and looking to grow, but also help others grow.  She never complains and is the first to ask who needs help.  I am so thankful we're able to learn from and alongside of someone like Sue.

In Closing...

This week I encourage you again to connect with someone new and learn alongside them.  Every day we tell our kids that the number one rule at Webb Elementary is "Be Brave".  It's time we all start using that as our own mantra.  Find something to be brave in doing this week.  Push yourself, ask for help, go observe someone in action!  Remember that us administrators are here to help!  Let us know what you need and we'll do what we can to make it happen!  Together we are making this school the best in the state of Texas! I believe it.

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