Looking back at a week with few complaints and looking ahead to an icy Monday.

After a very good five day week to begin our school year students and teachers were all craving that weekend and the feeling of relaxing and catching up on sleep. I ended the day Friday finding out that the high school cheerleading team had challenged me ( and the assistant principal) to the ALS ice bucket challenge. They we gracious enough to give us the weekend (24 school hours) to make our plans and I am happy to say challenge accepted! Now we plan a way to allow some lucky students to dump ice on our heads. Sounds like fun right? Well at least it will be less painful than watching my beloved Browns look like a pee-wee team trying to play professional football. That’s a topic in itself so we can save that for some other Sunday evening.

I was trying to decide what to write about after a week of school and the roll out of our 1:1 iPad initiative at our school and realized the choice was easy… I will write about complaints. Wait, not what you’re thinking! We went an entire week, and there were quite a few bumps in the road, and if did not hear any complaints! Yes, you heard that right. We rolled out 425 iPads to kids, 40 for staff, had data errors, a password issue, kids missing from grade books, a long list of requested apps not yet uploaded, but through all if it excitement was overwhelming the complaints.

Teachers have researched apps, planned for new methods of instruction and taken all the bumps in stride. Students have proven they are smarter than we give them credit for, can help each other faster than we can help them, and care enough to show up every day ready to create.

Now we prepare for week 2 which includes meetings about SLO’s, picture day, the first home football game, and 90 degree heat indexes and I hope we can continue to inspire. I hope students come in prepared to learn and teachers can continue to utilize the technology in a manner where students can create, predict, analyze and learn at the highest level possible.

Oh.. And I need to figure out who to challenge next after I get doused with ice water. On to week 2!



Excitement and Trepidation

Two words that accompany the start of every school year. This year is a little different because all of our students in the high school, grades 7-12, are receiving iPads! The notice came to teachers about two weeks before school ended in May and throughout the Summer teachers have been actively looking for apps and ideas to utilize the iPads in their classroom this year. We reviewed many apps to end last year and my faith in the staff has never been higher as I saw the excitement on their faces back in May.

Now it is nearly August and as I try to get my mind into start up mode for school which is now less than two weeks away. I walk the nice clean hallways and see the football coach (he pretty much lives there and runs the place) at 2 a days¬†and the band director at band camp. Did I mention I got to help the percussion section last week? yeah… I love that!

Anyway, the realization that the year is upon us, the new staff has been hired and the classrooms are ready has woken me up! I feel excited again, like I do every year – which is why I still love my job. The trepidation is only due to the unknown. The truth is, education has not changed, just the delivery methods have changed. Students today learn differently then when I was a student and the resources we have available are VERY different than when I was in school 20 years ago… wow… I’m getting old.

Luckily I work with a great staff who are willing to keep learning themselves and this may very well end up being the most fun year of my career. Even with OTES/SLO/CCSS and whatever other acronym that “forces” us to be better. Our staff WANTS to be better. We will be better. I will be better. Every year presents the opportunity to do things better than before. I look forward to that opportunity every July/August and this year is no exception. Just a little different.

So to our younger staff members and our grizzled veterans I give the following advice (Mostly stolen from people much smarter then myself)
-Be the teacher you always wanted to have
-Know your stuff
-True Engagement takes Real Planing
-Keep the energy level high

I can’t wait to see everyone again!