Digital Expert of the Week

Use Social Media to Improve Engagement in Professional Book Clubs

Reading professionally has so much value for educators. But, how can professional reading not become “one more thing” for teachers and administrators? Last year, I wanted to engage our staff with positive professional literature. I picked a good book that was easy to read, engaging, and not overwhelming. Although our small group read independently, our culminating activity was a Twitter chat to discuss the high points from the book. The purpose of the Twitter chat was twofold: 1) create a forum in which we could discuss the themes of the book and how they applied to our school and professional lives; and 2) introduce our staff to professional learning on Twitter. (more…)

Three Creative Uses of the Principal’s Blog

Many principals these days use blogging to reflect, share, and highlight the great things going on in their schools. Blogging is an innovative way to give families and the community even greater insight into a principal’s mindset, priorities, and personality. It helps build even deeper connections. (more…)

Building Positive School Culture Through Service Activities

Middle level students are at a crucial age, consciously developing their identities while trying to understand how they fit in with their peers. Teachers, administrators, and staff have the opportunity to provide a compass for students navigating these difficult times. As middle level students develop their sense of self, they often begin looking for ways to make an impact in their community. This materializes in a desire to pursue a cause, do fundraising, and participate in charities. (more…)

Define a Collective Purpose to Guide Your School’s Culture

As school leaders, it is never too early to plan how you want to begin the next school year. In what manner can you galvanize your staff to start a new year? Many schools have a mission or a vision statement, but I want to challenge that notion. Why change or divert from this philosophy? Many of us in leadership could not recite our specific mission statements by memory. Many of us will have to dust off the document and read it again to refresh our memory. (more…)

Tell Your School’s Story on One Platform With Wakelet

At the start of the 2017–18 school year, I challenged our staff at Cedar Crest Middle School (CCMS) to tell the story of our school—to showcase the learning that was happening, the community that we were building, and the positive aspects of our school that were occurring every day—through social media. Our staff quickly took to Twitter and started to tweet regularly. It was awesome, and I was proud of our staff for embracing this challenge. (more…)

4 Tips About Innovation From #PrinLeaderChat

Do you want to grow professionally, discover ideas and insights from innovative leaders, and maximize your time? Tune in and participate in #PrinLeaderChat, NASSP’s Twitter #edchat held on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. (ET) and 6:00 p.m. (PT). This #edchat is an awesome way to connect with some of the nation’s best school leaders and share thoughts and ideas. Chats are guest moderated by Digital Principals, State Principals of the Year, and other thought leaders in education. Perhaps you haven’t participated because of login issues or your schedule doesn’t allow you to join. To help you see what you’ve been missing, I’ve curated the top four ideas from our recent conversations about innovation in schools: (more…)

Share Your Passion with Students: School-Wide Clubs

A maximal learning environment cannot exist without students feeling safe and connected with their teacher in the classroom. But teachers quickly get caught up with the demands of covering curriculum and meeting mandates. Most times, it is easier to conform to the system instead of infusing our individual personalities into our school lives. (more…)

“Do You See Me?” The Power of Student Connections

Positive connections between students, teachers, administrators, and school community lead to academic success and a balanced education. To reach their potential, it is integral that children connect to at least one person in their school community. This connection needs to exist within a safe and stable environment, providing opportunities for these relationships to strengthen and grow. The middle level leader plays a key role in fostering these important components of success. (more…)

Maintaining Digital Balance

Much more often than I would like to admit, a little voice can be heard chastising me from the back seat of our minivan while sitting at a traffic light: “Better left unread than dead, Mom.”

In those moments I reflect and recognize I must do better—I am not modeling or practicing what I preach. I need more digital balance, and whatever text or email I am replying to can wait until I get to my destination. The phone goes into the glove box until I get home, with a firm digital boundary set. (more…)

Streamlining Professional Growth through Micro-Credentialing and Badging

I was a bit fearful at the beginning of this school year. Budget reduction days loomed ahead, which—understandably—would be carved out of our non-student contact days, or our professional development in-service days. I worried that we would not be able to continue to make the great strides we have made in recent years in developing teacher leaders through our PD days. (more…)