Digital Expert of the Week

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…)

‘Tis the Season for Ed Leadership Renewal

Part of the distinction in being named a 2018 NASSP Digital Principal of the Year is the opportunity to be part of a McKinsey leadership program. This internationally renowned company is “the trusted advisor and counselor to many of the world’s most influential businesses and institutions.” In Part I of the McKinsey Academy, I am part of a cohort that began with 26 educators from around the globe. My subgroup is small: it’s simply Renita from Durham and me. (more…)

Using Hashtags to Carry Out Your Vision, Values, and Goals

As social media emerged as a mainstream communication device for school leaders years ago, so evolved the use of the hashtag. Back in 2012 when I first was dabbling with Twitter, Patrick Larkin, one of our first digital principals, used the simple hashtag #bhschat to keep a running dialogue with his high school students, staff, and families. His example prompted me to start my own weekly hashtag chat at Timberview Middle School. We called it #TMSHawkChat, and we made great connections as a community through those weekly conversations. Now only six years later, school/community hashtag chats are commonplace all over the world, and we have learned many more uses for the hashtag on social media. (more…)

Make the Most of Your Next Staff Meeting

Do you dread staff meetings as the principal? Does your staff audibly groan when you discuss policy changes or district minutia? Do you see your teachers watching the clock and counting down the minutes until they can leave? A few years ago, staff meetings at Harrisburg South Middle School were just this way, tedious gatherings that both the staff and I wished would just end as soon as possible. (more…)

Three Qualities to Look for in a Mentor

In a recent Q&A I host weekly with Danny Bauer, we talked about the importance of having a coach, or mentor, to help you become a better leader. (more…)