Student-centeredness

For Meaningful Learning Experiences, Focus on Connections

On online platforms such as Google Classroom and Zoom, teaching and learning look quite different than our normal program of learning face to face on the school campus. Learning is a social endeavor, and we are working to think creatively about how to support meaningful learning experiences, understanding the developmental needs of our middle level students while also recognizing that we are in a crisis situation. (more…)

Rethinking ‘Senior Moments’ in a Time of Cancelations

My oldest daughter is a senior, and I have been blessed to spend every day with her at school since she was a seventh grader. As we approached the last few months of her high school career, I couldn’t wait to share in those “senior moments” that create memories that last a lifetime. Unfortunately, the reality, enormity, and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is more evident as every day passes and those events on our school calendars move from “postponed indefinitely” to “canceled.” My heart breaks. (more…)

‘Can I Survive This First?’: Teaching and Learning During COVID-19

In a recent Zoom staff meeting, my principal asked five staff members to share the ways they’ve reached out to students. One teacher shared that he’d sent out a journal activity to his students, and one replied, “Can I survive this first?” That comment sparked a conversation about this historic moment and the kinds of stressors, pressures, fears, and anxieties students, families, and communities are presently feeling. (more…)

Moving Counseling Online During COVID-19

If we revisit Harry Wong’s The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher, we know that we can’t access Bloom’s taxonomy until we address Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. During this time of considerable uncertainty, it is increasingly important to consider mental health and wellness as a need we must address before we can get to the higher-order thinking skills associated with great instruction and learning. To that end, our school system quickly made plans to take school counseling online during this challenging time. (more…)

Advisories and Crisis: Taking Care of the Kids

There’s a lot to write about everything going on right now, but I’m going to start with talking about how the structures we have in place are the best things we have to lean on when crisis hits. (more…)

Finding Unexpected Community Resources for Your Student Support Network

When a headline broke in USA Today several years back calling Farmington, NM, “the worst place to raise a child,” my school took it personally. Having raised two daughters in the town, my wife and I had often commented to each other what a great community it was, and the great quality schools were part of that discussion. But the article went solely off of data, and I’m sure the authors had never set foot in our town. (more…)

Student Voice in School Communication

In a world where young people are familiar with opportunities to express themselves online and in person, it is important that we present our students with excellent models of interpersonal communication. Our students come to us with great ideas that they want to express. Why not channel that communicative energy and put it to work to promote your school? (more…)

Building a Positive School Culture, The Sundevil Way

There are several components to building a positive school culture and multiple ways to go about it. Building culture never stops and is always in development—here’s how our school got started on our journey to create a cohesive, positive, kind, and caring culture. (more…)

Our Experiences Influence Our Leadership

Thirty years into my public education career, I am still in awe every day of the power of what we do. In 1848, Horace Mann claimed, “Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance wheel of the social machinery.” At a personal level, education can be a game changer, and principals are leading that charge. We level playing fields, remove barriers, and create hope. (more…)

Building Relationships Between Students and Administrators

Many articles have been written about the importance of building relationships with students in the classroom, but what about us? How do we, as administrators, build relationships with students when we do not have them in class every day? It can be a little more challenging, but with some creativity, we can forge positive relationships just by having fun! (more…)