Read Alouds: Every Day, Every Student by Lucretia Brattin

Really love this!

Nerdy Book Club

The importance of reading aloud to every grade level is imperative.  And, it should most definitely be an everyday occurrence.  This duty does not have be fulfilled by the Language Arts teachers.  How awesome is it for the science teacher to read an article from National Geographic or the history teacher to read an article from The Smithsonian.  Better yet, what if they chose popular books from their respective studies and read a section every day.  I can just imagine our history teacher, who is also the speech and debate coach, reading excerpts from Ron Chernow’s Grant.

Making reading seem like the most important element of a class, no matter what the class, is the key to creating successful adults.  I truly believe that.  Even in math, if a student can’t read the directions or understand what the vocabulary is, there is no chance to actually do the math.   Vocabulary…

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Classroom Practices, Education, Leadership, Learning, PLC, PLN, Uncategorized

Purposeful Classroom Visits

Initially this year, my principal and I set a common goal: To get into classrooms every day. That seems like a no brainer, but as you know it is so easy to get caught up in the “stuff” waiting for you in the office and before you know it, it’s 2:00 pm and the day is gone…and with it, your opportunity for classroom walks. But we were determined that this area of our practice could use some strengthening. To help us get going, my principal signed us both up to participate in The Principal Center’s High Performance Instructional Leadership Course.  Building upon research about habits, the program guided us through those early weeks as we got our habits established and committed to our goal of visiting classrooms every day.

We each made it to every classroom by the end of the first week of school.  And then the next week, and the next. I would say that by week 4, our habit had taken hold and we were getting into classrooms — but, not because it was on the calendar. We went because it felt very odd not to be in a classroom. That’s when I realized that being in classrooms had become a habit. 

Next, we began thinking and talking more about purpose. In the first few weeks, our purpose was simple enough: we wanted students and teachers to get used to us being there. We were not writing anything down in those early days, no official feedback was given, just getting to know everyone and building relationships.  But after the first couple of weeks, we were ready to give these visits some purpose and be intentional about this. What will our students gain from these visits? How will it best benefit our staff? How about our students’ parents…how might this impact them? How will this new habit impact our campus as a whole and how will it influence us as leaders? Purpose…

A wise person once told me, “If you don’t have a reason for doing something, you might as well stop doing it.”  I might expand on that a little further in this situation by saying that it isn’t just about the numbers. It’s not how many times I am in classrooms each day that makes a difference. It’s the purpose behind those visits that really matters. And as I spent daily time in classrooms, those purposes, intentions and outcomes just began to sort of unfold.

Recently, I heard about a principal who takes his laptop with him and completes work and answers emails from classrooms. Now there is some creative problem solving! I have to wonder though…what purpose is served by simply relocating oneself? If the primary goal is being physically present in classrooms then yes, that goal is met. But for us, it isn’t enough to just be there. We want to make a difference in big and small ways across the campus and we want this practice to have a positive impact on our leadership. Maybe I didn’t understand the context. Maybe I am missing something (that is very possible). But for me,  I just don’t think I would influence all that much if I were sitting in a classroom answering emails or taking care of office stuff; I just wouldn’t be fully present. Being in classrooms is good. Being in classrooms every day…great! Being in classrooms every day and with purpose — that’s where I want to dwell — that is where spectacular opportunities exist!

If you are the type that likes examples and models, nuts and bolts, you’ll like this part. So, my principal and I each created a notebook and we organized them with everything we felt would be important to have at our fingertips. It’s nothing fancy, but here is a look at some of the things we included in our binders. You can click on each image to read the caption:

So what are some of those spectacular opportunities we have found so far? Where do I even begin! Let me see…I can (confidently) tell you almost exactly what the students in each grade and content area are learning and mastering.  That alone is a much bolder statement than I could have made in my previous 3 years as an AP. I know which students like to share aloud and which ones are more reserved or need some “coaxing”. I try to engage those kids when I see them at lunch or in the hallways. When I see parents at meetings or after school, I have some background and I can easily share current classroom happenings or even something awesome I saw their student doing in the classroom recently.  When I visit with teachers in the lounge, it’s very easy to start up a conversation about classroom teaching and learning that is relevant and meaningful or even “Hey! You know, so and so is doing something very similar to what you guys are doing science…” and these things are just coming naturally. The opportunities are there, where before they were not or at least not to this degree. The relationships I build are being impacted. What else … How about: When I have a student in the office for a conduct situation, it most likely isn’t my first time seeing or talking to that student. When I conduct a classroom walkthrough and am developing meaningful feedback for the teacher, I have some context and a deeper understanding of the classroom dynamic…making my feedback much more on point. When I sit in on weekly PLCs, I have context in my mind, so I know where this teacher is coming from, or where a particular team is coming from. Purchasing resources? Resource stewardship is an important aspect of leadership and I feel much more “aware” now. To be honest, I don’t spend a lot of time in this area as an Assistant Principal, but I am knowledgable enough about the current landscape and daily flow that I can give input that is relevant and I can make informed recommendations based on what I see and hear all the time. And the students? Well, they are getting really good at communicating what their Learning Target is and bringing me up to speed on what the class is doing when I stop by. It is not unusual for me to be in their classroom. In fact, it is unusual if I’m not. I know that for a fact because just today, when I walked into a classroom, a student said, “Mrs. Logue, we haven’t seen you in a while…”

And just like that, I was busted. For the past couple of weeks, I have probably spent a little more time in the office. It is so, so easy to fall back into that, isn’t it? But today I had a kindergarten student reminding me of my committment…holding me accountable for a goal I set and letting me know that being in classrooms at our school is not a sometime thing. It is an every day thing.  Kids are so good at reminding us of things, aren’t they? And that is the main reason I think I have for doing this. Whether it’s resources or conversations or feedback or curriculum or instruction or even personal goal setting….one thing holds true:

If you are going to be guided by anyone…be guided by kids.  And I don’t know about you, but there aren’t any kids here hiding in the office. They are in the classrooms. That’s where you’ll find them. And that is where you’ll find us.

Classroom Practices, Education, Leadership, Learning, PLC, PLN, Uncategorized

Big Little Things

LittleThe sign you see here hangs in my living room. It greets me every morning as I stumble past on my way to the kitchen to get the coffee that starts my day. It welcomes me home every evening, that sign. Watches over us as we hang out, watching TV or eating or talking or reading. It hangs there, that sign. Right there it hangs as I start to do a little work or think about the things at school that I didn’t quite have time to do today. Or those big things I have coming up…..Yeah, like that thing. I really have to block off some time for that one tomorrow.

Where does it go, our time? I wonder that a lot. And as I wonder, that sign hangs, still and quiet. Reminding me to slow down. To notice the little things. The little things that hide inside our days, like tiny glass spheres filled with big, magnificent moments that we can only discover if we look for those little things first. And sometimes, when we are super busy or pressed for time and we just don’t stop to think about those little things….well, sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes one of those little things happens by, right smack dab in the middle of something there it is, right in front of us. And then just like that, right before our eyes, we see it. And we see the big, magnificent moment that is hidden right there…hidden just inside that one little thing. This is about one of those big little things.

I sat down at the desk just inside her classroom, paper and pen in hand as I prepared to take notes and capture data for this teacher’s annual evaluation. As I observed, this teacher let students know that for this particular activity, they would be using nonfiction text. That they would be selecting their own text from the stack of books and magazines that had been placed on the back table. Stacks and piles about all kinds of things, written at all kinds of levels. The students were to use their strategy for selecting a “just right” book and to find one that appealed to them, one that sparked their interest. And then off they went, these excited kids. Off they went to rummage through the piles looking, searching, hoping to find that one interesting book … that “just right” book…that book that fits them.  And then…..he found it. I watched as this student grabbed up a book, opened and scanned the pages to make sure it wasn’t too easy or too hard and then….once he discovered that this book was indeed just right for him, he clutched it to his chest and headed back to his desk, just to the right of where I sat. And as he walked toward his desk, clutching that book, I heard that teacher call after him, “Did you find one you liked?” As he excitedly held it up that teacher smiled and said, “Ah, yes! Wonderful! I thought of you as I was picking that one out.”

And as he turned back around to sit at his desk, I saw his face. And his whole face was smiling. Smiling because he had found a book on a favorite topic. Smiling because that book was just right for him, which meant he could take it.  Smiling, because his teacher had specifically thought of him when choosing that book to bring to the table for this ordinary lesson, on this ordinary day. Smiling, because his teacher had thought of him, period.

In the midst of the day, the life, the 20 other kids. In that moment, that “I thought of you when I did that” moment….his teacher didn’t just pick a book. His teacher picked a book for him. His teacher had said, “You matter”.  “You are important”. “You are unique”. “I know you”. “I love you”.

This teacher did much more than just choose a book. And that, I have a feeling, was the real reason behind that smile….that big, can’t hide it smile that was on his face as he returned to his seat and dove right into that book.  His book.  Chosen for him.

I think we educators have the greatest job in the world. We are surrounded by big opportunities that like to hide themselves inside all our little moments. And these moments, they move quickly. They weave in and out of our classrooms, up and down the halls, around and around our days like those fast moving hands that circle the clocks on our walls. The clocks that count off those little moments, one by one. Around and around they go, minute by minute. Hour by hour. Sometimes, we get so caught up in how fast those hands move past those little moments. In all those things we have to do, all those things our kids must accomplish and yes, indeed. Those moments do move fast. Time marches on and we march with it. We are stretched thin by big things like curriculum and TEKS and STAAR testing and standards and PLCs and parent conferences and meetings and … well, you know the rest. We have such. little. time. to accomplish all that we must accomplish. To make sure that which is supposed to happen, happens. Those moments go by so fast and there are so many things and… we just don’t have time. We just don’t have time, with all the big things on our plates, we just don’t have time to make sure they all happen. There just isn’t time.

Or … is there?

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.”


Teaching vs. Learning

In the following question, fill in the blank with your own content example, such as simplifying fractions.

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 10.29.15 AMHold the space for that idea as we go along.

This is an idea that I have been thinking about over the last few days. When I think to myself, “It’s my job to teach ___”, the focus just naturally lands on me, the teacher.  How am I going to teach it? What resources am I going to use? But, when I shift my thinking to, “It is my job to ensure that each student learns _____“, ahhh, did you see how the focus changed? I suddenly start thinking about what each student needs, rather than what I need or what resources I might like to use. It is a subtle shift, one you might not even notice right away. But when I follow the shift, when I am planning a lesson with the guiding focus being what each student needs to master the concept, I start thinking about my students–not my classroom, not my students as a group, but  individual learners. I open myself up to variety; to differentiation.  I am giving myself permission to be creative. My focus could be on where each student lines up against the standard. What it is not on are the resources. It is also not on high stakes tests. One of the most difficult shifts to make for teachers is to take refocus the lens from the teacher to the student. This recentering of thought helps with that. While reading and exploring this idea, I ran across something similar to the quote below and it sums it up perfectly:

Our job is not to teach the grade level standards. Our job is to ensure that each student masters the grade level standards. There is a big difference between those two things. 

Why is this important? If we limit our role to that of teaching content instead of teaching kids, our approach narrows. What about the students who don’t reach mastery after we have taught it? We most likely are thinking about this group after the lesson. We are thinking about reteaching and intervention. And don’t get me wrong, those are definitely strong practices that we embrace for good reason. But I also believe that the best intervention is strong Tier 1 instruction. How might things change if we plan instruction for the middle and for those to the left of center? What about the students who have mastered the skill before we have taught it? How can we plan instruction for those students who are to the right of center? If I am honest, I did little to plan instruction for the group to the right of center. My main planning hit center. My intervention came as a post-teaching action. But nowadays, with our limited time and the scope of concepts on our curriculum plates, post-teaching is in many cases too late.

Carol Tomlinson does a wonderful job of casting light on the subject of individual student need and responsive teaching. In the video below, she discusses how the learning experience happening in our classroom can feel very different for every student sitting in front of us:

Okay, so put into action, what might this type of approach require? Pre-teaching? Could we maybe design “lesson-embedded” differentated tasks where student self-assessment could drive the path their instruction takes? How can we accomplish that? Could students begin work in the middle, and then shift left or right based on continual assessment of where they are at points during the lesson? What could that look like? We have Learning Targets in place now and we have students evaluating where they are in the the trajectory of hitting that target. How or where could that fit in this approach? I know a lot of teachers are using Google classroom. How can you incorprate the ideas above in that manner? What about a flipped approach? Ambitious ideas require creative thinking and planning. I don’t know how to achieve this complex goal. But I do think it is an interesting goal–a goal  worth giving thought to (and… blog space) .

I often encourage teachers to take a similar approach to classroom management. Rather than thinking about which consequeces to impose, shift the idea to “What does this student need in order to start (or stop) doing ____”? That approach almost always changes our response. A student continues to lose her assignments. Why is this happening? Does she have trouble with organization? Will keeping her in from recess improve her organizational skills? Or might we need to provide a scaffold to help her be more successful? This is central to our implementation of restorative practices on my campus. It’s a different approach–one that takes the focus off of consequences and places it instead on student needs. It shifts our response and helps us charts a new course. A course that gets students to mastery. And at the end of the day, that is our goal.

What about cultural proficiency? Where/how does that fall? I am doing some online exploring as I grapple with the conceptual shift from teaching to learning and how I can best support that shift as an administrator. I have collected some great resources on differentiating and on lesson design that is focused on this concept. Here is a great place to start; to give structure to the ideas. Here is another; focused on culurally responsive learning. And another–this one on Responsive Teaching. I encourage you to consider, explore, and tinker around with the idea of shifting our instructional design from teaching to learning, and the impact that might have on teachers and on students.

When we start thinking and planning from this shift in focus, our reactions and approaches change. In the words of one of my past mentors, when our actions are driven by student need, we are not going to go wrong very often.



Classroom Practices, Education, Leadership, Learning, PLC, PLN, Uncategorized

Putting PLCs Into Practice

Putting Professional Learning Communities Into Practice on an Elementary Campus

*Note: This post includes downloadable templates and videos of some artifacts I created, feel free to use anything you see!

img_2589This year, we are focusing on PLC work. Focusing, as in, starting them up. Yes, we have had PLC time on the calendar. Yes, our teachers have “met” during that time. But would I say we had strong Professional Learning Communities engaged in purposeful PLC-ish type work? Work that drove our instruction and informed our practice as a learning organization? No. And I don’t feel ashamed telling you that. For one thing, I know every educator on my campus would agree. But most importantly, because I believe that if you want to grow and improve in anything, you have to call it like it is. So this year, we took on the task of designing and establishing a vision and framework for supporting PLC work on our campus. To say this was a big, heavy goal would be an understatement. In this post, I am going to reflect on what we have done so far, and where we hope to go on this first leg of our PLC journey.

Developing our Vision

The first thing that my principal and I did was decide on what impactful PLC work would look like for us. We consulted many resources. Our district PLC framework was the guiding focus. It establishes the 3 district PLC principles and some ideas that might fall within each. We consulted  books, web resources, journals, people and blog posts  which helped tighten up our ideas and inform our processes. Our amazing Director of Professional Learning, Shawna Miller, provided our staff with an introductory PLC training to get us up and going. Finally, we dropped into the #atplc (All Things PLC) weekly Twitter chat where we were able to deepen our understanding of PLC work from some amazing educators. Chats focus on what works, what doesn’t, and latest ideas / trends / practices that are building capacity in educators and administrators. FYI: This chat happens every Thursday at 8:00 pm central time, and is facilitated by Solution Tree. Here is an archive of these chats.

Our guiding focus is on our students and our teachers. What is the work we need to focus on in order to drive high-level achievement at our campus? How could PLCs transform us from a community of learners into a campus-wide learning organization, made up of student and adult learners, focused on a shared vision and common goals?  Those were the type questions that drove our dialogue and from which our PLC development began to take shape.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 2.28.10 PMPLC Campus Handbook 

Following those ideas and conversations, I sat down to create our campus PLC Handbook. The purpose was to give our staff (and us) a structure for beginning this process. My principal and I are both big proponents of teacher autonomy and we try to be mindful of creating space for teachers to be self-directed. But sometimes, our teachers want a structured system in which to operate as they begin, explore, and get a feel for something new.

Our PLC Handbook is purposefully brief because we are just beginning and the last thing we want to do is make it bigger and more complicated than it has to be. The handbook briefly outlines our purpose and vision for campus PLC teams. We then define six “Focus Areas” which establish the type of work that will be done in the meetings. These six areas fit very nicely into our district PLC Framework and it’s three driving components. Within each Focus Area, I gave some examples of the type of work teachers might be doing. I also included resources that would help facilitate that work.  You can see the six areas by looking at our PLC handbook, linked above. We feel these areas provide the most opportunity for growth and meaningful work on our campus and also reflect both the strength and needs of our staff and students. You can see where each of the six areas would fall under the district PLC principles of Collaborative Culture, Focus on Learning, and Results Driven.

Using Current Resources
My district provided me with the opportunity to go through training sessions with School Reform Initiative last year and I learned about some great protocals which school communities can use to accomplish various tasks. I realized those protocals would be very helpful if embedded in our new PLC system! And to be very transparent, although I loved this training and saw the benefit, I had yet to use any of it with the staff. So I grabbed my manual from the shelf, read back through my notes and the resources within, and then for each Focus Area I identified protocals that would best support the work and facilitate meaningful dialogue. I really enjoyed being able to line up PLC focus area tasks with these protocols. At this point, we started to see something really great taking shape. Not only were we mapping out our PLC vision, but also we were making purposeful use of tools that we already had by embedding them within the system. At the end of the handbook I tossed in a few resources that might be helpful for teachers, such as the master schedule, school calendar, rubrics,  norm development tools,  agenda and minutes template, and ideas for potential PLC roles and responsibilities.

Each team has a binder. The tabs are:

  • Handbook
  • Minutes & Agenda
  • Collaborative Culture
  • Focus on Learning
  • Results Driven
  • RtI
  • Admin
  • Resources

As you can see, I chose to use the 3 district PLC principles rather than our 6 campus Focus Areas. I did that because we want our staff to be see how our campus work with PLCs fits within the district’s overarching framework and to be fluent in that framework. I also put together an admin PLC binder for myself and my principal.  Here are a couple of videos that I made to give you a quick tour of a PLC team binder and an admin team binder.


Time To Meet

The next thing I did was to create a schedule for our PLC meetings. My principal developed a master schedule which allows teachers one extra planning period every other week– students go to “Shine” time with our wonderful fine arts staff. So for example, week one PLCs are: Tuesday Kinder, Wednesday 1st grade, Thursday 2nd grade. The following week, PLCs are Tuesday 3rd grade, Wednesday 4th, and Thursday 5th. And then the two week cycle starts over. Monday and Friday is an additional planning for our Fine Arts team as they develop relevant and engaging learning experiences for our students’ Shine Time and to engage in their own PLC meetings. We feel it is very important to carve out time in the master schedule for this important work.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 2.26.00 PMPlanning the Meetings

Here was a tricky situation: We want to create space for teacher autonomy and grade level empowerment. We want teams to be in charge of their own learning and their own PLC tasks based on needs they identify. Teachers are professionals and they know their students best. But we also know that our teachers sometimes need more of a structure in the beginning so that they get a feel for each focus area and the work we are going to be doing. Additionally, we wanted to model some of the protocals for them so that they could use them comfortably. So we decided that for the first semester, we would identify the focus area and task ahead of time. By Christmas break, our teachers will most if not all of our 6 focus areas and a few protocals as well. So in developing the PLC calendar, our first semester is mostly already planned; after that, PLC teams will decide which Focus Area they need to work in each time. We are acting as facilitators now, but with the goal of slowly moving toward teacher ownership — we will be there to listen, support, ask questions…but teachers will be planning and running their own meetings. We were very purposeful in mapping out the PLC calendar so that it flows with campus and district calendars — for example, when district benchmarks are given, the following PLC week would be a great opportunity to engage with data and intervention, and so forth.

We identified PLC Leads for each grade level (a grade level teacher). Those leads will be attending School Reform Initiative training so that they are comfortable leading protocals. They keep the team binder and manage materials. If we need to send something out (such as an article or maybe set of data) for the team to engage with in a future PLC meeting, we will send it to the PLC Lead. We are really excited about the opportunity to develop teacher leadership skills through this experience!

Reflections After Round One

Our first round of PLCs just concluded today on my campus and it was so incredible to feel the excitement as we kick off this new system! We made sure to plan the first activity for development of roles and norms, as this will help set the tone for future meetings. The teams did an outstanding job and everyone was involved and eager to establish their framework and norms. Based on the conversations I observed in these first meetings, I know that some incredible work and dialogue is going to be taking place on our campus through these grade level PLC teams.  I can’t wait to see how their work will impact the experiences our students have, and the high level of learning at which we all will be operating.

If you are currently engaged in PLC meetings at your campus, I would love to hear how you have designed and supported them! If you are just starting out like us, feel free to use any of the resources provided here, and please connect with me @Fearless_Teach so we can swap ideas, insights and feedback!

Classroom Practices, Education, Leadership, Learning, PLN, Uncategorized

Building Strong Supports

nails2As the 2017-18 school year begins, I have been thinking about the idea of serving others. I wear many hats and each day finds me responding to the needs of many different people.  I am fortunate in that I get to work with students, parents, teachers and staff, fellow administrators, district personnel and community members — all with a common goal of building an incredible and productive school year – of building futures. What an awesome gift we have of being a part of such a magnificent journey!  But that also means that on some days we are all sdpread pretty thin. I begin each day with the goal of serving others, but if I’m honest I will tell you that I often fall short. I can serve some of the people, some of the time, but it is a challenge to be consistent in that with all stakeholders, day in and day out.

I had the idea of “serving others” in my mind as I sat down and wrote out my goals for the upcoming school year. This year, my goals include:

  • Getting into classrooms daily
  • Attending PLC meetings regularly
  • Giving consistent and effective feedback to teachers
  • Analyzing/reflecting on classroom data frequently
  • Making a few positive calls home to parents daily

I started thinking about what type of impact I can make if I work hard toward meeting these goals.  By getting into classrooms daily and giving consistent feedback to teachers, I am supporting students and teachers. I am also supporting the campus mission and district vision for each student. By reflecting on data, I am supporting campus needs, goals and decisions going forward as they relate to student achievement. By making regular contact with parents, I am supporting my campus’ core values and through my attendance at PLC meetings I can help to support the learning and teaching environment.

What I noticed when I wrote this out, is that the word “support” comes up again and again. I realized that “serving others” does not just fasten itself to my job, to anyone’s job, without the nails of support. It takes a consistent mental focus on goals, along with the flexibility to adapt to the ongoing needs of others, in order to support the learning organization and ultimately serve an entire community of learners.

I am reminded of a quote by Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt: “People don’t want a quarter inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole.” Taken a step further, it isn’t the hole they are after, either. It’s an end result. This past month I moved and during the fixing up of my new house, I drilled a hole in my bathroom. But I didn’t want a drill or a hole. I wanted a shelf.

When applying this same thought to our roles this year, we can say that our daily tasks, everything from meetings to bus duty to classroom visits, these things are the “nails” that will help build our capacity to support and ultimately to serve, our campuses and districts. To serve our communities.

I am excited about the upcoming year and I have a renewed appreciation for the many hats I wear – because I know that each one serves a very important purpose.  Each act, each function of my job, will be another nail of support in my overarching desire to serve others and build a strong school  year.

I wish you all a wonderful year as you, too, strive to support, serve others and build strong futures.


A Staff That Serves

So, I often write about the incredible school I call home and the people and things that make it such an incredible place. So often, these “things” are collections of moments; some so small and seemingly inconsequential that you might actually not even notice them if you weren’t paying attention. And I try to pay attention. Because other times those moments are great big things that happen — the type of things that cause one to be filled with inspiration and appreciation for the people who are creating them. So I try to pay attention because quite frankly, I don’t want to miss a single tiny or big moment.  I don’t want to miss them because this incredible school, with the incredible people who make these incredible moments happen, really must be shared. Last night, I experienced another of those moments. This one was part of one of those great big moments we have here, one that deserves it’s own post.

For a little backstory, two years ago couple of teachers got together with some students and formed a club called “The Giving Tree“. The club meets monthly to volunteer in the community.  Here is a feature story about this club. Last night the club had one of those events. We went out at 6pm and, for a couple of hours, we helped the “Feed the Hungry” campaign. This is a national campaign and we sorted and packed meal kits which will be delivered to places like Haiti, Dominican Republic, Kentucky…all over the world. There were about 40 of us there, including staff, students and a few parents as well.


All the credit for these moments, these acts of love and service, go to the wonderful educators that plan and organize them and inspire so many of us to get involved as well. What a difference these teachers are making in the lives of so many others…including myself.

I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to stand together as a group and serve others. It was such a great opportunity to make a difference that had nothing at all to do with school, but everything to do with school. What I mean by that is, there is just something special about working together like this. We laughed, we packed, we got tired, we danced (there was music) and we celebrated as we announced the completion of each box we filled with meals.  All in all, we helped pack enough food to feed aroud 35,000 people. And we did it as a group. A family.

We have had the opportunity to get involved in so many other activities like this as a staff, some as part of the club and some not.  Making cards for veterans at the local assisted living facility. Helping at the local food bank. Working on a house with Habitat for Humanity.  This is a school that serves.  Those moments are big, but inside those big moments are the small, tiny ones. The ones that make you smile. The ones that make you feel like you are a part of something very special; something unique. Something bigger than each of us. We are a staff that serves. That loves. That cares. That makes a difference inside and outside of school.

We are a staff that thrives on making moments and celebrating life. Do you think this spills over into the campus? The kids? The classrooms? What about instruction? Lesson design? Collaboration? You better believe it does. But, those incredible moments I will save for another post….