Saturday, January 12, 2013

Prioritizing



It happens to everyone, we get a whole slew of "things" on our to-do list.  At that point we must prioritize what comes first, second, and so on.  As principal my prioritization can influence a lot of people.  For example, if I'm sent an email and someone needs an answer ASAP, but yet I'm preparing for a meeting the email may not be read and responded to as quickly as some might like.  This is a minor example.  A bigger issue may be Professional Development/Staff Meetings.  When I think of the big issues that can be enhanced and improved I come up with this list (in no particular order):

1.  Common Core - One thing that made me an expert in 5th grade while I taught was the simple fact that I knew the GLCE's inside and out for 5th grade.  I knew exactly where I needed students to be to help them succeed.  As we transition to the common core I have an overall sense of the common core, but I'm weak in the "nitty-gritty" details.  I don't think I'm alone, so with that said I have common-core training on the to-do list.  

2.  RTI process - our building has been working on RTI for nearly three years.  We are not doing a bad job in any way.  I do believe we can "sharpen our saw" and improve.  I see great things in the building and I want to share the great things.  I also want to add some training to unify our entire building.  With that said, RTI improvement is on my to-do list.

3.  Odyssey/Compass Learning training - our district purchased Compass Learning to assist with Common Assessments, Individualized Learning Paths, Common Core resources, and additional teacher resources.  The last thing any of us want is to purchase something and not be trained how to properly utilize the materials.  PD is definitely on the list.

4.  iPad training - Next week all teachers are going to receive iPads.  This is to help teachers gain knowledge and get comfortable before 2013-2014. At this time I predict we will be close to double digit devices in each room.  If teachers don't feel comfortable and aren't trained on how to utilize iPads this will not be a useful tool.  iPad training is on the list!

5.  Observations/Walk-Throughs/Evaluations - I bring this up because it's a big issue.  Beginning very soon I will be scheduling several observations.  I'll be very blunt, I'm nervous.  Most people think it should be the other way around, but I'm nervous.  Walkthroughs are nice, I can stay for 5 minutes or 25 minutes, give authentic feedback to share what I think are strengths and areas to improve.  Then we get to observations and everything is similar except that a number is also attached.  The number changes everything.  I wish it didn't but it does.  Some may tell me that this is part of the job, deal with it.  Others may say nothing.  I say this, what is the goal? The goal is what is best for kids, right?  Well if it is, what is best for kids I need to be honest, but I also have to help people be at their best.  I have to find the correct way to be honest, and to get the best out of everyone.  This is why I get nervous.  It is on the list.

6.  Safety and Security - since mid-December all of our levels have been heightened.  I know that we must focus on areas that we can all tighten up and improve.  This is on the to-do list.

7.  Day to Day - dealing with building budget, parent meetings, discipline, and any thing else.  Obviously this is the miscellaneous portion that we can't plan for but we must deal with.  This is always on the list.

8.  State Reporting/SIP/Achievement Test Data - This is always tricky.  Part of me says take this off teacher plates, the other part tells me we should work together.  I lean towards the latter, but I don't want to overload.  Another on the list.

So the above is the to-do list.  My actual list is much longer and involves family, grad classes, and personal goals.  But what you see above is what I must prioritize.  This is where it gets tricky, every person is different.  One person may say it's a no-brainer this should be the top priority, another person might say something different.

The big picture in prioritizing is when you prioritize for yourself, you answer to yourself.  When you prioritize for your family, you answer to your family.  When I prioritize for the school, it effects everyone (I do greatly appreciate the feedback I receive when I ask staff members their opinions).  I know this, I can deal with that.  I believe it is important for everyone to understand, principals prioritize, and I'm sure we won't always agree.  Something has to come first, we can't always have it exactly how we want it.

Finally, we are in it for the kids.  We teach kids to prioritize, we don't want our kids to procrastinate or only choose the fun stuff.  I tell my own kids all the time, work before play.  I try very hard to model good morals, communication, a strong work ethic, and prioritizing what I believe is most important.  I bet you do the same.

As we move forward, think about your own life, when things aren't prioritized the way you want them to be how do you go about it?  How do you confront the issue?  Keep quiet? Go with the flow? Get angry? Vent?  What do we hope to teach our kids?

Next Week at a Glance:

Monday, January 14th:  4th and 5th grade Spelling Bee at the CAC begins at 6pm
Monday, January 14th:  8:30-11:30 SAU Mission Group visit
Tuesday, January 15th:  Mrs. Nash field trip
Tuesday, January 15th: NO String Team practice
Tuesday, January 15th:  PTO meeting 7pm
Wednesday, January 16th:  Panther Pride Lunch
Wednesday, January 16th:  K-2 assembly 8:45
Thursday, January 17th: Board Meeting 6:30

Great Things Noticed or Heard:

*  Highlight to my week, really enjoyed teaching division to 5th graders during Intervention time.  Very appreciative of the heads-up of one day so I could prep a bit.  Thanks 5th Grade!
*  Walked into Mrs. Kline's class and the t-shirts looked amazing!
*  While in Mrs. Kline's class Shilah asked me to read to her, by the end of the story my group had grown to nearly double digits!
*  Mrs. Moffitt's students shared with me their new jobs and their excitement in Timmy's return!
*  Loved Mrs. Smith's wonderful reaction on Monday, I walked in and she joyously stated how excited she was that all her students were there today!
*  Got a lot accomplished with Mrs. Archer this week.  Plus Seth couldn't find his afro...good news everywhere!
*  Got a kick out of the hats on hat day.  Reminded me of elementary school, sometimes it is important to find your niche.  Lots of kids participated!
*  Breaking News! 4th grade is going to be singing the National Anthem at 6pm on Feb. 1st.  This is a home Western Basketball Night.  Very excited to come and watch!
*  Walked into Mrs. Gibbs class after break and heard all about the wonderful reading students did over break.  One student in particular raved about reading the Hobbit and then getting to watch the movie with his dad!  #loveoflearning
*  Enjoyed seeing the New Years Resolution papers in Miss Hinkley's room.  Very motivated students and great sharing by Miss Hinkley.
*  Hearing wonderful things about Mrs. Hurt's BrainBreaks!  Kids are more focused, energized, and loving school.  Way to go Joleen!
*  Liked seeing Mrs. Soper's shaving cream Polar Bears.  Smelled good in her room as well.
*  Kudos to Mrs. Powers, Mrs. Williams, Mr. Raymond and Mrs. Rouse for dealing with lots of sick kids and other icky things this week.
*  Well done Mr. Raymond! Brought in his deer head from the fall.  Shared info with young Taylor and he was captivated by the details.  #NiceRackontheDeer #justsayin'
* National Mentor Month, try thinking of something to do for the mentors that come to your classroom. #givingback


Articles Worth Your Time:

Pros and Cons of Computer Labs shared by @POUSDsupt and @principalspage

Denton Elementary Drops Number Grades shared by @drjolly

Prezi Michigan by Kelly Moore shared by @dreambition

21 things 4 students shared by @mi_remc

50 things EVERYONE should know how to do by @marcandangel  (I'm great at #14, got work to do on #5 and #26

Shut Up and Run blog by @ShutUpandRun


Videos Worth Watching:

Ellen cracks me up! (3min)




Very uplifting, love his sense of humor.  Powerful speaker and worth your time. (12 min)




Notre Dame got beat up last Monday, but Bama will never have Rudy. (2 min)





A view from the boardwalk in San Diego, I ran this each day.  Amazing that on Saturday the temperature is 58 degrees in Spring Arbor and only 52 in San Diego.



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