I can’t recommend educational conferences highly enough, for all levels of leadership, for all levels of learners.
Now I say that with the following caveats…I think learning is fun. I think FUN learning is important. I think everyone can grow and be better. I enjoy being challenged and pushed out of my status quo complacency.
Luckily, there were so many opportunities for this to occur at the #NAESP18 conference this week. While there’s only so much I can cram into my brain but here are the FIVE fun & easy takeaways that I am going to make happen THIS year.
- Welcome to Whitt, kinder bags! Hand out bags stocked with information, a book, playing cards, crayons, a card game, and “tool sheets” to new kinder families…You can read what Jessica Cabeen, former kinder principal extraordinaire puts in her bags here. What are things that your kinder kids could benefit from? I’m going to add #thewylieway info, welcome postcards with a video from me, and PTA info.
- Host your own maker space! I really enjoyed Joe Mazza presentation on Maker Dads. MakerDads is about supporting fathers everywhere to step up and create real-life, low-cost learning experiences for their kids from day one of their parenting careers. An added dimension is connecting fellow #Makerdads around the country with the use of technology, social media and facilitating a ParentCamp. My favorite line was that dads don’t come unless they are DIRECTLY invited. Inviting families doesn’t equal saying DAD’s, come on out! I want to add a “tech autopsy” to our maker space, space where students (in a supervised manner!) can take apart old technologies. Follow Maker Dads here!
- Start “Kid Principal” videos! Interview a student from each class, one grade level at a time. I can see them asking ME questions, or me asking them things like, “What do you think I do all day?” or “What’s the most fun thing at Whitt?” these will be shared out once a month! Just another gem of greatness from Jessica Cabeen! For more of what she did to earn her title of Nationally Distinguished principal, you can purchase her book, Hacking PK- 3 Learning here!
- Set big goals? Who holds you accountable? Sean Covey talked about the practice of setting “WIG’s”. That stands for wildly important goals…not to be confused with a “PIG”, which is a “pretty important goal”. He encouraged students to set goals, which we’ve all heard of, but an added twist, he suggested asking students to detail HOW they are going to get to their goals. For example, instead of just saying I want to run a marathon (Clarification: this is an example, I have zero desire to run a marathon…or actually to run, period. :)) he tells you to break it down. List three things you can to do help get yourself to that goal, like run three times a week, drink more water, and eat two healthy meals a day. That adds specificity to the goal, rather than it being broad and undetermined. He also suggests that you have an accountability partner you meet with to go over your progress in your goals. I love the idea of this with students AND teachers, and hope to incorporate it into our Wed-zen-days we’re starting this year.
- Competitively encouraging the #wearewhitt pride! Joe SanFelippo offered a tee-shirt to the first five people who found him at a school district event and could recite the district mission statement. He mentioned doing it at all events, like open house or muffins with moms. I LOVE the idea of a fun giveaway that I can share in crazy fun ways. This one was easy and involved both big and little Wolves…and that just makes my heart so happy. Never miss an opportunity to say or share something great about your school! This idea and others can be found in him and Tony Sinanis’s book, Hacking Leadership.
As always, my absolute favorite part was the people who I got to connect with. At one point, I looked up to realize that at the table with me included teh accolades of three Nationally Distinguished Principals, published authors, and a prolific podcaster, in additional to a tattooed skateboarding principal who is redefining what we do as administrators. It’s impossible not to want to be better.
Whether it be from a hashtag, a chance meeting or an impromptu hallway smackdown…the relationships that can be developed, are not only real, they are inspiring.
#NAESP proud &