Insights Into Learning

Breaks (109:365)



There is an ebb and flow to the school year. Breaks are often positioned at the right time. As we battle the cycle of sacrifice, we seek to find that cycle of renewal. The cycle of renewal is important to survive as a professional.

Even though our spring break is a little shorter this year because of the snow storms this winter, I am extremely excited for the days we do get.


So for the next few days as we are on “break” I will be recharging the batteries, spending time with the family, and getting back into the gym. I will be relaxing, and making sure to enjoy this time.


What are you doing on your break? How do you recharge your batteries?



“Be the hero of your own movie” @joerogan (108:365)

Wow is this a good message…. Be the hero of your own movie…. Joe Rogan delivers this powerful message in 1:19… I have no words other than to please check this out…



More information on Joe? Follow him on twitter

Summative-ly Speaking and Listening (107:365)



This is the summative season! Time to get your notes, SGOs, PDP, teacher evaluation, etc, etc, together and work on the summative process. As a principal, this is my favorite time of the year. I am sure you are wondering…..why? Well, the way I see it, despite the process, mandates, accountability etc. I actually enjoy sitting down one-on-one with my teachers and talking. I think they do as well.


Sure, we cover the summative evaluation, discuss goals for next year, report out on the Student Growth Objectives, but we also catch up. Since we are all so busy, I don’t get enough time to actually just sit and talk with the teachers. I also take the time during these meetings to LISTEN…. Each teacher is different, so each meeting is different. Some teachers want to go over the evaluation form line by line, others want to talk about next year. Just like every student is unique, every teacher is unique. The beauty of being a principal during this phase of the year is spending the time (no matter the direction of the meeting) and listening…..

Do the dishes or blog? (106:365)



I think that sometimes in life we get into an “either or” mentality. For instance, some people I talk with about blogging feel that they have so many other things they could be doing, that they could never blog. I was talking with someone who actually said, “What am I going to do? I have dishes to do. How can I blog?” Believe me, I completely I understand, I am often faced with the same situation. I just usually do both!


When I look at activities I am engaged in, I feel it is important to be fully present. Yet, when I am doing something mundane (like the dishes, mowing the lawn etc) I come up with great ideas…. At least I think they are great ideas. For instance, while I was doing the dishes the other night, I thought about this either/or mentality and how it relates to blogging. I try not to compartmentalize because I feel that limits my thinking, ideas, and creativity.


So next time you are faced with doing the dishes, or something else….. I say do them both!

Calling all aspiring administrators (105:365)

Recently, the PrincipalCast crew hosted two superintendents to discuss suggestions for aspiring administrators. Dr. Dave Gentile, superintendent, Millville Public Schools, New Jersey, and Dr. Joe Sanfelippo, superintendent, Fall Creek School District, Wisconsin spent an hour with us discussing everything from the ever-changing expectations of the 21st century administrator to what to put on a resume. Throughout the conversation, it was obvious that we needed to have them back on the show because we simply didn’t get to everything. We will keep you posted when we have the follow-up show!





Just push publish (104:365)



There are many educators who do not share their story on Social Media. There are many reasons they give, but I am here to say that you have a voice, and we need to hear it. Could you imagine if every principal, every teacher and every student had a blog? We would have so many unique and fascinating stories from so many different perspectives.


If you are reading this and you have never written a blog post but want to start, send it to me as a”guest.” There are so many things you can write about: your school, teachers, students, something interesting you saw on the news, your leadership, your dreams…. the list goes on and on!


You have a story to tell and we can not wait to hear yours! Just push publish!



The Iceberg (103:365)



I saw this graphic on Facebook today. It was exactly what I needed to stay motivated. As the spring has sprung in Southern New Jersey, and everyone is outside, I am inside writing. Yes, it is a sacrifice, but I saw what everyone was doing today… and I applaud them! For me, I had a deadline, and a commitment that I made to myself in 1993… to write a book. So now, with an editor and publisher, I have to deliver a manuscript that is the best I can do.


Looking at the iceberg graphic helped me. We tend to focus on the success of others and forget (or not acknowledge) the hard work and determination behind the scenes. We forget about what Malcolm Gladwell talked about when he referred to success…. it is a lot of hard work… 10,000 hours of hard work! Soon I will be able to enjoy this sacrifice. For now, it is back to writing and revising, and writing some more.



Joining in…. (102:365)



Wait… What? Someone is joining in the #blog365 journey? Yes, in fact, Gina Silveria a wife, mother and principal is joining in… She read Digital Leadership, connected with what we are doing at RM Bacon Elementary, and decided that she, too, was going to blog!


I recommend that your follow Gina in her journey! I am excited to learn from Gina as she blogs on “Gina’s Blog.” Maybe you will join too!

Keep an open book (101:365)



School leaders have a responsibility to those they lead. No longer can we sit behind the fancy desks, or the suit and tie and expect to lead our schools. As we reflect on our mistakes, and learn from our lessons, it is crucial to “keep an open book.” Keeping an open book is basically taking everything we do (and since we are under a microscope already) and putting out there for others to see, hear and feel. For 21st century minded leaders, using a blog or other web 2.0 tool makes keeping an open book easy. In addition to blogs and web 2.0 tools, school leaders have Social Media at their fingertips to help them keep an open book.


Here are some basic tips or suggestions:

  • Use a blog or other web 2.0 tool to “tell your story” for yourself or your school or…. both
  • Use Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest, Google + or any other Social Media tool to get your message out
  • Be visible and accessible - Many school leaders have less then desirable duties that require them to be monitoring areas such as arrival/dismissal, cafeteria, etc. During those duties, realize that parents, students, and teachers need to be able to access you, not just see your presence
  • Build capacity with your staff – It is very easy to rely on Social Media, or visibility to be a successful leader, but what are you doing to allow others to grow?
  • Keep your book open - Everyone talks about keeping an open door, but do you keep an open book? Are you willing to learn? Are you modeling learning for your staff? Parents? Students?

One Hundred! (100:365)



Today marks the 100th day in a row for blogging. Granted, I have 265 more days to achieve my goal but I can honestly say I am excited! This medium of communication is part diary, part journal, part idea sharing, and part story telling. I think the Blog 365 project is requiring me to be more reflective in my leadership, and diligent with my writing process. Not a day goes by in 365 where I am not thinking about the blog!


Here are the things I have learned during the first 100 days:

- I have to keep track of days – I messed up sometime in the 80′s and had to re-number

- I can not blog every morning – So I either have a few posts over the weekend, or blog after work

- I have never had a lack of material to write – There is so much to blog about