Insights Into Learning

Hear us ROAR! (113:365)



Every school has a story to tell, and as Eric Sheninger has said, “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.” Our school is currently going through a systemic process to “brand” our selves. Our good friends Tony Sinanis and Joe Sanfelippo have been great resources because they are currently the experts in the area of school branding. The host a podcast on BAM Network, have a twitter account for branding,  and they often blog about branding on their sites. I am looking forward to their book about branding scheduled to be released  in the fall of 2014 through Corwin Press!


As we embark on the branding process, we are critiquing everything we do, our mission/vision/values/goals all in an effort to promote ourselves. This process has involved the key stakeholders, and at each step we celebrate the process. For instance, we have a lot of content on Social Media, but we never did a video about our school. So, over the past 3 weeks we embarked on this journey and made it happen. I think this video is a great visual representation of RM Bacon. We are very fortunate to have had Alicia Mackall film, edit, and produce this video!


Here is our story!


What’s your school’s story? Please share :)

Do we limit the future? (112:365)



I am currently reading Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku. I actually purchased the book quite some time ago and was looking for something to read during Spring Break. There it was, and I thought…. I never did read that book, yet. Although I am only part way through the book, I wanted to share some of my insights on how Kaku warns us not to limit the future with our present thinking.


In the first chapter, Kaku discusses how we have predicted the future for hundreds of years. He gives examples of how some of the great authors, musicians and other creatives have attempted to chart a course of the future. I learned about Leonardo DaVinci who spent a great deal of time thinking of the future, and even designing objects that would look commonplace today.


In terms of limiting the future, Kaku shares stories of those people who completely underestimated the future. As I read through these stories, I felt a connection to what some people do to ideas today. There are those who shoot down ideas in meetings, or during brainstorming sessions. Maybe it is the glass half full perspective, but I think if we learn from those who were on the other side of history, we can learn how to not limit the future:

  • Charles Duell, in 1899, said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Charles was the commissioner of the US Office of Patents.
  • Harry Warner, in 1927, said, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” Harry was one of the founders of Warner Brothers.
  • Thomas Watson, in 1943, said, ” I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers.” Thomas was chairman of IBM.


The lesson here is that it is very dangerous to bet against the future ~ Kaku



Take a Challenge! (111:365)



What are you inspired by? How do you want to change? What do you need to get to the next level? If you are like me and are always thinking about these things, then you are not alone! What I am fascinated by is the challenge. We all have a challenge that is facing us. It is either in the mirror, at work, in the gym, in our house, or even in our mind.  Exactly how we get to our challenge is different for everyone.


I believe that challenges bring out the best in us. For instance, this Blog 365 challenge has been an area for my to write everyday. There have only been a few days where I was even close to not posting. 111 days into it and it has become part of what I do (and I have learned that it is now part of what a few others are doing as well). Well, I am currently working on my next challenge. This challenge similar to the Blog 365 but I will say it has nothing to do with blogging (although I know that I will certainly be blogging about it)! Until then, I have more work to do as I make a SMART goal and plan my challenge. As always, thanks for the support!


Be sure to connect … with a PLN(110:365)



There are so many ways to connect with people nowadays. So who do you connect with? and more importantly, why? If you are looking to connect with other like-minded individuals, I encourage you to develop a PLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network). It’s easy, it’s free and it could enhance your teaching, leadership and career. Don’t get trapped by the people around you. Expand from beyond your zip code to the globe! You never know what you will learn.

Thanks to John Spencer for this video:

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!