6/15/14 @ideaguy42 talks #edcampusa and #iste2014 (161:365)

source: projectpln.com

source: projectpln.com

This week the Principalcast Crew hosts Bob Dillon, Director of Technology and Innovation at Affton School District in St. Louis Missouri. His blog Principally Speaking was a finalist in the 2013 Edublogs Awards, and he has been blogging since 2010!

Bob is fresh off of participating in the first #edcampusa. He is excited to share his experiences with the Principalcast audience. In addition, Bob will be talking about the upcoming #iste2014 conference in Atlanta.


Visit Principalcast on Sunday, June 15, 2014 @ 9:30pm EST live on Teachercast.tv ….. We will be waiting for you!

Transformation of Learning Spaces (159:365)

source: www1.toronto.ca

source: www1.toronto.ca

Why do we scoff at the idea of making schools into learning spaces similar to google, or apple? Why do we feel it is still appropriate to require students to sit in rows in the classrooms that are painted an institutional color? Why is that such a problem?  60 years of brain research would say it is not a problem, in fact, transformation is desperately needed!


Thankfully, there are trailblazers among us who have challenged the process of what schools should or could look like. These trailblazers have worked collaboratively with the brightest architects, designers, and thinkers in order to transcend and transform learning spaces. Here are just a few who have been successful in creating 21st Century Learning Spaces:


Dwight Carter – Worked collaboratively to build a new building Clark Hall for his existing high school in Ohio. Its funny because when people visit Clark Hall, Dwight says they have 2 similar reactions. “1. this is amazing and 2. we can’t do this where I work.”


Hilliard School District- Studied Clark Hall and then implemented changes in learning spaces in their district.


Erin Klein – Has worked tirelessly to reinvent her classroom each year. She also provides multiple resources on her Pinterest page.


Cybraryman – Here are a list of excellent resources for redesigning learning spaces .


It can be done!!!






The Gutsy Leader: Tales from the inside (158:365)

Source: www.fierceinc.com

Source: www.fierceinc.com

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about the Hechinger Report regarding Gutsy leaders. The purpose of the post was to shed some light to the aspiring administrators who are charged up about applying their learning and leading a school. It can be very difficult for them to not only find a job, but more importantly, find a match. See, once on the “inside” Gutsy leaders require a lot of work, administrative support, and freedom. So let’s take a peek into a fictional, Gutsy leader named Jennifer. The attributes of Jennifer were developed from Gutsy leaders throughout the globe through Social Media.


Jennifer is considered by most to be the most innovative administrator in her district. In a relatively short amount of time (she has been a high school principal for 5 years) she has presented at local, state, and national conferences. She has a large following of educators on Twitter, and is often consulted on topics such as innovation, technology, maker spaces, PBL, and professional development. She comes to work early, stays late. She documents (or brands) her school through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Her teachers have benefited from Jennifer’s leadership as they have access to the latest technology, but more importantly a support that transcends what they have ever experienced. Her students adore Jennifer. She knows the students quite well, and has a unique ability to always view them in a positive light. Parents are extremely supportive of Jennifer because they have seen their children grow into 21st century learners as a result of her leadership. They are proud to have her on board!


Yet, life in administration for Jennifer is difficult and lonely. People often think she is a self-promoter. They criticize her student’s assessment results, and feel they should be performing better. They say she has too much fun at school. In district Professional Development workshops other teachers are tired of hearing about Jennifer and her school. These teachers feel they are doing a great job as well, but never seem to be recognized. Other administrators roll their eyes when Jennifer talks about a new technology that can help them improve their communication with staff. Some of them think she is a “show off” and makes them look bad! The superintendent is often asked why she spends so much time at Jennifer’s school, and why does she allow Jennifer to have such professional freedom. Some community members feel that the superintendent plays favorites, and attribute Jennifer’s success to her support. Jennifer’s superintendent wished that more of her administrators would follow the district vision, and be more innovative in their schools and departments. Her superintendent, under Jennifer’s lead, has become “connected” and often seeks out ways to help her district become more 21st century.


Jennifer finds solace in her Professional Learning Network. She even finds it funny that people in her own district think she is so innovative, because she has a tough time keeping up with what other administrators are doing throughout the globe…. “If they only knew,” she often says to herself. Jennifer tries not to dwell on the way others view her because she believes in only being positive. She does her best to stay humble, and focused on the students…. She knows that she is blazing trails and won’t stop because she may have stepped on other’s toes, or upset the apple cart… Jennifer is a Gutsy leader, but it is not easy!

Do we really want Gutsy Leaders? (157:365)

Source: www.success.com

Source: www.success.com

I was recently sent the Hechinger Report article titled, “Wanted: More Gutsy Leaders to Drive Schools Into a Digital Age.” I found the article well-written, inspiring, and very necessary! There were some really good challenges embedded in the article. Unfortunately, as I thought about all of the aspiring educational administrators who are looking to find that “dream” job the realness of the education landscape set in. The aspiring admins get charged up while in Graduate School, or through reading about exceptional leaders who make lasting change…. Then….. what happens?


The truth is that most school districts do not want Gutsy Leaders, Digital Leaders, or even Inspirational Leaders. I have talked with aspiring administrators throughout the country who continue to be passed up for known commodities (insiders), ed reformers, or people who are the right fit (translation: the district wants the same). Honestly, most aspects of education are very traditional and it is no surprise that it hasn’t changed much over the last 100 years….. and the more important question is why? Why change?


Those districts who are succeeding on standardized assessments do not want some Gutsy Leader to come in and tip over the apple cart. It may mean a lot of extra work for both upper administration and the teachers… Those districts who are on the brink of state takeover for poor performance are looking for ed reformers to carry out the privatization/charter agenda. These districts want results, but they also want you to subscribe to their reform niche that may make an investor lots of money…. Then, there is the culture of hiring “our own.” Most districts want to take care of people who are accustomed to how things are run, and it can be extremely difficult for an “outsider” to get a chance. So it looks daunting for the Gutsy, Digital or Inspirational Leaders… But not impossible!


Sunday, June 8 @Principalcast hosts @dwight_carter (156:365)

Dwight Carter

Dwight Carter

This Sunday, June 8 at 9:30 PM est on the Principalcast Team hosts Dwight Carter. He will be talking about Classroom Spaces in the 21st Century. When he was at Gahanna Lincoln High School, he lead the charge to build a 21st century high school (Clark Hall). Clark Hall will certainly re-think educational spaces!

According to his website, Dwight was named a one of three 2013 NASSP Digital Principals of the Year. The recent addition to GLHS, Clark Hall, helped the district earn 2012 Best In Tech by Scholastic Administrator magazine. His mission is to positively change lives and impact futures. He believes in the power of collaboration, continuous learning, hard work, and celebrating progress and achievement of students and Staffulty (staff and faculty). He was inducted into the Jostens Renaissance Educator Hall of Fame in July, 2010. He is passionate about creating the best possible learning environment for all stakeholders to be successful. Dwight recently wrote the Foreword to Dr. Judy Brunner’s most recent book, Now I Get It! Differentiate, Engage, and Read for Deeper Meaning.


Tune into Teachercast at 9:30 PM EST on June 8 to connect with Dwight! Be sure to follow #principalcast for live tweeting!

Branding Our New Bears (155:365)

Each parent will receive the photo we took :)

Each parent will receive the photo we took 🙂

Yesterday we hosted the incoming Kindergartners. We wanted to make the day day special for them and their parents. In order to do this we talked about some ideas and agreed to get the new bears familiar with our brand…. Along their tour they received Bacon Stickers (with our hashtag), pencils, and bracelets. When they visited the Kindergarten classrooms, each student received a stuffed teddy bear with a message “Future Bacon Bear” on it. At the conclusion of their tour, we took a picture of each child with the sign “Future Bacon Bear.” We thought they really liked their visit.


Then, we heard back from the Child Family Center where all the students currently attend and the Bears were the buzz of the school! The teachers remarked about how awesome they thought the idea was and what an impact it had on the students. Even our current students mentioned how they wished that they had received a Bear entering Kindergarten!

What Challenges You? (154:365)

Source: www.businessreviewusa.com

Source: www.businessreviewusa.com

What challenges you? What is it about life that makes you get up in the morning to face the day? Recently I have been thinking about these questions, and I usually end up with the same answer! If it is easy (and not a challenge) then I really do not want to be part of it!

For instance, being a principal is a demanding job (as I am sure most jobs are) but cowering away from challenges and obstacles should not be part of our vocabulary. We have too much responsibility to the students, community, and other educators throughout the world to not face up to our challenges.


There are many challenges in education….

  • Technology?
  • Personnel?
  • Curriculum?
  • Time?
  • Feedback?
  • Assessment?


What challenges you?

Are we there yet? End of School Year with @curtrees (153:365)

The recess kickball legend

The recess kickball legend

The Principalcast crew recently interviewed Curt Rees about the end of the school year. He offered suggestions and tips for ending the school year on a positive note. He suggests that principals get as much information to the teachers as possible before leaving for the summer. He works very hard to get the schedule, class lists, and as much other planning for the new school year completed.


Curt encourages teachers and administrators to learn as much as possible over the summer. As for Curt, he will be continuing his Doctoral program at University of Kentucky, participating in chats through twitter, and doing lots of reading. He also suggests that educators spend time eating correctly and exercising to avoid the “end of the school year” burn out.



Check out the podcast in its entirety:

I hope you had the time of your life (152:365)

I have been writing a lot lately about our Alumni Night…. I can’t help myself! It was such an awesome event. One of the things we did to honor the past was to make an animoto using Green Day’s “Time of your life” song. I have always loved that song and it fit so well with what we were trying to capture. The Alumni were so gracious to bring in their yearbooks, photos and other memorabilia. We wanted a way to capture the images and that is why we did the animoto.


Here is the animoto we used for the Alumni Night