The code (47:365)



All organizations have a code, or unwritten rule about “how things are.” What is your code? Is a code of honor, or a code of secrecy?


There are many examples of codes within organizations, communities, and even families. For instance, one of the codes on the street is “snitches get stitches.” No one would dare tell the local police about a problem someone else is having for fear of being labeled a “snitch.” So when the police start asking questions, no one speaks up… not even a peep. Some people would find that type of thinking deplorable for a business, school or even professional association. I agree.


Unfortunately, as we deal with the code, whatever that may be, we find out a lot about ourselves, our values, and our ethics. Is it easier to turn the other way and ignore things, or not speak up? Society teaches us that those who speak up can either be glorified and protected as a whistle blower or vilified as snitch…. What do you think?

Who Cares About School Finance? (45:365)

I am teaching a graduate class on School Fiance for aspiring administrators. I have learned so much more about School Finance then I did before teaching. Unfortunately, in education, we like to leave all the “budget” stuff up to the Business Administrator. This is not a good idea because the impact can detrimental to the kids in your school.


One of the assignmets asked the students to compare and contrast two videos on School Fiance. The first video was the TED talk from Bill Gates and the second was from students in a school district in Ohio. The balcony vs. the floor? Watch and decide.

Bill Gates: TED Talk How State Budgets Are Breaking US Schools

The World of School Finance

BINGO! (44:365)

bingoLast night our Home and School Association partnered with our Family and Community Engagement PLC to put on an amazing Sweetheart Bingo Night. This was truley a team effort coordinated by dedicated staff and parents who know that the more our family and community is engaged with the school, the better everyone will be.


Our local business donated over 500 dollars of prizes for the Bingo winners. Despite an expected Blizzard we had over 100 people attend the event. In addition to the Bingo games, we played music, acted silly, and made sure everyone had a great time! This was one of our most successful, collaborative events of the year!


It makes me proud to be a Bacon Bear!

Cultivating African American History (43:365)



We make sure to help each other (and our students) cultivate an appreciation for African American History Month. Everyone knows it should be more than just one month, but for some it could be the beginning to a journey of understanding, valuing, and integrating African American History into the curriculum, into their life.


It starts with awareness and appreciation for diversity. Then, it expands to include an understanding of cultures and their impact on education. Finally,  it becomes part of what you do and who you are.


Your journey to embracing diversity and cultural awareness could start now, with a month dedicated to cultivating African American History…. It could be a gift… cultivate it!

Community Relations (42:365)



One of the cool aspects of being a Principal is in the area of developing community relations. For instance, today I spent about 2 hours canvasing the city talking with business owners about our upcoming events. Technically, I was seeking donations for these events, but through this process I was able to meet so many people. Some managers would ask about the school or mention someone they know who went there. I met a few Alumni who had attended the school before I was the principal. They told about the “good old days” and how much fun they had.


Tomorrow I will be out and about again. My goal is to establish a relationship with as many businesses as possible to raise awareness of the school as well as prizes and gifts for our students. And I am getting out of the office to make these connections!



Active Reading in 21st Century (41:365)

5th grade student actively reading online through Reading Street

5th grade student actively reading online through Reading Street

To some the term Active Reading may sound like an oxymoron… Isn’t reading supposed by relaxing? Well, yes and no. In order to teach kids the skills needed to comprehend and make higher level connections, they need to be active readers. So how do you make reading active?


Well, if you want to be 20th century about it, you can teach kids to use post-its or flags to mark their learning. It is a tried and true way that students have been using to mark their learning. I used it alot in graduate school, and it sure made my classmates and professors feel I was active with my reading. But as the 21st century crawls into schools, how do you teach students to active read on a device?


One of the ways that our students are able to access text is online. We are currently piloting Reading Street to see how this program assists students in meeting the needs of the Common Core and 21st century learning. To be honest, Reading Street did their homework. Students can interact with the text by flagging, marking and even adding hyperlinks for words they struggle to grasp. Even better, these active reading strategies are there for them when they return to the text. So their text becomes a platform to go global, make connections, and take reading to a whole new level.

What is the Purpose? (40:365)



When I think about organizations, I always ask myself the question what is the purpose?  No matter the organization, there is always a purpose… With that said, I am not sure everyone knows the answer to that question…


How do we determine the purpose of an organization? Is it the mission? Vision? Values? or even the goals? Is it the strategic plan? What is the purpose? I know, I ask a lot of questions….


Who determines purpose? For instance, does the State Department of Education determine a school or district’s purpose? Or is it the parents, administration, teachers or students? As a principal, I feel the purpose of our school is to provide a safe, world class environment for learning, life long learning. Everything else is secondary or should tie in with that. Purpose is important because it trumps pay, and is what drives me to be a better leader, learner and collaborator.


What is your purpose?…..





There is a lot to laugh at (39:365)



Ask anyone who works for me what I enjoy most and you will most likely hear “he likes to laugh and he likes others to laugh.” After a rough day, week or even just to lighten things up, I seek laughter. Good laughter that does not come at the expensive of others (unless it is myself). I am so glad the staff I work with gets this about me. I truly believe if you can’t laugh at yourself, then there is nothing to laugh at.


Usually the staff will hear me say off the wall things to parents, teachers or students. For instance, this week they over heard me imitating a duck call for a parent of a student who was distracting others. Yes, I made the duck call. Or the other Spike-isms I have developed on the fly. I strive to be real and not have the air of a distant “school administrator.” When the day is over, I am a father, husband, friend, and jokester. I am a person!


So on Fridays, we love to hang out after dismissal and laugh! We laugh at each other, the silly things that happened during the week or crazy stuff I have done or said. It is therapeutic and necessary. It is a way to shake off the stress.


Laugh! Because there is a lot to laugh at!



Butt-ing in Line (38:365)



Ask any elementary principal this question and I can guess their answer, “Do you have problems with kids in lines?” I guarantee you that everyone will say YES! I was thinking about this today when I saw yet another write up of a kid in line.


No one likes when kids butt in line. When I was a kid I didn’t like it and I am sure you didn’t either. I talk to kids all the time about butting in line. I ask Why so often. Why do you care? Why do you butt? Why did you step on their toe? Why did you push him/her? It’s not like teachers aren’t teaching it because I see evidence of their efforts. Teachers in early grades practice standing in line. They try different combinations of the line. There are line leaders, tails, trails and the strong middle. Everyone has a place. Everyone will get a turn. Yet it goes on and on.


Fortunately, the older I get, the less I have to stand in line. I find myself in lines if I am going to a busy concert, sporting event or a supermarket before a snow. I am thankful I don’t have to sit in traffic because some of those lines are long! I have been more than annoyed at adults who just can’t wait their turn and butt in line. When this happens, I think of what I tell the kids and try to find peace with it.


Somewhere along the line (no pun intended) it stopped mattering….