Who is your favorite President? (49:365)

Source: www.whitehouse.gov

Source: www.whitehouse.gov

Since we celebrated President’s Day yesterday, I thought I would share my favorite president. Honestly, I am not much of a history buff, so there are scores of Presidents that I know little about. My favorite President was John F. Kennedy and fortunately my son (who is 9) shares the same choice. He says he likes JFK because he created the Peace Corps and the Peace Corps really help people!


I am intrigued by Kennedy’s presidency. Often shrouded in mystery and scandal, Kennedy’s presidency was short lived. He was only in office for 3 years, but many people in our country resonated with his vision. He tried to bring the country into a new era of looking towards the future and beyond the war-torn 1950s. For some, Kennedy was the King, others he was the people’s champion, and still others saw him as a target. About two years ago I was able to visit Dallas for the Texas ASCD Conference. I did the tour of the Book Depository, and Dealey Plaza. I even ventured to the grassy knoll. It was a surreal experience and one that I highly recommend others to try.


No matter your political views, celebrating President’s Day is an amazing way to learn more about our country!

The code (47:365)

source: rapgenius.com

source: rapgenius.com

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)

source: www.clker.com

source: www.clker.com

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)

source: will.illinois.edu

source: will.illinois.edu

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)

Source: www.purposeofschool.com

Source: www.purposeofschool.com

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?…..