Dealing with Difficult Parents (346:365)



What do you do when parents are not sending a positive message to the kids or school community?


I was recently reflecting on this after having one of the most mind-blowing conversations I’ve ever had with a parent. Without going into detail, I walked away from the conversation feeling sorry for the kids that have to deal with this everyday! I know I didn’t get through to this person, and I am not sure what else I (or anyone else for that matter) can do.


After the encounter, and preparing for this blog, I got some tips from Todd Whittaker, who wrote the book Dealing With Difficult Parents.


  • Dealing with difficult parents requires that Principals first deal with themselves. You do not have to prove you are in charge because everyone knows you are in charge
  • Effective Principals never argue, scream, use sarcasm or act unprofessionally
  • Principals are the role model for parents, teachers, students and other staff – You have to act like it!
  • If a parent is being rude and belligerent to you, try this, “Please don’t speak to me like that. I will never speak to you like that and I will never speak to your child like that.” If you are really confident in the professionalism of your staff, you can add in – “And no one from this school will ever speak to you or your child like that”
  • Here is the entire article


How do you deal with difficult parents in your district?

Making Connections (344:365)

How do you make connections? I was thinking about this the other day. In addition to the face-t0-face conferences, everyday life, work etc there are so many ways for you to make connections.


Here are 5 simple approaches to making connections with other educators:

1. Twitter – Perhaps the most utilized approach for educators to connect around the world. Its free, and as Jenny Grabiec says, “It’s frequently amazing.”

2. Facebook – Sometimes referred to the granddaddy of connections, Facebook allows for greater connection with colleagues near and far. You can learn about family, interests and of course what a person values.

3. Voxer – Voxer is growing in popularity because there are educators using the app for a back-channel. Voxer allows for speaking, pictures and text.

4. Blogging – There are hundreds of thousands of blogs…. who are you reading? In reading blogs, and commenting, you can easily make connections with other educators.

5. Google + – Google+ is one of the fastest growing social networks. Anyone who has a Google Email has a Google + account. Now it is time to build your circles and learn from others using Google +


These are just 5 quick ways to make connections.

Ipevo IDevice Stand (343:365)

IMG_2875Look what just came in the mail! I was looking for something like this as I try to utilize my iPhone to it’s full capacity. Fortunately, the folks at iPevo know design, know educators and are constantly trying to make products to help improve our productivity. This stand allows users to work hands-free if they are watching a video or checking their device. The stand also will provide an easy method for scanning or taking pictures of documents – PAPERLESS!!!!


In addition, the feature that I look forward to most is the steady-cam. Now I can work with teachers and student to video chat or create videos for the school. This will be awesome!


If you get the chance, check out iPevo’s site because they have lots of products that are designed to make our lives easier.

You are valuable (342:365)

IMG_2863Today we began the 12 days of Bacon. I got this idea from my co-hosts on the PrincipalPLN. We were talking about how to celebrate staff during the holidays. Throughout the conversation, Jessica shared a few ideas that she received from other principals.


Throughout the next two weeks, I will do something everyday for the staff. Most of these ideas won’t cost any money, but rather they are designed to show the staff how much I really value them. I know that as things get busy, I just don’t do it enough. So there is no time like the present.


Today I kicked off the 12 days of Bacon with giving each staff a 100 Grand Bar because they are valuable. I will update the blog as we go through the 12 days leading up to the Holiday Break.

Welcome to the House of Edtech (341:365)

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by the House of Edtech creator, Chris Nesi. Chris interviewed me for my book Connected Leadership: It’s a Click Away.

According to the Chris, “I recommend that you check out Chris’s podcast. The House of #EdTech is the podcast that explores how technology is changing the way teachers teach and the impact that technology is having in education. My objective is to discuss the technology that is changing our classrooms and schools. You can count on House of #EdTech information you can hear about today and use tomorrow. Because whether you use it or not technology is changing the way we teach and how our students learn.”

What are we filtering? (340:365)

Thanks to

Thanks to Christopher Harris for this amazing quote

Saw this quote on Twitter and it really got me thinking about filtering. Some people are spending more time filtering as opposed to teaching students good digital citizenship and responsibility. I guess I equate it to when I was younger and we had magazines.



There were all types of magazines, and for some reason teachers didn’t like when I brought in my Transworld or Thrasher magazines. For those of you who were not skateboarding in the 1980s, those magazines highlighted the stories and accomplishments of skaters. Anyway, teachers who did not understand the magazines or failed to take time to actually read them, made it their purpose to confiscate them and assign detentions. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the phrase, “Put that away or I will take it!” What lesson was I learning besides compliance?


Put that away or I will take it! All I learned was compliance….


In hindsight, I wish that someone would have taken the time to read the magazine with me, or better yet use it as a learning experience for projects including math, LAL, science, physical education or social studies. Nope. Put it away or I will confiscate it. Sometimes when I hear about (I even experience it as a Principal) the web filtering and blocking of sites it makes me think back to those days in the 1980s. Sometimes there is such a disconnect between students, teachers and learning.

Sometimes you just have to pitch in (339:365)



Every once in awhile, no matter how many substitutes you have, there will be a time when you have classes that unfulfilled. What do you do in those situations? In my opinion, as the leader, you have to step in and be a substitute. There are many rewards to this, and it provides an opportunity to teach kids.


Here are my takeaways from being a substitute for a day:

  • Deepens connections with students – Depending on the subject, you can get a better understanding of how the students learn, and what teachers are teaching
  • Teachers should see the principal teach – We are the leaders of the building and we evaluate them on teaching, so we should be able to step in at anytime and model
  • Teachers have so much on their plate – To continually ask teachers to cover other classes sends them the wrong message. I believe it is important to value every position as much as possible
  • It helps you not to forget – No matter how long you are out of the classroom, you never want to forget what it was like when you were in the classroom! Teaching for a day every once in awhile will force you to value the demanding job of a teacher


What do you think? When was the last time you taught?



Honored! (338:365)


Click here to vote!

I want to thank everyone who nominated this blog for the Edublog Awards for Best Administrator Blog.

There are so many other awesome blogs and great friends who made the short list. Be sure to check out all of the dedicated Administrators who blog!


I also encourage you to vote for other categories and acknowledge the hard work of other educators!


How to Vote

You vote as follows:

1. Go to the Awards Category you want to vote on using the links above.

2. Click on the Thumbs Up icon on the blog, website or person you want to vote for.

That’s it! If you aren’t already logged in to, you can do so using a facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+ account.


Thanks again and please vote before the December 15 deadline.


Work Out Wednesday (337:365)

Cam and I hanging out on Workout Wednesday!

Cam and I hanging out on Workout Wednesday!

As leaders we have to take a look in the mirror…. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute… Does your staff want to come to work? I am sure everyone has varying answers on this, but we can play a HUGE role in creating a climate that values our staff. In working with my PLN, I asked for ideas that I could implement (I am on a budget of course) to make teachers look forward to coming to work. My PLN came through in a big way.


Someone suggested that we allow the teachers (and students of course) to wear workout gear on Wednesdays. The idea resonated with me because we are a Silver Medal Healthy School. It would serve many purposes. I immediately discussed it with our Healthy School PLC and they loved the idea. We went with it. The program is completely voluntary and there is no “workout” required because by simply wearing the gear we are sending a message to the students that we VALUE exercise! So far the feedback has been amazing.

Here are a few of the comments that I have heard:

  • I look forward to Wednesdays and I NEVER looked forward to Wednesdays before
  • I can model healthy lifestyles for my kids
  • On one hand I feel more relaxed, and on the other hand I feel more energized
  • The kids love it and it is easier to integrate fitness breaks while not wearing high heels

This is the second week of the program! We already have 3rd and 4th grade students “competing” against each other for a few minutes in the hallway after announcements. This week they played a game that required strategy and fitness!


The sky is the limit with Workout Wednesdays! Any school can do it and it doesn’t cost a thing!