Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Like an onion. #savmp

This post will be one of many this year as I reflect and learn about being a leader as part of the School Administrator Virtual Mentor Program, or #savmp. I'm totally excited and honored to have Jessica Johnson as my mentor! I'm looking forward to really digging deeper into what I do as a school leader and how I can improve the work I do with students, teachers, families, and other educators.

The first question focuses on the idea of creating strong relationships to build a solid foundation in your school.

“What are some ways you connect with your school community?”

I read this question this morning and I have been thinking about it all day. 
So many layers. 
Like an onion.
My first thoughts focused on the different tech tools I use to communicate with families. And then my thoughts went to my commute. I don't live in Sacramento-- my commute is about 35 minutes, which can make it challenging to feel like I'm part of the community where I work. I even looked up dictionary definitions for the word connect. 

None of them exactly right. 
So many layers, like an onion.
But I did find one that I liked more than the others.

"to form a relationship"

As a school administrator, what are the things I do each day to connect, to form a relationship with my school community? 


Another word with many layers. 
Students. Teachers. Families. Other educators.
Like an onion.

What do I do every day to form a relationship with students, teachers, families, and other educators? I run through my day in my mind.

7:45 am... drop-off. My school has no buses, so all 355 students arrive by car. I love drop off. Every day, rain or shine, I'm out there... opening doors and saying good morning. It's one of my favorite parts of my day. I know it's how I learned the names of most of my students. Now, I'm learning the names of the little siblings in the car who are our future students. I love it when they wave at me and smile. 

Lunch. This year my lunch buddies are my TK friends. They are all five or almost five. Almost every day I spend lunch with them. I'll tell you it's because we need a little extra supervision, but really I hate to miss it. They are so funny and I could listen to them talk all day. Finally, yesterday, I know all of them by name. 

Pick up ends my day and those same kids arriving in the morning are lined up to go home. Again, in 30 minutes, I see almost every student in my school, and many parents. I'm directing traffic and smiling except for the one time I tripped and ended up with a bloody knee. 

I once worked in a school where a parent asked me who "that lady" was. She was our principal. I hope that never happens to me.

There are other things I do to form relationships with students and teachers. Every Monday is No Office Day for me and on that day I schedule no meetings and spend my day with students and teachers- some times teaching, always learning. 

I also teach an after school Minecraft Maker Club with Joe Wood and a parent so that we can explore different tech tools and maker space ideas in a small group before rolling it out school-wide. So far the kids have built a house in our MinecraftEdu server world and built a cardboard game as part of our first DIY challenge. Later this year I'll be leading choir with our Spanish teacher before school on Wednesdays. I can't wait!

And there are the tech tools. I love technology, but really the BEST thing about technology is the power it has to connect us to others and the world. My favorite tech tools include Remind for text messaging families important information about school. AudioBoom allows me to record student voices so they can tell the story of our school and it's published to our school website. We have a school blog and a closed Facebook Group for parents. Twitter and Instagram also let the community know what's happening in our school, not only for current families, but future families as well. 


So many layers.
Like an onion.
Always growing.

image credit

No comments:

Post a Comment