A Huge Thank You To All, and To All a Huge Thank You!

June 3, 2015

June is quickly approaching, and there are lots of good old fashioned Thanks that I need to get out there!

To our amazing Volunteers and Parents – Not only are you there to help our students in the classroom on a day-to-day basis, you have been there to read with them, share stories with them, grow butterflies with them, learn about microbiology, coach soccer and develop sportsmanship, create and implement a morning physical education program called BOKS, cut a number of kids and the Principal’s hair right off for Shave your Lid for a Kid, and about a zillion other things as well! You are wonderful for what you bring and you make our students’ experience in school greater than anyone can possibly do alone!
(Look here for pictures of my Mohawk! How many Principals have Mohawks? This one!)

To our dedicated and hard-working Staff – You bring your heart, devotion and commitment with you every day and you make the lives of 320 students better every time you work with each child and support their learning! Your frustrations, struggles, and effort make the lives of each and every one of our kids better every day. Your smiling faces greet them as they walk in the door and kind words make all the difference! It is not easy work, but it is sooooooooooo imperative, significant and vital to our community and society! Great job folks!

To our magnificent and delightful Students – All of your hard work and effort has paid off! You have grown and improved and are developing into amazing citizens of our great country and community. You have been working to find your voice, to stand up for your peers, to show Respect and Ownership and a positive Attitude and Responsibility and Safety! You are all remarkable and I hope you continue to show the same growth every day of your life!  You are what makes my job so easy to come to each and every morning, and why I think I have the best job in the world! You teach me every day and keep me learning.

It has been my absolute honor to serve as your principal in my first year at Belvedere Parkway School this year! I look forward to moving and growing and changing and making our school, community, province, and country a better place, each and every day!

A Huge Thank You To All, and To All a Huge Thank You!

Work hard and learn tons,
Mr. R

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It Was About Time… EdCamp for Elementary School Principals

June 1, 2015

May 27, 2015 was a big day for professional learning for principals as part of the Elementary School Principals’ Association in Calgary. Much of the feedback that comes back from our ESPA colleagues is always how important time is for discussion, collaboration, exploration, teamwork and cooperation for our work as principals. We never have enough time with our colleagues…

Utilizing an “EdCamp” model, on May 27th we took the time to engage in intentional and purposeful discussion about emerging and essential topics and issues to our work as leaders of learning within our schools. An EdCamp is often called an “Unconference,” as it is not about “experts” and PowerPoints… It is about principals coming together and taking the time to collaborate and think together.

The ESPA EdCamp gave us the opportunity to learn from our colleagues as well as share our own talents and expertise. It was about the facilitation of professional conversations rather than PowerPoint presentations, providing a vehicle for our own individual learning and needs, and offers a great deal of talk time and reflection time.

EdCamp was about giving ourselves the TIME to think, question, discuss, engage, share, support, coach, learn, inquire, reflect and immerse ourselves in our deep work with our colleagues.

Our EdCamp sessions explored best practices in certain areas, shared ideas for improvement, and allowed us to discuss topics regarding transforming education to what we would like it to be.

  1. Voice and Choice – The goal was to enable all Principals to have a voice in the great work going on in their schools, not having one “expert” presenting a lovely PowerPoint. Principals connected with issues that were important and needed to them with colleagues that wanted to “get in the mud” with the same issue.
  2. Time for Professional Conversation and Collegiality – We have all sat in long sessions that did not go where we needed them to go. As an EdCamp is meant to be discussion-based, Principals could “choose with their feet” and make the day work for them, rather than have to conform to the conference format and sit quietly…
  3. Critical and Creative Thinking – As Principals, I am assuming we are all excellent learners and thinkers, but I know I do my best thinking in the company of others through discussion and “getting in the mud” with an issue. Hearing the thoughts of my colleagues pushed me further than I could go on my own…
  4. Problem Solving around Real Issues – EdCamp was not about someone sharing a project they did or hearing about research that may not be valuable for our own context and situation. Principals identified topics, chose topics online beforehand they were interested in, and then were able to participate in EdCamp sessions that were important to them. The sessions we engaged in are listed below, but these were all self-identified by the 115 member Principals of ESPA.
  5. Connecting Learning with Peers at Other School Buildings (physical and digital) – We know being a Principal can be a lonely job, as we just do not have the amount of time or opportunity to connect with other Principals in ways that meet our own needs. Today we had a whole day of connecting face-to-face, but we also used Google Docs to document our sharing and conversations so that if I could not be part of a specific discussion, I could still connect with the results. All of our members will have access to these docs after the day is done and gone.

It was an amazing opportunity to connect in meaningful ways with our principal colleagues.  We all took home new and innovative ideas.  It was very positive and allowed us to take the time we needed to connect, converse, discuss, share and learn. And to paraphrase George Couros, it was professional learning way beyond breakfast being the best part of the day…

Work hard, learn tons!

D


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