My Moment – Day 39 – Black History Month – Make a Difference

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

As you know, the month of February is recognized as Black History Month. Each year, we, as a collective staff at Sigler Elementary feel it is important to recognize and celebrate Black History Month. This year we took a different approach in celebrating Black History Month. Yes, we posted student made posters in the halls, recognizing historical figures students had researched, each year keeping posters students submitted to be shared the following year along with successful figures students can identify with. I enjoy walking the halls and seeing the students’ work on the walls, but…it was not enough. This year we extended invitations to our staff, parents and community members to submit a video response or participate on morning announcements, answering the question, “Why is Black History Month Important to You?”. We attracted responses from teachers, community members, relatives, parents and yes…even students. 

Last week, the President of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, President Michael J. Sorrell came and spoke with the boys in our 3rd-5th grades. The last question we asked President Sorrell…you got it, “Why is Black History Month Important to You?” His answer was one I had heard before, however it really got me thinking. It resonated with me. Clearly, I do not have the perspective President Sorrell has, being I am a white male, but as the principal of a diverse Title I campus, I appreciated his response. He answered, “I do not celebrate Black History Month. I celebrate history and I celebrate all history, regardless of race and ethnic background all year long.” What an awesome answer. Just the type of answer a room full of diverse male students needed to hear. 

Mrs. Cherise Jones, back on campus sharing about
Black History Month

Today we had another guest speaker, live on our morning announcements, sharing her answer to “Why is Black History Month Important to You.” Today’s guest was special because she was a former staff member who applied for and received a promotion at the end of last school year who came back to her former campus to share her answer. We miss the heck out of her, and it was so great to have her back on campus, sharing her experiences with our students and teachers. As she shared her response, she posed a challenge to ALL students. What difference can you make? What difference can you make, starting today? So powerful! 

While Black History Month comes to a close over the final days of February, I am reminded of the reflective and humbling words that have been shared by so many parents, teachers community members and students over the last four weeks. I am excited by the participation we had and by the pride shown by so many, when speaking of their heritage and the powerful message our students heard over and over. 

It is not about celebrating the heritage of any one race over a month. It is about celebrating all history, regardless of race, all year long and being brave enough, as brave or braver than our ancestors to begin making a difference…today. 

What was your moment today? 

My Moment – Day 38 – Sigler Family Literacy

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

Have you ever been a part of something great, but not been able to share it with anyone outside of your inner circle? Like keeping a big secret. 

Last June, visitors from Plano ISD’s Student and Family Services Department stopped by Sigler Elementary to discuss a potential opportunity for families within our community. For years, Plano ISD has had a Plano Family Literacy Program, “dedicated to building healthy families by developing life, literacy and parenting skills through intergenerational education. The Family Services Department and the leader of Plano Family Literacy had just wrapped up, submitting a grant through Toyota Family Learning and the National Center for Families Learning to bring a second family literacy site to Plano ISD. The idea of bringing a program like this to the Sigler community sounded amazing, but at the time it was all just an idea, dependent upon being chosen as the program site and whether or not the grant would be funded. 

In September, we started Sigler Family Literacy as an official second site of Plano Family Literacy. Twice a week, we welcome ELL families into our school building with their preschool aged children to ultimately “strengthen the parent-child bond and improve our community at the same time.” You can read more about the experience here: With Addition of Plano, Texas, Toyota Family Learning Expands to 11 Communities

Today was the day the secret was finally let out of the bag. No more hiding. It is time to showcase one more reason why Sigler Elementary is a darn great elementary school. It was an honor to be invited to the news conference announcing this amazing news. The guest list was truly a list of VIPs. There were representatives from the governor’s office, representatives from the offices of US Congressmen and state of Texas politicians as well. In addition, there were both city council and school board members, the Mayor of Plano along with dignitaries from Toyota and Sharon Darling the president and founder of the National Center of Family Learning. Then there was me. Truly an honor. 

Then, there in the back of the room, were the parents who have and are participating in the family literacy program at Plano Family Literacy and Sigler Family Literacy. Already in just a few short months, I have seen our parents grow, right along side their students. Parents are learning the English language, developing a deeper understanding of how they can help themselves and help their children and more importantly, are growing a generation of students who will, without out a doubt, learn how valuable school and literacy are in growing our future. 

We have only been at it a short time at Sigler and I am excited to see how this partnership between Toyota Family Literacy, NCFL and Plano Family Literacy will flourish for our students and families. 

Want to read more: Plano Family Literacy School

What was your moment today?


My Moment – Day 37 – Our Students are Worth It

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

Today was #WRAD16. As I mentioned in yesterday’s moment, I do not do anything halfway so we went big today and it was amazing! 

The staff and students at Sigler Elementary participated in #SiglerRAD focusing our work on “The Most Magnificent Thing” by Ashley Spires. Our day started at 9AM as students at Sigler, joined by a number of other Plano ISD campuses participated in a live reading of “The Most Magnificent Thing” via this @Zaption: http://zapt.io/t8e26uh6 and participated in a live Q&A via Twitter using the questions embedded within the Zaption, including the hashtag #SiglerRAD. Thank you to the Plano ISD campuses that contributed to our chat and #SiglerRAD.

Check out the @Storify of all the students’ responses: https://storify.com/matthew_arend/siglerrad

What you may notice in the @Storify is that there were campuses participating outside of Plano ISD as well. As a connected educator, I had sent out many tweets over the last week or so, encouraging other educators to join and connect during our #SiglerRAD (Read Aloud Day) and they did not disappoint.

In fact, the connections did not stop there. Following our live 9AM reading of “The Most Magnificent Thing” classrooms across Sigler Elementary were able to connect via Google Hangouts with students in classrooms outside of Plano ISD who had read the same book and wanted to share their answers with us. We connected with other elementary schools in Texas, including OC Taylor Elementary in Grapvine-Colleyville ISD and Sheldon Elementary in Sheldon ISD. The connections did not stop there. Students were also able to connect with campuses outside of Texas, including Carlisle Elementary in Arkansas. On Friday, we will follow up with an elementary school in Florida!

We live in a digital world and we must leverage the opportunities to connect our students with others both near and far with the technology we have access to. I was able to witness the joy and how proud students felt when they were able to share their answers. The work had a purpose. They were not just writing down answers that were inevitably going to end up in a trash can. Students were generating answers to questions they were going to share with an authentic audience of their peers, both online and face to face, regardless of how far apart they lived. My hope is that this experience today, leads to more connections with campuses, allowing our students to share learning experiences with peers that move beyond who we are sitting in the same room with, our even the same school district or state.

Events such as this take a little bit of planning, patience and flexibility, because as you know, technology does not always cooperate. I have to share a heart-felt thank you to the staff at Sigler Elementary who put the “curriculum” on hold for a moment today, allowing students to connect with authentic audiences across the state and country via Twitter, Google Hangouts or both. Regardless of the comfort level teachers held in using these technologies, everybody took a step outside their “comfort zones” today to bring a unique experience and opportunity into their classrooms for the students. We all realize…”It is not about us, it is about our students.” Our students are worth taking the risks!

As for the members of my PLN that made this happen across multiple school districts and states…thank you! This is another glowing example of the power of a PLN.

What was your moment today? 

My Moment – Day 36 – Learning Is a Process

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

I have never been the type of person to test the waters on something before committing. I am all or nothing. I jump right in. I “refuse to conform to social trends…”. In other words, I like to do things differently. Depending on who you ask, that can be a desirable leadership trait or one you may not fancy. Interested in reading more about me…check out this article, “People Who Wear Crazy Socks Are Smart, Successful and Revolutionary”

This week is #eweek2016 or Engineer’s Week and we are jumping right in. Students in our learning commons have been working on a collaborative project that will culminate as part of our open house for parents on March 3rd. We have identified the theme for our open house as “Siglerland”. Students have been using a science TEK across each of the grade levels that incorporates Force, Motion and Energy. The idea is that students will use the design process to create a ride, game or experience that would be seen at an amusement park. While each of the grade levels has a specific TEK or learning target, ALL students are working on the same project in the learning commons. They are creating a six hole mini-golf course using Spheros as the . The idea was inspired by a tweet posted by Dr. Brad Gustafson or @GustafsonBrad

Check out his Vine: https://twitter.com/GustafsonBrad/status/666280715265421314 


Over the last two weeks, our students have been working on their mini-golf course. I did not have any expectations going into this project and the only frame of reference I had was what I had seen on the Vine posted above. After two weeks of work, here is what our students have created so far. Thoughts? I certainly had mine. If I am being completely honest, looking at these compared to the examples that were shared in the Vine (linked above) from an aesthetics stand point, we are coming up a bit short. However, Siglerland does not open until March 3rd. 

I have kept a closer eye on the students working on the mini-golf course holes over the last week or so spending a moment or two observing students working and my perception has changed completely. We jumped into this work with two feet. We are all in. Using this and a couple other classroom projects between now and the end of the school year our students are going to be exposed to PBL and the design process…really, our teachers are too. Spending a few moments observing, I have noticed is that PBL and the design process are messy. There is a key word that I failed to recognize when I arrived at my first thought…process. After all, this is why we want our students involved in PBL and the design process, right? The product may not be flashy and it may not even be fully functional, but the process students are going through to arrive at the product is more valuable than what they will showcase next week. 

Let this soak in…our grade levels, made up of anywhere between 3-5 sections of classes, have come down to our learning commons, one class at a time and have collaboratively researched, imagined, planned, created, tested and evaluated, and improved a design. A design that in some cases, was not theirs to start with. We are talking about 5-11 year olds. Do you realize the restraint some students show, in not scrapping the prior idea and starting over completly, so the idea belongs to them? Instead, our students have improved or redesigned, making an original idea better. 

With the grand opening of Siglerland just over a week away, I am excited to see our students’ products on display, but more importantly, I am proud of the process they have worked through. Regardless of what the final product “looks” like, I am excited to hear our students explain the process they went through to arrive at their product. I want to hear what did not work. I want to hear what did. I want to hear what they would do differently. I want to hear about the process. 

Thankfully, learning is a process and I am continually learning what our students are capable of when presented with the opportunity. 

Learning is process and in this moment…it was a design process. 

What was your moment today? 


My Moment – Day 35 – When No One is Watching

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

“Because I won’t get in trouble.” Six words that have stuck with me since 10AM.

Behavior management in an elementary school is like peanut butter & jelly. The two just go together. When educating students between the ages of 5-11 there needs to be a consistent management system in place for students to learn from, teachers to references, parents to follow through with and most importantly, to outline expectations for each of the students. At a minimum, a common language between students and staff. But…at the end of the day, it is never about a program or system. It is about people. In this case, it is about the relationships established between educators and students and what fills the moments in between.

Looking for an example of what I am referencing…check out this blog post written by @Jonharper70bd “His Smile”.  Relationship matter!

I had just wrapped up a meeting with a team of teachers this morning as I walked down the hallway and saw it. I saw the way a student and a teacher were walking back into the grade level as if something had just happened and by the body language I was seeing, it was not a good thing. The student I am referencing just happened to be a topic of conversation with the grade level I had just left. I had let the team of teachers know I would be making an increased effort to connect with this student, multiple times a day…just checking in. Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I shared my plan, I would have an opportunity to begin connecting, immediately.

Like most things do, when you are having discussions involving behavior, a small deal becomes a big deal, relatively quick and involves more than just the one or two students you are speaking with. This was the case today. As I worked through the conversations, with both small groups of students and with individuals, I was reminded that our work is not done. Then I heard this statement, “Because I won’t get in trouble.” It was like a punch to the gut.

After talking with a couple of our students and getting to the bottom of what occurred, why it occurred and sharing why it should not occur again, I asked the students what they would do differently if they were in the same position again tomorrow. They answered…it was a great answer. Then I asked them why.

Their response: “Because I won’t get in trouble.”

Wrong answer.

I want students to make the choices they make because it is the right thing to do. Not because they “won’t get in trouble.” I tell our students it is not about the decisions you make when the teacher is around. If you make a poor choice with a teacher around, you get a reminder of the expectations. It is about the decisions you make when no one is watching. It is what defines you. It is your character. It is who you are as a person.

I am not sure why, but we dedicate ourselves (generally) to teaching math, science, reading…all the core content areas, but I wonder…why don’t we specifically teach behavior? Sure, we seize opportunities as teachable moments, but do we consistently teach behavior? Do we just expect students to walk in the door knowing how to add and subtract or multiply fractions? Of course not. We teach that. Why do we expect them to walk in the door knowing how to meet our behavior expectations without teaching them? I can think of all the easy answers, but I cannot think of a good one.

I look forward to the moments this student and I will have over the next several days & weeks, celebrating success and learning from the moments that are not our best.

My goal…the student’s character is built and we make better decisions when no one is watching because it is the right thing to do.

My Moment – Day 34 – Movie Night

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

I have to take a moment and make a shameless plug for the #NoOfficeDay. I was able to complete another #NoOfficeDay today, spending my entire day with the students and teachers in 1st grade. I strongly encourage you to check out the tweets today from @SiglerStars to check out my experience. While you are there, be sure to follow our @SiglerStars1st grade Twitter account. The students and teachers are looking to connect, share and learn from other connected classrooms and educators. As great of a day as today was, my moment actually happened after school. In fact, it is happening right now. Yesterday, I posted a moment that was a “celebrating parents” and as I currently sit in the front entry way of Sigler Elementary (yes, its 7:30PM), I can look up and see four empowered parents manning a concession stand for the students and families here for our Sigler Movie Night. Do you host movie nights at your campus? 

Three to four times a year, we open up our Sigler Gym and invite families to bring chairs, blankets & pillows to enjoy a night at the movies, right here at Sigler Elementary. Families come out, together (students cannot come alone) and simply enjoy being together as a family…at school. 

Movies can be expensive for a family of four. I know when I take my family, we can easily spend of $50. Why not give families the opportunity to grab dinner (bring it, to movie night), purchase a soda, popcorn or candy bar for a fraction of the price and enjoy a movie together, for free? Sounds like a no brainer…right? 

As this is my 34th moment, you can probably tell by now, I value relationships. I value culture. I value the community understanding their elementary school belongs to them. I believe it is our responsibility to provide opportunities for our school community to come together as a family for both academic and non-academic events. I want our parents to be comfortable enough being on campus, to simply come. If they are comfortable coming to campus for movie night, they will be more inclined to come for other events scheduled throughout the school year. 

As we know students will not truly embrace learning until they feel safe within their environments. Don’t you think the same is to be said about parents feeling safe within the same environment? 

What was your moment today? 

My Moment – Day 33 – Celebrating Parents

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

At the beginning of the school year I challenged all of our parents to find their place within our school community. It started by setting up ice cream socials within the neighborhood to connect and be present. No pressure to attend, no sales pitch. Just the opportunity for parents to be reminded their children attend a school that is truly a part of the community. Building on momentum created over the summer and into the school months, we challenged parents to be one of three things. We challenged parents to be informed, be involved or be empowered. Each of our parents is at a different place and depending upon where they are, they have the opportunity to be one of these three things. So what do these three things mean? 

Informed
Being an informed parent means you are knowledgeable about what is taking place within your son/daughter’s school day. Parents may be informed by notes/fliers that are sent home, by receiving emails, checking social media or by simply talking with their children and checking their agenda. As a campus, we use a variety of communication options and I tease parents, “If you do not know what is taking place at school, it is because you are choosing to be un-informed and that is unacceptable.” 

Involved
Throughout the school year we host a series of parent learning opportunities, after school music performances and school wide events in addition to the more traditional parent conferences, class parties and volunteer opportunities that exist in an elementary school setting. An involved parent is in attendance at some of these events. I will be the first to admit, it is not reasonable to expect every parent to attend every event, but an involved parent will do their best to attend the events that meet their needs and support their son/daughter’s development. 

Empowered 
All parents can be difference makers in one way or another. By being informed you support making a difference through the conversations and expectations you hold for your children. By being involved, you support your children and the school community through your participation. Then you have the parents who are informed, involved and empowered. The empowered parent is the parent who is on campus, creating the involvement opportunities, rallying other parents to become more involved and stops at nothing to create the parent/school partnership we desire to build and sustain. 

Tonight I will be attending a PTA Lifetime Achievement Award Banquet recognizing PTA members and parents who have made contributions, both big and small to the schools their children attend. It’s easy to recognize the empowered parents at an event such as this, and to be honest, I am not sure where I would be without our group of Sigler Elementary empowered parents, but do not forget about the involved and informed parents. These are the quiet parents. They come in, attend events when they can, support the heck out of our teachers and then they leave, feeling proud of being a part of a school community that recognizes they are giving what they have to give. I am blessed to be a part of a school community who supports the campus vision, supports the teachers and staff, embraces the same values and ultimately wants what is best for ALL students. 

Tonight we will recognize PTA members who are making a difference in schools, but as I walk across the stage, pausing to share the moment with the deserving,  I will be celebrating ALL of our parents. Whether they are informed, involved or empowered, each plays a role that is invaluable to the work we do in schools and the work we do at Sigler Elementary. 

What was your moment today? 

My Moment – Day 32 – Moonshot

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

What is your “moonshot”? 

If you are a staff member at Sigler Elementary, you have heard me say “I am ready to do school differently.” I mean that. I have written about it before. (See My Moment Day 8) When I say, “I am ready to do school differently”, I am not talking about changing the master schedule or changing how we approach guided reading or math instruction. I am talking about organizational transformation. 

I have commented on more than one occasion, the work I have been involved in with the Texas Principals Visioning Institute (#TXPVI) which you could say is doing the work at a macro level, in comparison to the work I am involved in with Plano Leadership Visioning Institute (#PLVI) which instead of administrators from across the state of Texas is comprised of administrators from my own school district; a micro level. 

By definition, we define organizational transformation as not about changing one thing; it is about changing the culture or mind-set on the campus where what students and teachers are doing is different. 

That is a loaded statement…changing the culture or mind-set on the campus where what students and teachers are doing is different. 

Doing what is different is not always popular. Sometimes doing what is different is so far out there that leaders who desire to transform organizations can be viewed as…well…”a little crazy”. With no disrespect to those with the opinion that I am “a little crazy”, it is going to take a “little crazy” for us to do things differently. 

Today, as leaders from across my great district were sharing their vision for how they are going to do things differently, some shared with a reservation in their voice or a hesitation of “can we really do this”? Our facilitator picked up on the questioning of ourselves and asked if we had heard of the word, “moonshot”? To her surprise not a single one of us had, so we looked it up with the help of our friends at UrbanDictionary.com


I literally spent the rest of my day answering the question, “What is my moonshot?” Everyone in education should have a “moonshot”. We teach our students to dream big and set goals. This is our example to model having big dreams and setting goals with our students. Share your “moonshot”. 

I am not ready to post my “moonshot”. I am still working through how to capture it in words, but what I do know is that “my moonshot” will be epic and I know it will be something that changes the culture or mind-set on our campus where what students and teachers are doing will be different. 

Can you articulate your “moonshot”? Share your “moonshot” in the comments below. Be EPIC! 

What was your moment today? 

My Moment – Day 31 – Excited

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

“The principal will actively participate with teachers in meaningful professional learning that results in increased language acquisition & development for all students.”

The statement you just read is one of two professional goals I have for the 2015-2016 school year. (It’s actually a two year goal.) Serving on a Title I, bilingual campus, you can imagine how important language acquisition and development is for all of our students. Yesterday was President’s Day; a student holiday & teacher professional learning day. I was able to spend the morning with teachers, attending sessions developed by our teachers, supporting our growth towards the goal highlighted above. Teachers developed two sessions which we rotated through, Moving Students Writing & Vocabulary/ESL Strategies & Whole Brain Teaching. The session were great. The teachers who facilitated the learning worked extremely hard preparing an interactive, participant guided session and did so based upon feedback provided by the very teachers who would be attending. Check out one of the sessions here: Fractions
The feedback received thus far has been positive and I am excited to continue to use the feedback we receive to further provide our teachers with the learning opportunities they articulate needing. 
As a leader, I want to provide learning opportunities that are worthwhile, meaningful and applicable for all of those in attendance. Much like teachers in the way they prepare learning opportunities within classrooms, for students. Teachers are asked to do so much, I should not be asking them to sit in sessions that are not applicable or necessary. (We should not be asking students to do that either.)
Imagine the joy I experienced today, as I walked into a 3rd grade classroom and witnessed the very strategies shared, not even 24 hours prior, being incorporated into today’s math lesson. I was so excited! I was excited the teacher found value in yesterday’s learning. I was excited the teacher was able to apply her learning so quickly and I was excited how well the students were able to demonstrate their understanding of fractions. Specifically, the difference between a numerator and a denominator. 
Check out my video tweet below: 

My Moment Day 30 – Are You Going to Be OK?

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

I am the proud principal of a Title I campus that serves over 400 students who make up a diverse school community. Almost 80% of our student body qualifies for the free & reduced lunch program, which means the needs we meet on a daily basis go far beyond “just” the academics. 

Over the weekend, while surfing Twitter, I came across the following article written by Bruce Hansen at Education Week, “Teachers at Low-Income Schools Deserve Respect”.  

I remember my first experience working in a “low-income” school. I had previously taught at a school, well, let’s just call it the opposite of “low-income” and when a parent found out I was leaving he/she approached me asking “Are you going to be ok?” At the time I wasn’t sure what to do with that question. “Was I going to be ok?” Why wouldn’t I be ok? What did this parent know that I didn’t? 

Now, after nine years as an administrator in “low-income” schools, I know what they didn’t know. 

I know that “low-income” schools require the best teachers. OK teachers do not last very long on a “low-income” campus. As Hansen states in his article, “Working with children who live in poverty requires some special skills.” Teachers must balance the profession with their personal lives and let’s be honest, that’s tough. Our students need 100% of our 100% and if we are only able to give 100% of 75% the students are not getting what they need. Teachers in a “low-income” school must not only address the academic needs students face, but they must also address the social and emotional needs of students, which at times can limit the teachers ability to deliver the academics if not done with the “special skills” required. 

I know that “low-income” schools are anything but low performing. The term “low performing” in itself means we are comparing all students based on a single measure; an equivalent expectation. I will be the first to argue, we must have the highest of expectations for our students because in some cases, it’s these expectations that allow them to reach their full potential. But to label a campus as “low performing” does nothing but feed a public misconception, which is disheartening to the teachers  and community who pour their heart and soul into the children we serve. While our scores may not mirror the top scores in the state, the last thing we are is low performing. Come walk in our building. Come meet our students and listen to their stories. For each story you hear, I will share a story of perseverance and dedication that far exceeds what would happen on a low performing campus. (Really want to know how I feel about railings and rankings, click here.)

I know my teachers and all the other teachers who work in “low performing” schools deserve to be recognized for the work they do. They make a choice. They make a choice to work where they do. These teachers are phenomenal. They could go and work at the “high performing” campus tomorrow. They don’t! Each day, these teachers wake up and make the conscience decision to embrace how hard their job will be, rising above the challenges, knowing the students they serve are worth every obstacle they may encounter along the way. 

So, to the parent who asked me the question “Are you going to be OK?” nine years ago…I know what to do with that question now. I have my answer. 

Yes, I am going to be OK. In fact, I am better than OK. I have the honor of working with the best teachers in our profession and have the awesome responsibility of serving as a role model for students. In some cases, I’m the role model for the students who need it the most and have no where else to find one. In my line of work, my cup is filled daily and it’s emptied as well, but I know it will be full again the next day due to the passion and greatness that surrounds me.

Yes, I will be OK. 

What was your moment today?