Friday, August 19, 2016


As I visited classrooms yesterday I found a story was developing. It went like this: in Snow White there was a mirror that answered questions. This morning, like every other morning, someone at Disney asked, " Where is the happiest place of them all?" The mirror said,"Vera Scott Elementary!"
Why? Two main reasons. We have an amazing staff that builds caring relationships with students. They bring the awesomeness to our school. 2nd- our students. They are taught to show empathy and kindness. We believe in developing character traits here and this will build our community for several years to come!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Aesop once said, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, will ever be wasted."

We are in the middle of a food drive and our community is generous. We give what we can- some of us have great needs ourselves- yet give something. For all gifts great and small we are thankful.

Generosity is something more than giving things or gifts. There are countless examples of parents and teachers who are generous with their time and energy. Wow! From crossing guards to reading buddies to library helpers. Volunteers are awesome! Teachers who organize events or sponsor clubs- who spend those moments communicating and extending themselves... We have a generous staff.

As a principal I'm challenged on a daily basis to live up to our teachers and parents. To be generous- to think about how I can extend myself for those I serve. I choose to be generous- to give all I can for this community. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Our children are young. We believe they can lead today. They can teach us a thing or two. They don't have to wait to grow up before they can make a difference in the community.
Last week our student body came together to inspire our local first responders. I couldn't be more proud. They wrote speeches, sang songs, made cards, and even provided cookies at this event. Why? To show them that they are powerful. To show them that their words can fill and inspire a heart. To give our first responders a reminder of the why- the children they protect love them. The children are grateful.
The love of children is a powerful thing that can fill the buckets of our most weary warriors.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Day Reflections

So much happens on day 1 of a school year. It starts with a handshake. We greet kinder students and welcome them to education- a journey that will end with a final handshake and diploma. Our handshake is one of promise- we will dedicate our best to you young man and young woman. We believe in you and in your unique giftings that will add so much to our community. It is the first handshake- and we stand behind it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

On the Porch

As the morning brings a brand new day, I sit on the porch reflecting on how precious life is. Today students will fill our halls with hopes, wonders, giggles and the anticipation of someone believing in them. I see the back yard project almost complete (summer "honey do lists) and feel like there is joy in my heart. I am amazed at how fast that summer flew by- and I want to remember that each day is a gift. I couldn't imagine a better way to enjoy this gift then to invest all I have in this next generation. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

DECISIVE: summer reading reflection

I give the Scott Elementary Staff lots of credit for my development as a school leader. Last year they shared that decisiveness was one area in which I could improve as a leader. So I am taking their suggestion and reading DECISIVE by Chip and Dan Heath.

Notes, Quotes, and Redlections.
"We are quick to jump to conclusions because we give too much weight to the information that's right in front of us."
This is called the spotlight effect.
"What's in the spotlight will rarely be everything we need to make a good decision, but we won't always remember to shift the light."

Decision making is a large part of being a principal. We make hundreds of decisions that impact our community and our children. This introduction discusses the importance of having a process. 
A good process is what makes a difference. This process should include shifting the spotlight. "Exploring alternative points of view, recognizing uncertainty, searching for evidence that contradicts their beliefs- can help us."

At Scott this year my focus will be on two things- instruction and culture.
To build our school culture I'll be using a few things, one is found in Lencioni's work. He writes that groups do not become high performing teams when there is an absence of trust. When we have a good process for making decisions- we build trust. "A better decision process substantially improved the results of decisions." 
This book study holds promise to make a huge positive impact on our school culture!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

CORE VALUE #1: JOY the Student Learning Cycle

We are trained as educators to think about the teaching and learning cycle. It includes activities we do before instruction, during instruction and after instruction. We take time to think about these areas- and in D11 it is part of the district's playbook for teachers.

I propose there needs to be a student cycle that mirrors the teacher's. What is the experience they will have? What if Joy (one of Vera Scott's core values) is a part of their system? Here is such a cycle for students:

First, students need to engage into the learning process- as educators we look for ways to tap into the natural curiosity and enthusiasm children bring to school.

Second,  we help the students become aware of the targets- the goals for the lessons they are experiencing. We share learning targets with the students. We also help them understand their current reality in terms of their ability to master the target.

Third, we create opportunities to challenge students. We give students questions that bring out deep thinking. With the proper support we generate productive struggle opportunities.

Fourth, as students move through the productive struggle phase, they develop new abilities and ways of thinking. This results in growth.

Lastly, when students look over their journey and can see how much they learned- they feel good inside. They develop confidence and joy! There is the joy we value so much!

There are many ways to generate engagement and joy at our school!