August 23, 2010

Good Book for Schools Beginning the PLC Journey

I found an excellent new book this summer for those beginning their journey into becoming a PLC.  It is packed with excellent information and straight forward examples and procedures for getting started.  Easy to read and loaded with reproducibles.  Check it out even if you are just wondering about all this PLC stuff you have been hearing about.

I've been pondering a situation that has been bothering me lately.  I have been to quite a few professional conferences and workshops over the last year and this summer and I am quite surprised (and somewhat disappointed) by the district's I see presenting their experiences and practices.  I think I need to start talking to my staff about being the exemplars when it comes to PLC's, MAP Testing, RTI and host of other practices we are apparently a little more practiced and knowledgeable in as compared to those we have attempted to learn from.  I  shouldn't come off as being so negative.  While we may have had some more experience or better results than some of the districts we have listened to, we still have gleaned a great deal from them.  I'm really not trying to come off as too cocky but we have been doing some great things and we have been trying to follow the best practices established by some of the biggest names in education today.  Besides, I want my staff to know how proud I am of all the great work they do and all that they have learned.

August 20, 2010

PBIS....another new thing to add to our plate.....But this is going to taste GOOD!!!!!

Went to a fantastic conference on School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention Supports.  While many of the concepts and practices we have already set in practice it was another fantastic example of the need for data collection to produce the desired results and to refine the intervention that works best for each unique situation.  Still, while we may have been on the right track with many of our efforts, there was still so much to learn and the variations on some of our practices will help to make our program so much more effective. The universal language will also help to provide consistent verbal cues, and a more positive theme to our approach with handling students that exhibit behaviors outside the norm.  

The true "sign" that this was the right philosophy and time for us to begin the PBIS journey, was that we were told to take a year to collect data and to plan out our phase in of PBIS.  Since we had already created a 4 year plan to begin our full implementation of our RTI plan, and RTI for Behavior concerns was to begin in the 2011-2012, the timing was perfect.

As I sat and listened to the various speakers, I grew more enthusiastic to begin using PBIS.  Once again I was told to slow down and prepare.  It won't be easy but I am actually looking forward to collecting data and planning things slowly as we build our program.  Not easy for the guy of action and little patience.  So I will collect my data, slow down and plan with my leadership team and go out gain what other insight and knowledge I can this year.  It's going to be great!!!!

August 6, 2010

Summer Vacation 2010: a summer of change

It has  been a while since I have checked in and I will try to renew my vigor to be a  better blogger.  It has been a crazy summer, mostly in the sense of all the changes taking place in my personal life (a few changes in my education life as well).  We were able to take our annual Whitford Family Trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, but that was truly the only vacationny thing about this summer.

My wife was finally able to finish her Master's in Ed Administration program this past year and has gotten a job in my area (actually in my same school district).  Unfortunately she hasn't had the chance yet to utilize her new degree and I know she is itching to take a shot at a leadership position.  The best news is this new job in my school district is allowing my family to be together again.  The two years apart went by quickly but I can tell it was a tough seperation (especially for my two youngest kids) and it is great to all be under one roof again.  We spent a great deal of June packing up our old house and either putting things in storage or moving them up to our apartment in my Mom's basement (our old house cannot sell soon enough as this 41 year old is tired of living with his mother again). The next big change is sending my oldest off to college this fall.  While it is exciting (especially for him) it is also a little scary and is making realize how quickly life is moving by.  He was just 6 years old when I married his mother and I had a blast watching him grow up, but wasn't he just playing youth football a couple of years ago?  Wow!  Time sure flies......

The next big change for me was being asked to become the District Gifted/Talented Coordinator.  I was asked in a very complimentary way and was hard pressed to deny the position and the small raise that came with it (especially facing the big pay cut my wife took when she elected to resign from her previous district to join me here).  My only setback is that my experience with GT programs is limited by the fact that none of my previous district's had a program either.  I Love when states mandate that you have a program for these students but they in no way help fund this mandate.  Not only that but they don't really care if you have Gifted or Talented students because they only want to know how many are below the standards they set as proficient.  So it has been a summer of reading for me and I am facing a Fall full  of workshops as I bring myself up to speed on what is best (and more than likely what is feasible) in GT Education.  I will try to check in with you soon as I begin to do all of those fun things administrators do in the month of August!!!