Your School Story Matters…

 

It has been quite a whirlwind since back in June.  It sometimes seems like this year has had so much packed into a short window of 6 months but I must say I have been very blessed for that to be the case.  I have neglected writing this blog for at least that long and wanted to take a moment to reflect professionally of those six months.

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First and foremost, I wanted to say it has been a stressful, action packed time but one that has been full of things which I am thankful and we are blessed to have experienced.

We were blessed with a brand new K-12 building here at Beaver Local Schools.  Our first day to move an item in was August 21, and our first day of school was August 30.  It has been quite a change, but we are so blessed to have the opportunity to take on this challenge.  The building is tremendous, and it allows students and staff who were already doing great things in and out of the classroom to soar to new heights.  The building is innovative, and fosters collaboration among staff and students along with featuring technology which with educators serving as the driving force will lead us to places we never dreamed possible.  In the span of four months, it has been impressive to watch the staff and students take on the challenge and adapt to the building.  The energy and excitement of this adventure has been one that has been exciting to be a part of on a daily basis.

In the early part of the summer, I was presented another opportunity which I had never considered possible.

First, I was approached by, my professional colleague, who I am also proud to say has become a good friend, Ryan McLane.  He spoke to me about his idea for a book and that he would like me to be a part of this adventure.  I was flattered but not sure what I had to offer to write a book.  My exposure to Ryan and Dave Burgess really has helped me to go down a road in education that I didn’t know existed.  It has led me to places that no class or book can offer you.  Needless to say, we began writing and quickly putting our thoughts about connecting with our school community using social media.  We share the belief that everyone matters and that we must take back education by sharing the great news that is happening in our schools.  We cannot wait on the media or others to tell our story because we will miss opportunities to highlight the great happenings on a daily basis.  Thus, we penned “Your School Rocks.. So Tell People.”  This has been a valuable experience that I didn’t see coming, and the people who have supported this has been flattering in the early going with the book set to release January 2.  Most of all, I thank Ryan for his efforts on the book along with his belief that our school was doing things which could enhance what other schools are doing with social media and believing that we had a worthwhile story to tell.

This adventure would have never got off shore without the support of some great Pirate captains.  That is where the unbelievable duo of Dave and Shelley Burgess came into this story.  As you know, I have echoed Dave’s praises for years, and discovering “Teach Like a Pirate” took me back to what was right about school and what we needed to do in order to highlight our staff and students.  Dave’s message is one which I carry with me on a daily basis, and what makes me many times go through with items which may be considered different or out of the ordinary.    Dave has been a huge influence on Ryan and I and it was the ultimate compliment when Dave and Shelley decided that  Dave Burgess Consulting,Inc. would support us on this voyage.  Their guidance, time, commitment, and influence has enabled what started as just a possibility to reach a reality.  Sometimes, we wonder what could have been, and had I not joined Twitter a few years ago, I never would have thought this could have been.   I would have never known any of these individuals existed, and connecting with them has made an impact on me that has allowed me to enhance myself professionally.  That is the power of social media and why we need to use it to connect, grow, and share professionally as well as highlight the great happenings in and around our school community.

Thanks to all of Beaver Local Schools and especially BLMS for their hard work and determination in making the beginning of our adventure in the new building set sail on the right path.

Thanks to Dave, Shelley, and Ryan for believing that it’s time to tell people “Your School Rocks..” and supporting having me be a small part of such a exciting adventure.

I look forward to what lies ahead, and learning from everyone else as they share with us how they connect and promote the great happenings at their schools.

Your School Rocks…So Tell Us!

 

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Education is a Passion Filled Journey Not a Job #blmsdc15

I have not taken to write since this past March,  It seems kind of odd to not do something I enjoy so much in two months time. I have loved to write since I was a youngster and believe strongly that was tied to my love of reading which was cultivated by my grandmother having me read every sports book from the library to her on a regular basis. In those past two months, we have had to complete OTES evaluations, PARCC testing, AIR testing, and a multitude of other items which may be considered stressors.  Many of these ideas make it hard to sometimes Choose Optimism or even to look at school in a positive manner.

However, I feel very blessed, I have the opportunity to work with young people in the school setting and also in athletics.  I enjoy seeing them compete and strive to grow in the classroom.  My true passion is education, I really can’t imagine what else I would do in life.  There is great joy in seeing students grow, and change along make choices which reflect some of the ideas, and learning that you have exposed them to.

I wrote in this space last year about creating an experience.  I also wrote about going to DC and trying to assist in creating an experience that students would never forget.  To the contrary, they created this experience for me.  This happened again this past weekend.  Laughing is such a great medicine and I cannot tell you how many times I laughed each day I spent with these students.  BLMS is such a great school to hop in and take an educational journey daily with students.  We climb roller coasters with peaks and valleys but the sun shines on far more peaks due to our staff and students.  Students enthusiasm and positive outlook towards learning and growing as young people matches in most cases what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said we should be doing in school. They are growing in character as well as intellect at the same time. The look on the students faces as they see the subway for the first time, walk into see the remarkable memorial for Lincoln and stand where Dr. King gave his speech are the perfect learning blend to building relationships that you didn’t know were there along with having the time of your life with long time pals.

Our students were well mannered, on time, and engaged throughout the adventure.  We had great opportunities along with great tour guides that took us through Arlington National Cemetery, Flight 93 memorial, Lincoln Memorial, World War II, Air and Space Museum and so much more.  We even ran into a Korean War veteran who shared personal stories with our students.  Our shirts said we were on an expedition which our students showed and their desire to make our trip one to remember made each of them a success in the exploration department.

This past weekend  was the fuel I needed in my tank.  I saw students make new friends, show a desire to learn and explore, and treat others in a manner that showed their exemplary character.  The students were full of energy and were willing to take on whatever was thrown at them.  We have chronicled our journey through social media and the use of flip board which many students seemed to enjoy along with their parents who can follow the trip.  It is also important as with many other new things students are exposed to, that we take every chance we can get to demonstrate and show the power of social media and how to use that power wisely.  Many times we say you can’t use this but just like anything new it has pros and cons but we need to teach students how to use in a way to enhance their professional and school careers so that they can become leaders in the use of social media as they move through their lives.

This time of year is very bittersweet for me.  You have students who move on to their next journey of high school, and the bond built over those four years is truly rooted in so many experiences that it is very tough to see them go.  We many times get bogged down with all the mandates and items in schools which we find challenging.  The students are the real reason we all do what we do.  I can say that I have had many great memories in my 14 years here at Beaver Local.  I was blessed to teach elementary and loved working with those youngsters.  Their wonder for learning is so strong and desire to please their teachers is also very strong.  I must say that the past 5 years I have spent with our middle school students has been the time of my life. You  hear so much about why you shouldn’t work in a middle school, or why you shouldn’t be the assistant principal in a middle school.  I am here to tell you, please come to me if you want to hear all the reasons you should.  I can’t imagine being anywhere else than with our middle school students.

I have been truly blessed to not have to go to work, but to get up in the morning and head to school with 600 kids who are going to make an impact and I get the opportunity to be a small blip on their radar for success.  To that I say thanks, and to the 8th graders that went to DC, thanks for helping me get some much needed fuel to continue to have the time of my life.

Don’t Stop Believing! #blmsyoumatter #chooseoptimism

DC FUN2015

Choose Optimism, Let’s Take Back Education!

It has been awhile since I last wrote.  Our school has had a ton going on from having PARCC testing, AIR Testing, a leaking roof that forced three classes to move to our high school, and numerous weather related disruptions.  However, I have had a couple of items occur recently which have impacted me greatly.  I think I would be doing a disservice to those people if I didn’t give them the credit they deserve for forcing me to continue to grow as an educator.

First, last month, I had the good fortune to present at the Ohio Middle Level Conference with Ryan McLane.  We were presenting on Your Story Matters, Tell it Through Social Media.  We also traveled there to see Ron Clark and he has a great message and does a great job in getting you motivated.  His school is well known, and Ron is engaging.  However, while I was there I came across someone I had never been in contact or heard much about Jack Berckemeyer.  His message is one that resonated with me.  His message and approach is more grassroots and similar to Dave Burgess much of his message is grounded in why we became educators in the first place.  He talks about the need for us to be student advocates and take back education.  This could never be more relevant than in this time with increased testing and pressures on staff and students.  His humor and passion are refreshing.  His energy and passion connected with current real world experiences are something that should be mandatory for every government official to hear.  His book Deliberate Optimism: Reclaiming the Joy In Education is a must read.  All educators would benefit from the message that he delivers and that in many cases we make too many decisions based on adults and mandates rather than what is best for kids and also best for adults to achieve successes we never dreamed imaginable.  He illustrates how many items are preferences and have little or no impact on the education of children.  We must promote what we do in our schools and quit talking about what is wrong and promote what is right in our schools.  I believe that we must change the habit of discussing problems constantly and start talking about what is right every day.  I consider myself an Optimist for the most part, but can tell you after hearing Jack I am looking at each situation we encounter with Optimism and Choosing to Spread the message every chance I get.  He shared that if you came to three sessions you may be a stalker.  Well, I don’t consider myself a stalker but I attended four, have read one of the two books I bought, and tell any educator that I can you must connect with Jack if you get a chance.

Secondly, we recently had to move three seventh grade classrooms to our high school due to a leaky roof in our school. This is the final year for the building as we enter new facilities but none the less served as change that our staff has done a great job persevering through. This provided me the opportunity to get back into the classroom the past five days to assist with the transition.  The experience has opened my eyes.  Beaver Local Middle School has a great staff and students.  These students have provided me passion each day to fill up my tank.  We have discussed and examined Character, Leaders, Followers, and Choosing to Be Optimistic and making an Impact on those around you.  Their energy for the activities along with the messages that they shared would warm any educator to what is right about education and what truly matters in our world of school.  Students have asked for more of these activities and asked why don’t we have a class like this at our new building next year.  This has also reinforced my belief that students are sponges and many times whatever attitude or message the adults give off is what the students fill their sponges with.  I continue to tell staff and students that although the State of Ohio has decided what tests we must take each year, none of these tests define you.  We are defined by our effort, ability to adjust, change, and grow to reach our potential as a student and a person.  Martin Luther King said the true goal of education should be Intelligence plus character.  That is what defines you, we need to challenge ourselves to think critically, and collaborate to grow not only as students, and educators but as citizens.  These students the past five days have allowed me to grow and have made a dramatic impact on my thoughts about the importance of giving them access to grow as individuals along with growing as groups who are finding their way as young people.

Jack Berckmeyer likes to say when I am dictator of education this is what I am going to do.  He may never become dictator but as we learned in class this week, followers are just as important as leaders.  There are no leaders without followers.  The followers allow a movement to occur and change to happen.  I am here to say that more of us in education need to become aware of who Jack is and become followers.  Our voices united can make an impact on education and help define the path we follow along with future generations.

In closing, Thanks Jack for making an impact on me and thanks to all the students for helping me to get us closer to our goal of being a school that students want to run into and not out of.  Keep Up the Good Work all of you!

students7th

jackeric

Pirate Treasure… A Life for Me

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to spend an evening out with a good friend.  We went to the Pittsburgh Penguins game and took in our favorite team along with a former Penguin great who still plays well into his 40’s for the New Jersey Devils, Jaromir Jagr.  When I picked him up, he said did you not have school today, and I said no we had inservice… It was a Great Day.  I went on to tell him about the entire day with unbridled enthusiasm.  How often would that happen after a day of inservice?  I am not sure he was interested in hearing me go on and on about how to teach like a pirate, and the entire story of the impact that has made on me.

Yesterday,Beaver Local had the good fortune of having Dave Burgess come for our professional development day.  There was no evaluation form at the end for feedback but let me tell you that Dave shares a message of everything as educators we should and MUST do to have fulfillment in our profession.  I wish that every person making decisions at the state level had to listen to his message before they make any decision involving education.  Dave should be a pre requisite to stakeholders who make decisions about students and education.  Employing much of what Dave says, in large part, would take care of any test score that much of our country unfortunately makes their focus.

The Ohio Teacher Evaluation System is an important subject in education today and it is centered on student engagement, differentiation, and incorporating your content standards into real life learning in a variety of ways. Interesting enough, Dave’s presentation would not do that well on the rubric in that it was very teacher directed.  However, I can tell you he had a room of approximately 150 adults engaged.  He had about ten people who drove three hours to be there.  His message along with the way he tells it is filled with passion and that passion makes more impact than any small group activities could ever achieve.  He CONNECTS with his audience, and that leads to having rapport.  One thing that Dave addresses which I feel very strongly about is that is doesn’t matter how well you know content if you don’t connect with students through your delivery and presentation along with building rapport.  Think back to teachers you have had who didn’t have a way of connecting with students and how little it mattered how much content they knew.

Dave shares the message of one minute of informal conversation being worth ten hours of class time.  I make this a personal passion of mine each day I come to work.  I try to spend a large portion of my day going around having conversations with students, and connecting in any way possible.  It is easy with the great kids we have at BLMS and also is fuel in my tank everyday that pushes me to keep going regardless of outside distractions and issues. I am fortunate that I have yet to have a job, I view that I have spent the past 15 years helping guide students and having a great time in the process.  I truly think being a kid is a great thing and that is why I don’t plan to change who I am in this playground we are blessed to be a part of, SCHOOL.

Dave is very student centered in his message.  Aren’t we in a student centered business?  If we immerse ourselves in that culture of making everything we do about students many of the issues that are created or bog us down take care of themselves.  I ask you to reflect on this question, how many issues in school are student centered, and how many issues are adult centered?  I encourage you to try and stop talking about your problems and talk about your joys.  As Dave says the #tlap philosophy is a way of life.  It is contagious when you put the positive into the negatives which confront you.  Others around you, have no choice eventually but to see that what we do as educators is very powerful, and when student centered focusing on the positives, it can become a movement which is hard to contain.

Dave also asks the very powerful question, if no one had to be in your class, would anyone be there?  This is a self analysis question that everyone should ask.  As teachers, we are performers, artists, counselors, comedians,  cultivators, protectors, leaders, and difference makers.  The more planning and preparedness you daily put into those key roles, the more students will be in your class regardless of where they are assigned.  We all have lessons we can sell tickets for but I encourage you using Dave’s philosophy to challenge yourself to make your classroom a daily experience that kids would attend regardless of who tells them they have to be there.  I feel like the more experiences you create, the more you embrace each of those roles, the more fulfilling you will find your job, and that passion that is sometimes bogged down by outside items.  You having a mission to create regular experiences for students that are unforgettable will lead to you being intrinsically motivated because of the impact you make on a daily basis.  That power becomes so strong it picks you up out of bed each morning.  It pushes you to both you and your students maximum potential.  I asked an educator one day I greatly respect, why are your students willing to do those tasks you ask?  Her response, I take time to get to know them.  That is power.

This was the second time I was blessed to hear Dave speak, and have interacted with him numerous times on Twitter.  It was much needed fuel to push me ahead through many tasks I have delegated to me along with fellow staff members.  Dave closed with a great story about Pirate treasure, and creating an experience for his son.  I don’t want to ruin his story, but have thrown you a HOOK.  In closing, if you ever get the chance to hear Dave, borrowing from Nike, Just Do It!  However, if not, make sure you read the book.  I am fortunate to have found this book and Dave on Twitter almost three years ago,  It cemented many ideas I had and reminded me it is ok to take risks and step out of calm waters to be different with students in order to make experiences.  Yesterday, Dave said it is a way of life, I am glad it is a way of life for me, and look forward to hearing Dave again.  I also look forward to our first Teach Like a Pirate Day at BLMS coming this May which we have gotten guidance from Ryan McLane who has twice held a TLAP day at his school.

By the way back to his evaluation, let me leave you with this question, would anyone drive three hours to hear something you have to say or see something that you do?  Well people did yesterday for Dave, I think that says more than any evaluation could.  We need to keep working to get our important messages out so that others want to see the great items going on in education.  That is that JOY we need to start talking about.

Have a great day as I set sail on another day here at BLMS….ARGH! Thanks again Dave, you truly matter and are making a difference!

TLAPdaveburgess

Education A Time for Change

This past week I had the good fortune to attend the Capital Conference in Columbus.  It was an opportunity to see and hear many of the great educators in Ohio share a common theme.  We are currently involved at a time in Education like no other.  We have the opportunity to mold and change young minds in a way that is unprecedented.  However, in order for us to capitalize on this opportunity and seize the day, We ourselves have to be willing to change.

Today’s learning environment is influenced perhaps like never before by the outside world.  Students come with a unique skill set.  I listened to a panel discussion featuring many of the leading educators in change in Ohio.  The likes of Dwight Carter, Jeremy Brueck, Toby Fischer, Ryan McLane, Bobby Dodd and others.  One item that struck me was when Jeremy said he believed his son thought as a two year old that his brother lived in that box (iPad) due to face timing him all the time.  I was also struck by Dwight mentioning how his daughter would take a picture and swipe it to move to the next one not realizing it was the traditional picture that we knew before the iPad.  Adults as kids are sometimes managing a phone, iPad, and some other sort of technology all at the same time while working.  We talk about one to one and many people in today’s world are 3 to 1.  We have to be aware of this and make adjustments to that.  Students in today’s world learn in all types of settings and we need to start to examine ways to adjust to better connect students to the environments in which they are comfortable.  As stated by Toby, kids aren’t necessarily addicted to devices, they are addicted to the information they can get and also to being able to connect with their friends.

I listened this past weekend to the superintendent of West Muskingum discuss their building initiative.  They are building a K-4 building with learning communities.  They recognize the need to adjust to the changing world and are ensuring that teachers are not limited in their abilities to work with students as they structure multi age classrooms within the communities.  These communities have flexible walls, and also allow for teachers to expand their classrooms to corridors and have limited hallways due to the loss of instructional space.  Stop and think for a minute, of the amount of space wasted in schools for hallways.  Imagine all the great opportunities missed over time, due to the fact that took up valuable learning space in schools.   He further discussed how kids interact with the environment and learn in a children’s museum which served as a philosophy of thinking as they built their school.  Their district went as far as to uncover the elevator and also create a station where students can learn about water consumption and the amount of waste created by their school on a daily basis.

Schools must move away from the factory model.  The fixed structures and schedules which create uniformity and make life simpler in management must be forgone for working to meet individual learner needs.   As leaders, we need to open up and not be limited by what we know to be the structure of school.  We need to foster students imaginations and as Ryan Galwitz said a assessment can take the form of an i movie students constructed to show their mastery knowledge of the content. Students can write a blog demonstrating their learning where they feel they have a global audience and take pride in what they are trying to demonstrate rather than possibly only having an audience of one.  I personally can relate to that as I put a lot of effort in writing in this blog which is read by very few but in my mind, I am a journalist. These activities can be done in the comfort of the corridor while students sit in small group laying across lounge furniture rather than a classroom in desks and chairs.  Everyone has attended school and knows what worked for them.  However, is the school you attended and the methods used to learn the best that we can provide children in today’s world?  I would say no.  In fact, we are doing a disservice in my opinion if we think that to be the case.

We have so many great educators in Ohio who believe change is all about technology.  That isn’t the case at all.  Technology is a great tool that is only as great as the person driving it.  Much like a car, if the driver isn’t great it makes no difference how great the car is.  Teachers instructional practices are what is the most important.  Teachers who use technology integrated into their lessons have a new superpower beyond the expansive resources they had previously.  Teachers who use technology as a fancy worksheet have just substituted on the SAMR model for what they always did.  Teachers who use technology to engage students in learning while helping small groups have realized technology can serve as an avenue to address differentiation in a efficient effective manner.

I believe that more  change comes in the forms of many reflective questions What is a grade?  I personally don’t see how we still provide students a “0” on an assignment, as I don’t see how that shows what they know.  As Toby stated, we are actually teaching students irresponsibility by giving them a zero on an assignment not responsibility.  Some students who receive high grades don’t have mastery of the content, they have mastery of the game of school.   I am not sure how we provide extra credit for covering a book which impacts your grade but don’t permit redoes, and mistakes which in the way of the real world is how we master something.  Students need regular monitoring of progress before they reach a summative assessment and that is the end regardless of their level of understanding.

Another important question is, what is a learning space?  I believe it must move and not be limited by the classroom walls which have so long limited what you can do.  It is very hard for people to think of learning outside of what they are used to seeing in every image since industrial times.  However, I had a respected educator say to me one day, why do we still build schools like it is 1950?  He is right the jobs that were prominent in 1950 and many of the skills needed now to be successful are different.    I also know from looking at furniture at the conference in the ever changing marketplace of school furniture that there are many companies which agree with that notion.  I posted many images to Instagram and had no idea at the comments and conversation that would spark among students as my intent was to use that as a platform to create a magazine on Flipboard.  However, it created a buzz about students who were excited about what was to come.  Two of the salesman I talked to said that is one of the quickest changing and growing markets in vendors which work with schools.  It is because we all must examine the question, what can we do to help ensure student success in today and tomorrow’s classroom.

Einstein stated that Insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  I know we change things up as educators, but schools today have to step up to keep up with the changing audience of students which enter our doors.  Education is a business place and we must meet our consumers needs.  Educational reform must include reforming or transforming the physical learning environment.  This is a vital element of driving change in not only student creativity, and fostering growth in collaboration but also in creating those same elements in instructional practices.

I hope we take advantage of our opportunity and seize the moment to grow and watch today’s learners reach new heights.  The sky is the limit if we give up some of the control as adults we are used to and realize that we have the tools and ability to listen to student voice and structure school to meet the changing world of students in order to allow them to reach their potential.

Who would have known Instagram is Educational? #blmsyoumatter

I have been wanting to write an entry  but I have found a reason each time why I didn’t have the time to do it.  It seems that we daily come up with new tasks and responsibilities that take away from outside interests which often times make a larger impact than we realize.

I have recently taken to Instagram to promote our school along with using as an educational tool.  The title of my blog came from when I checked into getting it unblocked so I could use it, it was stated it has no educational use so it is blocked.  My superintendent supported my notion that I do use it educationally which caused me to reflect.

Who determines if a site has educational use?  Most social media sites have an educational use, if you want them to be used educationally.  It takes you having a perspective on how you can connect with other to grow.  Instagram is different from twitter because rather than being a site to connect with educators and grow professionally, it provides the opportunity to have a large target audience of students that you can reach out to in a quick manner to promote the school and get your message out to the masses.  I do believe that we are in the business of kids and people who are marketing their product go to where the audience is to help grow and build their product.  Instagram provides that opportunity.

First, I use it to help and build Flipboard Magazines.  I did this first with a school trip last spring and have built an interactive magazine this year which has pictures and video from our year as we go.  It serves as a sort of interactive yearbook that is free and parents can follow and look at some of the great things our students and teachers are doing on a regular basis.  Flipboard is nice because it also allows you to work with pictures you like on Instagram which Instagram doesn’t have a way for you to do anything with.  On Flipboard, you can save them to your camera roll or also put them into a magazine.

Next, we recently were looking for a way to create a way to communicate some of the furniture choices we planned to examine for our new school.  I begin to post to instagram to make it easier to create a Flipboard.  It was amazing of the number of students who were liking images and commenting on them.  What a great way to get feedback from a group that we normally don’t involve in our decisions but should include. Students were examining some of the possibilities and began to talk to adults about it who then inquired where are you seeing this stuff.  Their response, Instagram.  Thus, some adults joined to see what the students were talking about.

Finally, we have started to put a morning character message, along with putting out pictures of students along with messages that promote unity, character development, Red Ribbon Week, making good choices, and a multitude of other things which quickly and efficiently reach a large number of students with the message that we are trying to build  a positive school culture while also promoting the proper use of social media outlets.  I have found that if I post these before and after students get on the bus, that many students are looking for these items and it is becoming a part of what they do on a daily basis.  We have received many comments from the community about their ability to become a part of what is happening through the use of these outlets.

These last two weeks, two of our teachers Ms. Darrah and Ms. Walgate planned many fun activities for both Unity Week and Red Ribbon Week which created an experience that as Ryan McLane would say students will say in 20 years, do you remember that one day at BLMS when….  This does not happen when thinking about standardized testing and many other government initiatives.  However, it is our duty to create that experience which cause kids to be eager to come back the next day.  Teachers were doing fun activities such as a Zombie Walk which they were using to learn about constant speed, they were examining Unity and what it meant to be Unique.  Students were taking the time to discuss the various tribes which compose their classes at the middle school.  This was all led by teachers and our students.  It was of great benefit to have social media platforms which allowed us to promote many of the small snapshots which happened while also connecting the messages which were vital to promoting and improving our school culture through the activities created by the teachers.

In closing, I encourage you to check out the benefit of Instagram and Flipboard and also encourage to use social media to help promote your school and get the message out to students, and parents about the great things going on between your walls.  I also want you to make sure you spread the word that any social media platform is EDUCATIONAL as long as the person using it looks through the lens of being someone who wants to use it to make an impact and a difference with your staff and school.

Check out our Flipboard

http://flip.it/U6Rgq

unityday2014

Guest Blogger @spilarcik_lowe: The Most Important “things” in Life aren’t always “things”

8-18
As I visited a garage sale today of a man who greatly impacted the Columbiana County area, watching his most prized possessions (aka wood workings, random tools and knickknacks that he collected ) sell for a dollar here and a few dollars there….. I’m reminded that life is not about “how much you make” but more about “what you make”.

The last week or so I’ve been thinking about the start of the school year, and have been having trouble finding my way.  This year our district will work together to better instruction for our students through collaboration and 21st century skills as we prepare for the opening of our new building in 2015. Ahead of us lies challenges, but if we can all agree to risk leaving behind “good”, together we have the opportunity to become “great”. However as easy as this sounds, it’s scary for many and creates an uneasy feeling in preparing for the school year.

With all of this weighing on my mind, this evening reminded me that in one week I’m out “to make a difference” as we start into the 2014-15 school year.  My goal this year is to embrace the change and challenge myself to become a better educator by continuing as a life long learner.

 With that being said  I want to take a moment to say how proud and lucky I am to have gotten to know and spend time with the late Don Lowe of Wellsville, Ohio.  A man who impacted his community and local school districts greatly. I am also privileged to be married to his grandson Eric Lowe who is following in his footsteps, impacting the lives of students and athletes at Beaver Local Schools.

As we all prepare to start another school year, let’s be thankful for the moments we have and mindful that the most important “things” in life, aren’t always “things”.

sarahgrandpap