Monday, September 12, 2016

Accentuate the Positive

Principal ponderings...

Did you read the title of this post and immediately start snapping your fingers and singing the song?!  Accentuate the positive.  Eliminate the negative.  Are you not singing yet?   Ok, here you go...
Now that I have that catchy tune stuck in your head, let me tell you why I am singing that song this year and why I want to get all of us singing this song.  People tell stories all the time.  Staff tell stories to students to connect with them.  Sometimes our students go home and tell stories about their day to their parents.  Parents tell us stories about their children so that we can better understand how to reach them.  I tell stories to you through this blog.  Our school has a story tell, but over the years, I'm not sure if we have been doing the best job as storytellers.  You see, great things happen every single day in this school.  Students make discoveries.  Teachers create those 'aha' moments.  Kids struggle and try again and grow.  Friends get into disagreements and then figure out how to problem solve and build stronger friendships.  Staff believe that every child can learn and succeed.  Our school has a story to tell, but the problem has been that not everyone has been telling the story and not everyone has been listening to the story being told.

The song line says, "you've to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative."  There is a reason why I never watch the news.  One, because I have too many other things going on and don't really ever have time to sit down and watch it.  But two, everything on the news always seems to be awful.  There was another shooting.  Someone robbed this store.  Groups of people arguing.  A terrible car accident.  And then of course, there's the political campaigns.  Don't even get me started on that!  When do reporters share the uplifting news?  When do we hear the stories of people helping each other?  Is there ever any good news?  It seems to me that's pretty rare.  Now think about our school system, our district, our school, your classroom.  Just like when people all over tune into the news, people here in Groton-Dunstable often tune into the school news.  But it's usually the negative that people focus on and talk about.  

It's time to change the story.  We must accentuate the positive.  Because there is a lot of that in our school.  I know because I see it or hear about it everyday.  In the past, I have worked on sharing information through our website.  I have created a school Twitter account.  I created this blog.  But still our story was not really being told and the people that we wanted to hear our story were not really listening.  So this year I created a school Facebook page.  And suddenly, more people started listening to our story.

The song that you might still be singing in your head says, "you've got to spread joy up to the maximum, bring gloom down to the minimum."  As you have seen already this year, I am putting a lot of energy into our theme, #bringthejoy.   But there is a method to my madness, actually a reason for my joyfulness.  The more that we push our positive story out there, the more people we will get listening to our story and learning about what we do here.  We make a difference.  We mold future minds.  We push kids to think, grow, learn.  We care about our students and each other.  We do amazing stuff and people need to know that!

So many people gravitate towards the negative story, the bad news.  Let's flip the switch, let's accentuate the positive!  The more we share our positive story, the more the community knows about what goes on within our walls, the better.

So who's with me?  Are you ready to tell the FloRo story?!

Currently reading:
I just started a new professional development book called Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love.  I attended a session with the two authors, Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis, this summer at a conference.  And I was totally inspired by their enthusiasm and passion for improving educational leadership!  Looking forward to reading about some of their "right-now solutions for building a rich community, while bringing fun back to school."
I am also enjoying my book club reading that I started over the summer: A Principal's Guide to Leadership in the Teaching of Writing.  I have been reading chapters and then discussing my takeaway points with Pete, Dianna, Grace, Sharon, and now Kelly. 
And thanks to some recommendations from some other principals that I am connected with through Voxer, I added some books to my Amazon cart!  Here's one that I can't wait to get my hands on and read...

Events this week:
**Sept 15-ish is International Dot Day!  Check out this site for more info: or look up info on Twitter using #DotDay.

Monday - Our new elementary adjustment counselor, Kathy Moffet, starts today!  She will be spending the week at FloRo to begin meeting students and staff.
Tuesday - Our Eureka math shipment is scheduled to arrive!!
Thursday - Curriculum Night, 6:00-7:00 3rd and 4th grade parents, 6:30 1st grade literacy session, 7:00-8:00 K through 2nd grade parents
Friday - Dianna and Liz @ High School 8:30 - 12:30 for UDL Leadership course, PTA Welcome Back Picnic 4:00-6:00 on the back field

Great things that I noticed last week:

  • I loved getting handed a copy of this 2nd grader's picture and writing where she stated that she wants to be a principal when she grows up.  I was excited that she mentioned one reason was because principals go into all the classrooms.  That is my favorite part of the job!  She also said principals "do important stuff!" 
  • I popped into Mrs. Pierantozzi's room just in time to see them talking about solving an application problem, reviewing about reading, drawing and writing when solving the problem.
  • If you are curious about this thing called "flexible seating", check out Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Potter's room!  They got a project fully funded through DonorsChoose and now they have lots of seating options. 
  • I read a funny story called Nibbles, The Book Monster to some of our kindergarten classrooms this week.  Before I started reading in Mrs. Taylor's room, I caught these K students engaged in practicing the letter b! 
  • Although it was rather hot both times, I enjoyed meeting with teachers and paras on Wednesday and Friday.  Thanks for some great brainstorming and discussions!
Check it out:
This year, I am serving on the Board for MESPA, which is the MA Elementary School Principal Association.  I help with lots of professional development planning.  In fact, in December I will be teaching a workshop on the power of social media!  There are lots of workshops available.  These are not just for principals.  Take a look at the course offerings to see if something interests you!

And I just love this image that another principal shared with me...

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