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Showing posts from October, 2015

Don't Give Up the Ship

I've had a bad week. I will not lie. Things were not going well from the outset. Generally, I am a fairly positive person, but I struggled this week with negative thoughts.

Without going into the painful details of what exactly went wrong, I can tell you that the underlying problems were, well, problems. Things not running smoothly, disruptions to the schedule, set backs in "the plan."

In my more frustrated moments, I did a lot of complaining. My message was clear: "This will never work."

This is not a sentence I utter often. For most of life, I believe in possibilities and work hard to make them realities. This historically has been easier for me, but maintaining this mindset this week has been a challenge.

I was fortunate to be exposed to some forward thinkers this week, who helped me to focus on what could be and what was working. I've taken their thoughts and put them into a handy list to help myself when I have another bout of negative thinking.

Focus o…

Being Understood

My 9th grader called me yesterday after school. "Can you pick me up?," he asked. I had not planned to, but my mommy sense told me I should say yes.

When I arrived at school he was sitting by the tennis courts doing some homework. He looked a little sad.

As parents, we want to make sure our kids our ok. As the parents of teenagers, we know better than to ask, so I waited to be told.

The conversation started with the usual topics. How was your day? What should we have for dinner? Eventually, he opted to drive with me to pick up his brother from cross country. And that is when I got the goods.

No, he was not bullied in school. No one stole his lunch money, he wasn't sick and he didn't lose his Chromebook. What happened was something that has happened to all of us - he wasn't able to explain his thinking.

It was the end of the last class of the day. Many of the kids had left early for a soccer game, so the teacher asked the students a series of questions. For each qu…

A Vision That Drives What We Do

What guides your institution? I've given this a great deal of thought lately. Leaving one institution for another provides a special lens through which to compare and analyze. I've found myself thinking about why - Why is policy in place? Why do we value that thing? Why do we show up every day?

To be clear, I am not saying "we did it better at my old school" or "my new institution is an improvement over my old one." Rather, having been part of a school culture and being faced with the task of navigating a new one has given me the opportunity to evaluate both.

This month I've been reading Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need by Chris Lehman and Zac Chase.I haven't made a great deal of progress with the reading, but the book has enabled me to do a great deal of thinking. One of the chapters is about vision. I read it last week, but have thought about the idea of vision on a fairly consistent basis in the days since.

Lehman and Chase …

An Indelible Mark

My sister died this summer. It was unexpected and awful. She was funny, generous, thoughtful and warm. It was impossible to be around her and not laugh.

Amy was older than me by five years and so, naturally, I worshipped her. Years ago, she had a pair of purple shoes (it was the 80s!) that I coveted. My feet were smaller than hers at the time because I was only 10. She said that she'd give them to me when my feet were big enough.

Besides the shoes, Amy had many gifts that I admired - as a 10 year old, throughout my teens and later as an adult. She knew how to mark an occasion. She threw great parties, paying careful attention to every detail. She remembered milestones.

But it wasn't just the celebratory moments that Amy acknowledged. She knew the importance of marking the more difficult moments in life as well. When my oldest son was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Amy sent him balloons. His delight was infectious and he played with them for days until they fell limp…