IT'S BEEN A WHILE....Between the hustle and bustle of the school year, principal of the year networking opportunities, and a commitment to the LHSAA as an executive committee member, the end of 2017 has been nothing short of a world wind for me. Because of this, it has been a while since I have taken the time to put my thoughts to paper. But in this blog, I want to share with you the part of the schedule that has been the most fun for me and that has been the opportunity to network with other great principals.
AN INTERESTING QUESTION...Coming from the coaching world, it has always been common practice that coaches steal ideas any place they can find them. As a coach, I have attended hundreds of lectures at clinics and have spent many an evening sitting around a table in the lobby of some hotel just talking "ball." As I have transitioned into the world of administration, however, it has been an adjustment and in the back of my mind I am constantly posing the question to myself "Why don't administrators talk "ball" or in this case "school" with each other on a regular basis?" We have great leaders in this state that have helped to raise the standard of education, so why is it that we just don't get together and exchange ideas?
With this in mind, I have made it my personal pledge that during my term as the 2018 Louisiana Principal of the Year to go and meet and steal ideas from as many principals and schools as possible. What follows is my journey thus far, and a glimpse into some of the great schools and leaders I have met with as well as the other leaders that I have had the opportunity to meet and share ideas.
PROFESSIONAL CONFERENCES...My first opportunity to network with other principals came as a presenter and attendee at the Louisiana Association of Principals conference. It was the first time that I was able to just give my ideas to others on things that work for me as a principal. It truly didn't matter if the information was pertinent to all. It has always been my contention that if one person can take one thing away that makes them a better leader for kids, then it was all worth it. While presenting was fun, the best part of the conference were the times that we just sat around and took the information from Jill Jackson and shared with colleagues how this pertained to our own schools.
From there my professional conferences journey continued as a member of POY finalist who helped to facilitate the ED Camp at La. Tech University. The opportunity to meet with principals with 0-3 years experience just verified to the importance of principals helping principals. As a matter of
fact, this ED Camp networking set-up has now become a personal goal of mine to host at next year's teacher leader conference. Hopefully we can strum up enough interest to make this a yearly networking opportunity for not only new principals but for all educational leaders in place and for those aspiring educational leaders attending the teacher leader conference. Stay tuned for details
THE REAL FUN STUFF...... (My School Visits and Visits to My School)
While the conferences were fun, the most exciting part of my journey thus far has been my opportunities to talk shop and visit with schools and the opportunity that I have had to host leadership teams at North Vermilion High School.
Among the school visits in which I was able to share and steal ideas have been Westlake High School, West Feliciana High School, Grand Lake High School and Vinton High School. From each of these schools, the opportunity to sit and talk about intervention, CLEP test, ACT Prep, course scheduling and school community service projects are opportunities that we will never find in any of the prep courses for administrators.
While these visits were fun, they were not nearly as exciting as the schools that I have been able to stop in and talk but also visit campuses and see great teaching, leadership and overall school spirit. Among those stops were Ruston High School, Arcadia High School, Crawford Elementary, Jonesboro Hodge High School, Simsboro High School, Caroline Dorman Middle School and Brusly High School. Anytime an event takes me some place, a school visit becomes part of that plan. You just never know what you will pick up when you make a school visit. From school policies, scheduling alternatives, freshmen academy ideas to just plain old school spirit school visits are an awesome experience. Obviously we can't always be gone, but you would be surprised how many schools you can visit in one area with a little planning. And don't be afraid to take a team on these networking visits. And by the way, you never know when you will receive an email out of the blue that says I am in town and I am coming by.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO SHARE OR STEAL IDEAS.......
The one thing that I leave you with in this blog today is to go out and share your ideas, steal ideas from others and don't be afraid to network. We have been given so much information and the state of education has changed so much for all of us in the past years that sometimes we just need to take a step back and figure out how do we pull all of this off. My advice to you, don't try and do it alone, use any and every resource you can find. The best idea may come from your colleague next door, in your parish or somewhere in the state. Go find them.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS .....
While I will be posting the 2017 POY in pictures later next week, I want to take this time to say thanks to all that I have had the opportunity to meet and I want to wish all a well-deserved holiday break. 2017 has been a year to remember for me professionally and I hope that we all can network and make 2018 and even greater year for all of us in this great profession.