Sunday, November 4, 2012

Learning from Other Principals

When I decided to join Twitter, I had no idea that I was gaining a professional development opportunity. Originally, I joined to update our parents on activities or happenings at the school, but our librarian told me that I should/could follow respected educators, read posts and blogs and respond if I wish.  I have learned and been informed about much more than I ever thought possible through Twitter.  I can't possibly keep up with everything, so I pick and choose.  It gives me something to read when I have a few extra minutes, or the posts, blogs, and articles provide me with food for thought or validates my own experiences as a school principal.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit an elementary school in another state, and I spent nearly two hours with the principal.  We took a tour of the campus; we discussed funding and the challenges schools are facing as a result of the poor economy; we talked about data and high stakes testing; and we agreed that schools are being asked to do more with less funding.  I marveled at the curriculum the school offers its students despite decreased funding which includes:  learning a second language (they're an International School, and students will be literate in two languages by the end of third grade); music instruction which teaches content, culture, and performance; a Freedom Shrine with replicas of historical documents from American history; and a marine lab which integrates scientific inquiry and discovery as well as an awareness of different habitats.  Clearly, the school is committed to prepare its students to be well-rounded citizens, prepared to face the challenges of the future.

I believe most educators are optimists; we believe that things will get better, and we are committed to supporting our students so they can be successful.  As a classroom teacher and now as a principal, I have always believed that educators can learn so much from each other if we only had the opportunity to share best practices and articulate challenges and possible solutions.  Social media and the Internet provides us with the ability to connect with other educators around the world.  We say that we need to provide students with opportunities to communicate, collaborate, think critically, and create  As educators, we need to have those opportunities as well.  Now, if we just had more time during the day . . .

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