Where did Spring Break go? Well, for the first time since I've been principal, we had 18 teachers who requested to transfer to our school. This was an anomaly; most tenured teachers shy away from our school because they prefer not to teach in a highly transient military school. So much of my Spring Break was spent interviewing teachers. I must say, though, that I was impressed with many of the applicants, and it's really nice to have options regarding whom we select for the positions. I firmly believe that the initial interview is so important as it lets the applicant know what our vision for the school is and what our expectations are for our teachers.
This year, I submitted a proposal to lead a session at a Google Apps for Education Summit which took place on Friday and Saturday. I attended the first Summit last year, and I realized how much more I could be doing with GAFE at our school, and at that time, I resolved to get all of our teachers on-board. My proposal focused on how we are using GAFE to build our community of learners at Hale Kula. I was nervous -- I was out of my comfort zone -- and I was worried about technical difficulties. When this happens at school, I am among "family" and they understand, but in front of "strangers" - well, I was experiencing some anxieties. Fortunately, my presentation was during the first block, so I was able to get it over with and relax and enjoy the rest of the Summit. Those who attended my session asked a lot of questions which made the time go quickly. After that experience, I realize I do have something to share with other educators, and I will look for opportunities at other conferences in the future.
The number of participants doubled since the initial Summit last year, and I'm sure it'll keep increasing as more schools adopt GAFE. The best thing about it is that it's free, and as a school with limited resources, we appreciate that Google keeps adding tools that we can use to enhance teaching and learning. Using GAFE, we have the opportunity to collaborate, communicate, think critically, and create and share our learnings not just within our school, but globally as well. In a time when our policy makers are focused on high-stakes testing, we are preparing our students for a world without walls, where their questions will lead them to explore, discover, create, and share. It is inspiring to see what students can create when given the opportunity!