Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I'm Still Here

 This year I will be returning to O. P. Earle Elementary as the Assistant Principal.  While it was very hard to leave my current school because of the relationships I had developed, I am blessed to be able to return "home" as I move back into administration.  While I have held this position before, I know I am still going to experience a big learning curve as I get to know the faculty, students, parents, policies and procedures that have changed over the past few years.  

In true teacher fashion I am enjoying my summer, but I am also using it as a time to prepare for the upcoming school year.  Between organizing files, moving into my new office, and planning for professional development, I have several books that I will be reading that have been on the back burner for several months that I plan to read.  Don't worry.  Once I read each one, I plan to share the highlights or my "golden nuggets" with you.   

The first two that I am committing to reading are:

Have you read either of these two? If so, what were your takeaways? 

Friday, August 7, 2015

One "Sweet" Coach

It's hard to believe that next week starts our full week of inservice for the 2015-16 school year.  On Monday the SLT (School Leadership Team) will meet with the new teachers to our building.  This is a fun way to ease back into the school year. We will begin together for introductions and an icebreaker.  After that, the teachers will rotate through "stations" to meet with the Guidance Counselor, Media Specialist, myself, and our Principal and Assistant Principal.  At the conclusion of the stations, we will all enjoy lunch together from one of our favorite local restaurants. 

I am going to use my time with the new teachers to introduce myself and my role.  Coaching is not a new role to our district, but it definitely takes on a different look at each school.  I feel that it is important for the new teachers to know how I view my role and to explain the many different ways that I can assist them throughout the year.  

Earlier in the summer I stumbled upon a blog post called, "Instructional Coaching is like an Oreo Cookie."  Once I read it, I was hooked.  I knew that this would be how I would introduce my role to the new teachers at my school.   Then, when I saw the Limited Edition Back to School Oreos at Walmart the other day, the deal was sealed!  

I will use the handout I created to guide the conversation during our first meeting.  The purpose is to give a brief overview of the 3 basic components of coaching, and to emphasize the fact that student learning is at the heart of the coaching process. I also want the teachers to understand that they will get out of coaching what they put in it.  Just like you can't enjoy an Oreo if you never take a bite, you can't reap the benefits of coaching if you never engage in the process! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

One little word...

As a Reading/Instructional Coach, many times I feel like the line between the school year and summer vacation is a blur. Yes, I do have my summers "off," but I find myself spending a lot of time preparing for the upcoming school year.  This summer has been extended since I have been on maternity leave since March, but that just means I have had a little "extra time" to spend reading books and educational blogs, searching Pinterest, and finding new accounts on Instagram to follow to give me some new ideas and strategies to share with others and to try out myself.

The process of planning professional development for the teachers in my school is a responsibility that I do not take lightly, and is the topic of much of my reading and personal learning.  Just as teachers take into account various forms of data when planning engaging, meaningful lessons for their students, coaches and administrators do the same for professional development. 


One book I have enjoyed digging into a bit more is Read, Write, Lead by Regie Routman.   In the book she refers to professional development as professional learning.  Whoa!  Isn't it crazy how changing one little word can have such a drastic impact on how something is perceived?!?   Once I read this, I immediately pulled up our professional development plan and revised it to read the "IES Professional Learning Plan." Why?  Because that is exactly what it should be... a time to meet together to collaborate, share student work, examine effective teaching practices, and to keep the focus on learning for everyone involved! 

One idea that Routman suggests in her book is to "facilitate bragging." She goes on to explain that teachers are often reluctant to share publicly about their successes unless their efforts are noticed and named by administration and they are asked to bring a work sample and share in a group setting.  She also points out that it is best to let the group know that the teacher has been asked to share in order to make him/her feel more comfortable.  

Along those same lines, this year we will have a time incorporated into our Grade Level Meetings each week called Teacher Try-Its.  This will be a time when an assigned teacher will share with the group a new strategy they tried, technology tool they have implemented, book they have read, etc. I'm excited about the possibilities that these conversations will hold.  

I will wrap this post up with a quote that I believe speaks volumes about the importance of professional learning.  I have every intention of posting this in in my office and in our Literacy Lab, which is the room we use for PD:

Do you have any tried and true tips for ensuring quality, professional learning in your building?  If so, please share!

Always Learning,

Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Reading

While I love to read, during the school year I find myself reading only bits and pieces of various titles in order to use them in staff development, while working with teachers, or as required reading for SLT meetings, etc. I always keep a running list of books that I want to read on my Amazon wishlist, and I like to use the summer months, and other special breaks, to knock a few off of my list.

This summer I decided that I would set a goal to read at least one book for fun, one professional title, one book on parenting, and one on marriage.  I know four books doesn't sound like a lot, but with 3 kiddos and a packed summer schedule, I wanted something attainable.

Here are the books on my list:

Personal:  It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

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Professional:  Unshakeable by Angela Watson- I am actually joining an online book study beginning July 6th to read and discuss this book with other educators.  You can find out more information on Angela's site: 

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I love all of Regie Routman's books and this book is no exception.  We used this book in our SC Read 2  Succeed Coaches' Training this year, but I really want to reread it and dig in a little deeper.

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Parenting:  The 5 Love Languages of Children- Gary Chapman, PhD

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Marriage:  The Antelope in the Living Room- Melanie Shankle

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So, there you have it.  I will keep you updated on my progress as the summer continues.  Let me know of any books that are reading, or have read, that I need to add to my list.

In the words of one of my educational heroes, Debbie Miller, "Happy Reading!"

Thursday, June 25, 2015



I can't believe that I have had this blog for almost a year and I am just now getting around to writing my first post!  It was my intention to get this up and going last year, but with a new job at a new school, and the fact that I was pregnant with Baby #3, it just didn't happen!  However, now that life is beginning to settle into somewhat of a routine, I am ready. 

I want this blog to be a place where I can share with you all of the things I am learning... from books, blog posts, conferences I attend, other teachers/coaches/administrators, and my own personal experiences. 

I saw this quote on Instagram yesterday and thought it was perfect for my purpose behind this blog:

So, without further ado, let's get started!