Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One NEW Little Word

Last year, I stumbled across Ali Edwards'blog and I was blown away by the challenge to find one little word that would represent my year. After a little bit of reflection and goal setting, I landed on the word "Link". My plan was to link my passions with my profession, link professionally with folks who can make me smarter, link people in need with the
that they need to be successful in life. Linking and making deeper relationships with my husband, family, friends, parents in my building, and anyone else that crosses my path. And, even more exciting for me, was thinking about the areas where "link" might show up that had never crossed my mind.
So how did the little word, that I truly believe chose me, fare?
Thinking back to the expectations I had around this one little word, I can't believe how narrow I was in my thinking. Initially, when I stated I wanted to link my passions with my profession, I had it in my mind that I would bring service learning into my school building. Or, better yet, I would find a way to help others while at Sherwood, utilizing the resources I had on hand.
The reality?
I got linked to the Strive Partnership (by total accident...I might add) and ended up taking on a new position where my passions are my profession. I get to come to work every day and have a much broader impact on teaching and learning, as well as, helping to grow my city and eradicate poverty. SERIOUSLY?!?!?! Then, take it a step further in this role, I am constantly linking the dots all day long. Making connections and linking people with programs, efforts, initiatives - you name it! This word permeates my life...daily.
As far as linking families in need with resources, this too has grown beyond my expectations. Through my mentoring experiences with Secret, I have built a pretty solid relationship with her immediate family, as well as her aunt and 2 cousins. Through relationship building (which is the ultimate "link"), I have been able to begin to link this family with supports that they need in order to begin to break the cycle of poverty. It is still a long road ahead that will continue to need additional supports which will hopefully come from the CityLink Center (celebrating huge strides and is scheduled to open Fall of 2012).
Professionally speaking, I am quick to foster relationships, make those connections to help others. Where I am still growing is in linking in my personal relationships and going deeper. My husband I have been extremely intentional about carving out "coffee time" (time for us to connect without any other distractions). But, my personal friendships are still growing. It is a work in progress.
Big learnings this year...
Don't have expectations for the word...be EXPECTANT and open to the possibilities.
Don't limit myself to setting goals...DREAM BIG!
So, in my opinion, "LINK" doesn't go away. It stays a part of me (shoot, how can it not?). However, I need a new word for this year. One that has chosen me, one that will guide my path as I journey on.
This year...drumroll please.....my new word is.....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Life as a Blogger

Looking back at my previous posts has prompted me to reflect on how my blogging journey started and where I am now as a blogger.

I started this blog as part of my PLP year 2 passion based learning project, to share out my findings.  I was actively pursuing an action research project on 1:1 computing through the use of iPod Touches.  We were pioneers in this area, the iPads weren't out yet and very few schools were utilizing the touches in the classroom.  As we ventured on this journey, paving the way through what felt like the thickest rain forest you could ever hike, I felt like for the sake of transparency (for our parent community) and helping our fellow 21st century pioneers, we had to share our findings.  This seemed like the best way to get the word out.  And it was. 

I landed on the name Emergent Lucidity because that's exactly how I was feeling.  Have you ever felt like at one moment, you can't see beyond your nose...it's cloudy, there's no direction, and no clear path?  Then the next moment, it's clear as a bell, you can see the path you are on and the understanding of where to head next is evident.  Then it's gone again.

Like all things, my blog transitioned to reflections as an administrator.  A way for the parents in my building, and also my fellow PLCers to gain insights as to what was happening in my world and offer great feedback/thought provoking questions.  It's sad, the last post I created was about leaving my role as an admisitrator. 

The blogging assignment has come at a perfect time.  It's causing me to reflect on my blog space and how I see myself moving forward.  In my new role at the Strive Partnership, there are some really exciting things happening that are causing me to reflect deeply on the importance of education reform, especially in an urban setting.  Some days, it's all very clear...some days it's so cloudy I can't even see what I'm working on...Emergent Lucidty at it's finest.  Time to start blogging again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


It is with mixed emotions that I say goodbye to Sherwood. Sherwood is an amazing school, filled with some of the best teachers that I have ever worked with in education. The leadership of this building is outstanding, which continues to foster the growth of our teachers and your children. Your children are absolutely incredible and only grow stronger with your support. This is what drew me to Sherwood and is what makes it so hard to say goodbye.

I value all of these things, tremendously, which only made my decision that much tougher. I have been offered an exciting opportunity to work with Strive Together Partnership, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks, as the Director of In School Support. I have wanted to utilize my education background to give back to the city of Cincinnati, especially in the area of urban education. In this role, I will have the opportunity to impact education on a much larger scale which will help impact academic success in urban education, ultimately assisting in breaking the cycle of poverty that our inner city students face.

So, the end of this school year is quite bittersweet. Sherwood has had a huge impact on who I am as an educator, as well as a person. It has been truly a blessing to be a part of such a great community. As much as I hate to say goodbye, it’s time for me to turn the page and begin the next chapter in my life. Thank you so much for your support. I will miss Sherwood very much.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

One Little Word...

So, you may have seen Your Three Words on ABC Good Morning America. These three words help to express your thoughts, your feelings, your sadness or joy. They can be a celebration of a special event, or a thought on everyday life. It's amazing how much you can express in just 3 words. We have a teacher at Sherwood who has incorporated this into their classroom and the kids have really gotten creative in sharing their 3 words.

I have always loved this idea and what it stands for, so when I stumbled across Ali Edwards' blog I was blown away by this concept. One little word...could it really represent my year? I had enough trouble coming up with 3 words to really share who I am and what I'm all about. Could I possibly narrow it down to 1 word that would encompass the whole year?

At first I thought my word should be "grow"...I mean, there's always room for growth right? However, when I look back at 2010...that year truly represented growth. From taking on a new job to leading the GO New Orleans trip...I have been stretched in grown in ways I couldn't begin to imagine! Then I thought my word should be "let". Sometimes I need to step back and let others step into roles that would stretch them. I also need to let go of things on my plate, rather than hanging on to them and getting bogged down. But it just didn't seem like the right fit.

So I started this blog about a week ago, and I have been hitting save, trying to figure out my little word. I wasn't sure if I would choose the word, of if the word would choose me. But, somehow, I have landed on the word for me. The word is "link".

I'm going to be working on linking my passions with my profession, linking professionally with folks who can make me smarter (a little selfish I know...but I do love twitter!). Linking people in need with the resources that they need to be successful in life. Linking and making deeper relationships with my husband, family, friends, parents in my building, and anyone else that crosses my path. And, even more exciting for me, are the areas where "link" will pop up that I'm not even thinking about yet.

I see this little word permeating every area of my life. I'm excited to see how this word changes me as it becomes the lens that I look through the next 353 days!

If you are interested in joining me, please post your little word in the comment section. I'd love to hear what little word represents you this year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Driving Instruction...

Adding another meeting to a teacher's already busy schedule, typically isn't well received. Needless to say, I was blown away by the lack of flack that I got when I scheduled a standing Tuesday professional development meeting.

Why have these meetings been so successful? I
have been taking a deeper look at the pieces that are in place to make these meetings so meaningful. Here's what I have found. The teachers are set up in learning communities where they can come and share in an environment that isn't intimidating. The assignments are differentiated to meet our teachers where they are as learners and are accessible to everyone. There is time each week to share what has been happening in the classrooms, as well as student evidence to support it. Guidelines have been clearly established and are reviewed by the PLCs at the beginning of each meeting which sets the expectation for the day. All of these things help to create an effective learning environment.

Our current PLC focus is on Formative Assessments. Each week we meet and talk about what we are doing in our classrooms around formative assessments and share out student work samples. Then we learn about a new component of formative assessments, make sense of it on our own terms and how it relates to instruction, then head out to try it out in the classroom. Every week, the teachers come prepared and excited to discuss what they have done in their classrooms. It's truly changing the face of instruction here at Sherwood.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's in your office?

I was approached by Mr. Lammers, a fourth grade teacher in my building, about helping respond to his students' "talk back" journals. What an exciting thing to participate in! Not only can I learn a little bit about the fourth graders in his class, but I get to respond to their questions. Without hesitation...I said YES!

The prompt they were given was "If you could ask the Assistant Principal any question, what would it be?". I have spent the last few evenings reading and responding to their questions. Some of the questions have been pretty typical, such as "What is your favorite place to vacation?", "How long has Sherwood been a school?", "Where were you before you came to Sherwood?", and the list goes on. One question, however, that really caught my attention was about my office. This student explained in their letter that they had never visited my office, but wondered what was in it. Would I have pictures of kids in my office and/or pictures of my family? This really made me think. What does my office say about who I am as an administrator and as a person. So I started looking around.

The first thing that caught my eye is a large picture hanging on my wall of 2 giraffes. One is a baby giraffe laying on the ground with his head up. The other giraffe is coming from the top of the picture and it is kissing the head of the baby giraffe. Next to this picture are two signs. One says "Contagious Enthusiasm" and the other says"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."

On one of my walls, I noticed pictures that students have made for me. One is from a 2nd grader named Steven. He made a picture of red flowers and the sunshine with a watering can watering the flowers. Janie, another 2nd grader, drew a picture of me that has hearts all around it (it's quite good I might add...I made it my Twitter profile pic).

On my door, I have pictures of students from a lesson that I taught last year as a special guest teacher. The students are engaged in the activity and having fun! There is also a picture on my door of me with one of my 2nd grade friends, Devin. On the first day of school, Devin brought in the most beautiful, gigantic sandwich I have ever seen! I made a big deal over this sandwich and how delicious it looked. The next day, Devin packed me a lunch with the most beautiful, gigantic sandwich in it! We had lunch together that day...everyone was jealous of our sandwiches!

As I continue the journey through my office, I notice pictures of my husband, friends of mine, and my family around my office. Reminding me of my life outside of Sherwood and things that are important to me. There is also a smattering of UK Wildcat paraphernalia and frogs of all sizes (even one in a UK shirt!). I'm a die hard Wildcat alumni (yes...I bleed blue) and one of my favorite philosophies is EAT THAT FROG!

As I look around my office, I'm noticing that all of these things I have placed in my office (as randomly as some may appear) help to paint the picture of who I am as a person, wife, daughter, sister, teacher, learner, friend, and administrator.

So, this question, that seemed so simple from the mind of a 4th grader, really caused some deep reflection on who I am. I'm proud to say that my office is a direct reflection of EXACTLY what I want to be!

So my question to you is...what's in your office?

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's All Good in the Wood...

That's the state of mind this year at Sherwood. Ms. Bellamy took this theme, which includes an underlying theme personal growth, and had the students and staff create a beautiful representation!
All over the walls of our cafeteria you will see individually created flowers. The flowers vary in size, based on grade level. Kindergarten are the smallest flowers and they progress in size ending with 6th grade creating the largest. Each flower has a picture of the person who created it and one leaf, identifying their passion.

Prior to the start of school, our staff got together to take a deeper dive into our theme of personal growth. We started by identifying what we were passionate about and created a non-linguistic
representation of this with model magic. We placed this creation on a stick and then stuck it in a small flower pot. Leaves were added to help us identify how we were going to grow our passion. This was a great way to kick off the year and set some goals on how we were going to grow, both personally and professionally.

It's so neat to walk through the building and be reminded of all of our passions (staff and students). It helps us to hold each other accountable and check in regularly on our progress. The students are even excited to see what their friends are passionate about which leads to some fantastic conversations at lunch!

So, let our walls be your inspiration! What are you passionate about? How willyour "leaves" feed your passion? Set some goals and begin to watch yourself grow!!!

Remember...It's all good in the wood!