…..well it’s been a year since I’ve last blogged here, and while I intended to kick off 2018 with a blog post in January, it’s now the end of February. Better late than never, right? I’m constantly inspired by members of my PLN who blog and I want to challenge myself to write and reflect more on my practice as an educational leader. Thanks to those who have gently nudged me to hit the publish button more (Lindsy). Additionally, I want to use this blog as a place to share ideas in hopes of inspiring others.
Each January, I’m inspired to choose my 2018 #oneword (you can read about my choices from 2017, 2015, 2012). Jon Gordon’s one word movement is meant to give meaning and focus to our life. Rather than coming up with a list of resolutions that are typically broken, Jon Gordon encourages individuals to select one word as a focus. While I’ve encouraged staff members in the past to select one word to guide them into a new calendar year, I knew I wanted to do something more this year.
Amazing ideas from current principals and assistant principals are being shared on Melinda Miller and Amber Teamann‘s “Staff Appreciation & Motivation” Facebook group. If you’re not a member of this group, reach out to these two amazing leaders and join! I was inspired to leave a motivating message in each staff members’ mailbox to welcome them their first day back from winter break.
Also, as a way to engage families on our social media platforms, we posted the image below (again: borrowed from Amber Teamann & Melinda Miller) to our district Facebook page, asking families to share their favorite memory from Winter Break. Oftentimes, we use social media as a 1-way communication method to get information to our families, but I love this idea to engage them in 2-way dialogue!
At our first faculty meeting after returning from Winter Break, I wanted to incorporate opportunities for staff members to reflect on the first half of the school year, while setting some goals as we started the second semester. I knew I wanted the reflection portion of our meeting to stem from the image below (found on Instagram). While this could have easily been incorporated into our weekly staff blog post, I wanted the staff to share and grow from their conversations with each other.I wanted to collectively share and celebrate our successes and areas of greatest pride, and I wanted staff members to articulate their areas for growth or goals for the second half of the school year with their colleagues, as I know they will find support and motivation from those around them who will hold them accountable and support their growth.
Another amazing resource is Stephanie McConnell’s “Principal Principles Leadership Group” on Facebook. If you are not a subscriber to Stephanie’s “Principal Principles” newsletter, what are you waiting for? I received an email (while on winter break) with an amazing, creative idea to goal set for the upcoming calendar year.
Stephanie shared a template that we used, in addition to buying little glitter packets from Michael’s (again, all info included in her newsletter, and her blog post here). After our staff engaged in committing to their #oneword for the year, we went outside to pour the glitter packet in the palm of their hands and blow to ‘make a wish’. I asked each staff member to fill out a google form with their #oneword, as well.
I knew I wanted the staff members’ choices of their #oneword to resonate with them and serve as a meaningful focal point to guide their actions, words and life. I saw beautiful watercolor artwork from an educator in Texas on Instagram and reached out to her via Direct Message to see if I could commission her to create #oneword depictions for each staff member. She agreed and the products were amazingly beautiful and unique, just like each member of our school family. Laura Moore (@strong_i_stand on Instagram and @mooretolearn on Twitter) created a 4×6 watercolor painting and lettering of each staff member’s #oneword.
I purchased 4×6 frames from Walmart (2 pack for $1.87) and surprised the staff at a faculty meeting with their #oneword.
It’s wonderful to see each staff member proudly display their #oneword to serve as a continual reminder of their focus for the year.