Friday, January 11, 2008

January 9, 2008…. On the road again!

Whew… it was a great holiday. A nice long one with those of us in Shanghai enjoying a three week break! The family and I headed back to the homestead with snow, and grandparents, and “real” Christmas trees. One can complain a lot about living overseas and being away from life in the states, but I am still convinced that working in international schools is the way to go.

A few things keeping my motivated and focused this coming year and I want to share. I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do try to keep a list in my head of the things that I am looking forward to facing and meeting aggressively this calendar year.

  1. My school is in the midst of an accreditation self study through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. We have some clearly identified outcomes that should come out of this effort which include:
    • the transformation of the way we do our work (more on this later),
    • a clearly articulated measure of the current operating state of our school based upon our own
    • the establishment of a set of metrics of which we can measure our progress toward our vision points that can be reported out to our community regularly (more on that one as well!)
  2. It appears as if we are moving toward a new school information system installation at our school. This will be a big logistical and motivational challenge for our school as we move into the mess and muss of data migration, learning of software, establishing new procedures and systems….. should be fun!
  3. Planning and subsequent implementation of a one to one computing initiative. I don’t think this one will be realized till the fall of ’09, but with the selection of the right teachers and leaders we can make this organizationally transformational for our classroom programs.
I have mentioned challenge and fun earlier in this post, but I have some other REAL fun to look forward to as well.
  1. I am looking forward to attending the NECC conference this summer. I think that this will be my first educational computing conference I have attended in over 7 years besides the Learning 2.0 conference this last fall in Shanghai.
  2. I am looking forward to beginning a video podcast series with Mr. Jeff Utecht which is a spin off of the famed “Cooking with Jeff” Twitter session that he has been doing on a regular basis. “Cooking with Jeff…. and ANDY!” will premier next week and we are going to shoot for a bi-weekly effort. Our wives think we are nuts, but frankly speaking, this is how I learn best. I combine a fun, self-motivated activity AND I will learn the nuances of video podcasting.
  3. Spend more time with my wife and children. I am hoping and praying that the road will not consume me. I don’t think it will as I see changes on the horizon on how I am going to work my “work” in the months to come.
  4. Spend some time in the gym and get some exercise. Yes… that is fun too.

Communications note:

In early December I did a post about positive communications practices and thanks to Jeff “The Thinking Stick” Utecht drawing some attention to the post, I got some nice responses.

One respondant wrote...
I am a superintendent who celebrates our positives/achievements whenever I can. I even structured a commitment to celebrate into the beginning of every report I give to the school committee. A reminder goes out the week before each meeting for things administrators and teachers want me to celebrate. I summarize them for the committee, the press, and the public.

But, why do it? Competition? Economic gain? Politics? You have to watch a video that Dewitt Jones produced to understand why. I showed it to every faculty and parent organization and many community group when I began in my current school district. It was fundamental to my theories about leadership and learning. The video is Celebrate What's Right with the World. It is expensive, but the vision in the video is transformational. I've watched it close to thirty times, and the message never grows old and never loses meaning for me. You can read about it and see it at Don't miss it.

And Darren Draper linked me to his blog post as an example of stressing the positives to create change! Drapes Takes has some great content and I have enjoyed reading it! Thanks Darren for the comment which you wrote....

I think that if we were doing a better job at celebrating the positive, newspaper articles like the one I recently responded to would have a different slant.

Thank you to all... until the next car trip across Shanghai! Keep the focus on Common Sense!


b said...

Well done.


j said...

I'll second that!