Have you realized the power of Twitter and Voxer in building a professional learning network (PLN)? These two platforms have allowed two elementary school Principals who have actually never met face-to-face (yet...fortunately, this will be remedied in April at @lead3!) to share best practices, learn and improve upon each other’s successes and mishaps, provide encouragement and support, and challenge each other’s thinking! Through the course of becoming connected principals, educators, and lead learners over the past year, the two of us banded together as we learned that we had much in common, both personally and professionally. It led to a series of conversations (including one hysterically failed attempt to organize a Google Hangout) about our respective focus on character education on our sites. It has included implementation of national programs like Rachel’s Challenge to the incorporation of John Wooden’s Pyramid to Success through a partnership with Harper for Kids. We both have made concerted efforts to incorporate the importance of mindfulness, kindness, and empathy within ourselves, students, and staffs. Jeff Kubiak (@principalkubiak) is the principal of Cordelia Hills Elementary School (@cordeliahills) in Fairfield, CA. Todd Schmidt (@tsschmidty) is the principal of Harbor View Elementary (@harborviewelem) in Corona del Mar, CA. This is our story…
Our students are recognized for their contributions daily as well. We have “Coyote Paw Pride” for “doing the right thing” and a Student of the Month award given to students that follow our monthly block focus on the pyramid. Parents are invited to join their kiddos at our monthly lunch celebration!
JK: Coach John Wooden was the most successful basketball coach in the history of the NCAA. Not only did he develop amazing athletes, he helped to sculpt amazing young men that would become upstanding citizens. His 15 Pyramid blocks are used all over the world and in so many different arenas today. Corporate, Sports, and Schools all benefit from this model. As a swim coach, I learned from Warren Lager’s Marin Pirates how to instill this in young athletes and began incorporating it with my students and staff at school.
JK: I was introduced to Tim Harper and Peanut Louie by a mutual friend. After meeting with them and understanding the “Harper for Kids” way and motto I was hooked. They came in and presented some assemblies to my school, and it then took off! All of our classrooms have the poster of Wooden’s Pyramid. Each student was given one, and we have a large mural painted for all to see as you enter our school! The connection that the students get with the “real life” athletes, and Harper for Kids messaging is awesome! Peanut co-wrote a book with Coach Wooden called “Inch and Miles” which is used to teach lessons throughout our classrooms
JK: Whenever you have a really cool idea, or something you believe will benefit ALL STUDENTS, that requires buy-in or at least participation from the staff, parents, and community. I HATE adding anything more to a teacher’s plate, and many times protect them as best I can. With that being said, it is the time, whole school community buy in and embracing of it, and then…..what will drive the momentum and keep it alive? It can’t be just me, and it can’t be just the students, or staff...it must be all of us...together...with fidelity!