Episode 8: It’s All About Relationships


Episode #8: It’s All About Relationships

In this episode, we discuss why building relationships in schools is so important.

 

Show Rundown:

 

Music by Bensound.com

We are elementary school principals in Rowland Unified School District in Southern California. We have launched this podcast as part of our inquiry to learn, share and apply effective leadership practice.

Join our Personal Learning Network aimed to support, scale, and sustain technology integration and innovation. Follow us @betweenthejohns and check out our website, betweenthejohns.com.

Check out this episode!

Episode 7: What Did You Learn This Summer – Part 2


Episode #7: What Did You Learn This Summer – Part 2

In this episode, we share our summer highlights, discuss the opening of school, and we review our summer homework on researching tools for GTD (Getting Things Done).

Tools and Websites Mentioned in E7

  • Narro is a a text to speech podcast app. Narro will take your bookmarked articles and read them back to you as a podcast.
  • Pocket is a free service that makes it easy to discover great content that’s personalized to your interests, and save this content so you can return to it later on any device, at any time.
  • Keep is a note-taking service that syncs across all devices and allows collaboration.
  • Executive Summaries is a web-based subscription service for book summaries, reviews and webinars of the best business books.
  • Todoist helps get all your tasks and thoughts out of your head and onto your to-do list anytime, anywhere, on all of your favorite devices.
  • The Secret Weapon is a is “a free organizational methodology for both professional and personal aspects of life that re-organizes emails, ideas, and every to-do big and small into one system.”
  • A Malleable Mind is a website by Matthew Larson, a teacher in New Jersey, who shares his professional learning journey through blog posts, book summaries, and more.

Shoutouts:

Shout Outs are our acknowledgment and thanks to folks who have helped us with this episode or who influence our thinking and inspire us to grow.

  • Martinez: I want to thank the @RascalPride office staff for doing a fantastic job getting everything ready to launch the school year and for welcoming our parents and students as they registered.
  • Staumont: Shout out to @JellickPTA. Man, am I lucky to have an awesome group of parents who are working to support our school.
  • Martinez: @RascalPride classroom teachers get a big shout out for embracing the idea that classrooms must be all about relationships with students. I can’t describe the thrill I feel when I visit classrooms. It has been a real treat and it is making a difference in the lives of our kids.
  • Staumont: I too want to give a shout out (we call them Kudos) to @Jellick_RUSD teachers. They kicked off the year in spectacular fashion.
  • Staumont: Finally, I want to give a shout out to you and my other principal buddies who help, collaborate and share ideas willingly and without hesitation. I am blessed to work with a great administration team.
  • Martinez: My last shout out is to our Superintendent, Dr, Julie Mitchell. She orchestrated a magnificent kick off for our certificated and classified staff focused on relationships, hope, and innovative learning for all.

 

Music by Bensound.com

We are elementary school principals in Rowland Unified School District in Southern California. We have launched this podcast as part of our inquiry to learn, share and apply effective leadership practice.

Join our Personal Learning Network aimed to support, scale, and sustain technology integration and innovation. Follow us @betweenthejohns and check out our website, betweenthejohns.com.

Check out this episode!

A Smile Can Change Everything

Before we get started…

During a #4OCFpln Voxer conversation a couple weeks ago, Naomi Austin made this statement, “Be the reason that somebody smiles today.” Throughout the morning there were lots of acknowledgments within the group about how we so often do that for one another.

We have tremendous influence on others and I think that a simple smile can be a way to use that influence to seed positivity and love in others and in our world. That idea has resonated deeply for me. Perhaps it has to do with the theme that ‘relationships are everything” that has surfaced repeatedly this summer in my work with colleagues at @RowlandSchools and at @RascalPride. That theme is also central in books I read over the summer (The Innovator’s Mindset, Culturize, The Pepper Effect, Lead With Culture). Just this morning, Amy Storer referred to #positivenoise, an @adobespark remix campaign that Claudio Zavala Jr. started. There it was again: smiles, positivity, connecting with others, and relationship building.

The post below is an expansion of a message I sent to my staff yesterday to launch our first day of school on Monday, August 13. My wish is that those who read it take the message to heart with kids they serve, their loved ones, and all those they interact with. Let’s Be the reason that somebody smiles today.”

 

Give the Gift of a Smile Often

Teachers and staff, this is going to be an amazing year!  I can’t wait to see all the smiles that will light up the faces of our students and parents on Monday and continue every day of the school year. Every time you see a child or adult smile, you are in the presence of a special moment for him or her. Yes, every time, no matter how small the moment. Each smile is significant. Each smile is powerful. Each smile can be transformative. Let’s smile often and direct that smile towards others. How many times have you seen a child change their demeanor because something made her smile. Isn’t it magnificent? You can feel the positive energy radiate from the child. I bet you have experienced that moment too. Those times you were feeling down, having a rough day, or maybe you were just super focused and busy. And then that smile came and changed everything. All because of a kind word, a token of appreciation, a high five or hug. Someone gave you a gift that became your smile. And in that moment your life was different. You might be thinking, “Wait, a smile doesn’t change everything. It doesn’t change the reality or circumstances we may be facing.” Before you stop your thinking on that point, I ask that you consider that any moment can be a beginning, a beginning that can change a trajectory. And that can be everything for a student, friend, or loved one.

Let’s consider a smile a gift that we can share. We are in the life changing business. Let’s give the gift of a smile often and magnify the power of a smile with a kind word, a heartfelt gesture, or a physical touch. Let’s be the reason that someone smiles today and every day.

Let’s Catch Up, What’s New With You?

Before we get started…

I shared previously about my apprehension for writing, that blogging is definitely outside my comfort zone, and that I have been inspired to write and blog by all the wonderful educators in the #4OCF Voxer PLN. They have become my PLF (Personal Learning Family coined by Sarah Thomas).

After I posted my first piece, Change The World: Pack A Parachute, I received lots of positive feedback and many friends advised me to keep writing. I was moved by the comments I received, thank you to everyone who took the time to read it. I have chosen to continue writing and posting, even though there’s a voice inside me who screams not to and looks for any excuse to fill my time with anything other than writing (someone please cancel my Netflix).

In preparation of the coming school year, I recently sent a newsletter to staff communicating our theme of relationships. I am expanding on that communication in this post as a way to add some thoughts and be intentionally vulnerable. Why vulnerable you may ask? Well, I am working on some of the characteristics that George Couros identifies for an Innovator’s Mindset, particularly, empathy, risk taking, and reflective. You can read about all 8 characteristics here.

My Recent Newsletter: What’s New With You?

One of the major themes this school year will be relationships. We will learn more about that in coming weeks, but I want you to know that I am pledging to reframe what I do and how I do it with regard to relationships.

But first, I have to tell you why. I have “preached” many times how important knowing your why is. For everything we do in our school, there must be a why. Since we serve children, the why should be about them. I recently wrote a blog (my first ever!) and put it out there on the internet. If you haven’t come across it on Social Media, you are welcome to read it here. Here are the why’s I listed for myself in the post:

      – My why is about relationships and connections.

      – My why is about being my best self and encouraging others to do the same.

      – My why is about optimism, hope, and possibility. (I forgot to include  having FUN)

      – My why is about changing the world one tiny step at a time.

So, my why for relationships is all those points above plus the fact that we have to connect with people as humans before anything else. When we have a positive relationship with someone, our feelings of trust, confidence, empathy, and respect all increase. We feel more comfortable about taking risks with or for people we have good relationships with.

If I don’t know things about you as a person, shame on me. In that scenario, I have missed opportunities to learn about you and connect with you.  How could I ask you to do your best and be your best if I don’t genuinely make you believe I care about you. My words, actions, sincerity, tone, and more will reveal how much I care. And guess what?  I believe I have dropped the ball on that front many times and I must get better. There’s a running joke between Sonya (my wife) and I related to me crying when I watch some movies. She half laughs and half shakes her head because I get emotional over the silliest things on the screen, but MUCH less so in real life. I think she says something like, “You’re ridiculous.” And she is totally right. There’s a wall inside me that goes up from time to time and this slows down my connecting with others. I hope you’d agree that I’m not as bad as the Grinch and that my heart does not need to “grow threes sizes.” Clearly, I have some work to do. I know that if I am better at showing empathy and relating with others at our school, those actions will have a positive impact.

So, back to my pledge. I am going to have a daily goal related to relationships. This is not to say that I haven’t had this goal in the past. It is a reframing effort and action. I am going to double down on relationships. I have specific goals that are actionable and that I will monitor. In other words, I have a vision and a plan so I live into the vision. I hope that over time this year you will be able to say, “My principal cares about me. I know this because…” I have no doubt that if I succeed, the effort will resonate in your heart and it will positively impact your work in our school. If I fail, please tell me. I would much prefer you tell me directly, but I will distribute a survey to should you prefer to tell me anonymously.

So, what’s new with you? I am looking forward to seeing you soon, discovering that, and working on my relationship with you.

Postscript

A couple of days after sending the communication above to my staff, I had the pleasure of attending a keynote by Sir Ken Robinson at the Better Together California Teachers Summit at Cal State Fullerton. Sir Ken Robinson spoke about the need for transformation in education. Below are some of the points he shared (I apologize in advance if I have any of it wrong):

    Teachers have become content providers. Teaching is not like Fedex, it is not a  content delivery system. Education is a relationship, not a delivery system.

    Human resources are a lot like natural resources…

          – they are diverse.

          – they are hidden below the surface.

          – they must be developed and refined.

          – we must find a purpose for the resource.

    The heart of education must be the relationships between the teacher and student or between students. Everything else is inessential.

    Educators are in the miracle business.

 

As I consider my plans for building relationships with my staff, I believe I’m on the right track. My pledge to “reframe what I do and how I do it with regard to relationships” is essential. I also need to do the same with students and parents. My hope is that by committing to relationships, modeling it for others to see, and providing space and time for relationships in the fabric of our school, we will achieve a transformation together. Will you join me on this journey?    

 

Change The World: Pack A Parachute

Before we get started…

You should know that I am an apprehensive writer (maybe that can be a story for another time). My colleague, John Staumont, has encouraged me to blog for several years. In keeping with my “Dream Crusher” role in our partnership, I have resisted his good advice. I recently joined the #4OCFPLN on Voxer where I have discovered a treasure trove of ideas, discourse, and inspiration about teaching, learning, and leading. A few days, ago, Jamie Leach proposed a blog challenge and since then members of the group have written several spectacular posts. So to John and everyone on the #4OCFPLN I say thank you. Thank you for encouraging me, for inspiring me, and for helping me believe I could pull this off. One of the members in the group says, “What’s ordinary to some is extraordinary to others.” I’m not sure if this story will stand up to that, but I do know it matters to me and it shapes who I am and how I relate with others. Lastly, I want to give a special thanks to Jennifer Ledford for the inspiration I got reading her Teaching for Him post.

 

Chris and My Dad

It was just after 6:30am on Saturday, July 23, 2005. I was approaching the freeway on ramp on my way for a round of golf. My phone rang and I saw that my friend Omar was calling me. That was unusual. It was much earlier than I’d expect him to call on any morning. “Hey O, what’s up?” I said cheerfully into the phone. The words I heard next rocked my world, “John, Chris died last night.” I couldn’t believe it. We were only 37 years old, surely there was some mistake. My buddy from high school, gone? This couldn’t be. The friend who who was with me through thick and thin for the previous 21 years, gone? No way. My compadre (we were both godfathers for our respective son’s baptisms), gone? I could not accept that. Chris left this world due to an undiagnosed heart condition. At his funeral, I read Who Packs Your Parachute, the story of Charles Plumb and shared a little bit about Chris to the audience to highlight the special qualities about him. He packed my parachute in countless ways. I learned so much from him. I wanted everyone in the church to know how I saw him and what he meant to me. I am forever thankful to him and I miss him dearly.  Looking back, I realize that this was my way of making up up for not telling him what I felt.

 

Fast forward to 7:30pm on October 11, 2011. My mom, brothers, sisters, and I  were standing around my dad’s hospital bed. We were holding hands and praying as my dad drew his last breath. Cancer took my dad not long after his 74th birthday. He fought it for over a year so there was time for all of us kids to talk to him about what was coming. My dad grew up in a different country and in a different time. I loved my dad and he loved me, but we didn’t speak the words “I love you.” That’s just the way it was. The way we communicated changed some in my dad’s last months. I told him that I loved him and he reciprocated. I knew that saying those words and opening up wasn’t easy for him. Whether he responded or not was less important to me than telling him what I felt. The fortunes of everyone in my family changed for the better when my dad made the sacrifice of leaving Colombia, his native land. He didn’t know a word of English and had spent most of his life in the army. Coming to the United States had to be an unbelievable challenge. I needed him to know how thankful I was for the sacrifices he made for his family. I needed him to hear me tell him that I loved him. Who did I have to thank for that clarity? Chris of course, he was still packing my parachute. Had I not told my dad how I felt and how thankful I was, my regret would be too much to bear.

 

Why am I writing about my dad and Chris? Why am I posting this on a webpage about Educational Leadership? John S and I believe that nearly everything we do is related to leadership. I am writing this story because I believe that everyone is a leader regardless of titles. I am writing this because each of us has the power to pack someone’s parachute. I am writing this because everything we do should start with our why. For me, my why is about relationships and connections. My why is about being my best self and encouraging others to do the same. My why is about optimism, hope, and possibility. My why is about changing the world one tiny step at a time. The lessons I learned from my dad and Chris are aligned to the work I do at my school. I can acknowledge, be thankful, and praise others. Every minute of every day is an opportunity for me to make the world a better for each person I encounter. Each student, teacher, staff member, and parent can be raised up or torn down by the way I choose to relate with them. So, what do I choose? If you don’t know, than I have done a great disservice to the memory of my friend and my father.

Episode #6: What Did You Learn This Summer – Part 1


Episode #6: What Did You Learn This Summer – Part 1

In this episode, we discuss the three altitudes of leadership and how important it is to not get bogged down on tasks and business at the 5′ level. We share about some tools we want to use to help us manage 5′ altitude business so we have more time to address the 5,000′ and 50,000′ needs of our schools. We discuss homework we will have for the summer and we ask listeners to share back their tools, tips and tricks via Twitter. Lastly, we talk about the multiplying effect that #PLN and relationships have on professional learning.

Tools Mentioned in E6

    • Narro is a a text to speech podcast app. Narro will take your bookmarked articles and read them back to you as a podcast.
    • Pocket is a free service that makes it easy to discover great content that’s personalized to your interests, and save this content so you can return to it later on any device, at any time.
    • IFTTT is a web-based service to create chains of simple conditional statements that are triggered by changes that occur within other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, or Pinterest.
    • Toby is a browser extension that helps you organize your tabs on every new page.
    • Keep is a note-taking service that syncs across all devices and allows collaboration.
    • Executive Summaries is a web-based subscription service for book summaries, reviews and webinars of the best business books.
    • Todoist helps get all your tasks and thoughts out of your head and onto your to-do list anytime, anywhere, on all of your favorite devices.

What Tools and Tips Do You Use?:

What are the tools, tips, and tricks that help you manage 5′ altitude business so you have more time for the 5,000 and  50,000′? Reply back on Twitter @BetweentheJohns with #BTJGTD.

Music by Bensound.com

We are elementary school principals in Rowland Unified School District in Southern California. We have launched this podcast as part of our inquiry to learn, share and apply effective leadership practice.

Join our Personal Learning Network aimed to support, scale, and sustain technology integration and innovation. Follow us @betweenthejohns and check out our website, betweenthejohns.com.

Check out this episode!

Episode 5: Shaping a vision of success for all students


Episode #5: Shaping a vision of success for all students

In this episode, we discuss several articles related to a shared vision, make connections to ideas of others we have accessed through social media, and we share and reflect on our leadership practices.

Give us your feedback:

We want to improve our show by collecting feedback from our listeners. Please help us expand our perspective by completing this survey. (http://bit.ly/BTJFeedback1)

Show Rundown:

We kick off the show discussing how important it is at the end of the school year to maintain relationships and acknowledge others. We reference two Learn with John Eick podcast episodes(Stay in Your Trenches and Celebrate the Obvious).

We launch our show topic by revisiting effective practice #1 from Five Key Responsibilities – The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning. We relate our thoughts on the article to how we are trying to deepen our learning and practice through social media PLN such as articles, blogs, podcasts, Twitter, and Voxer. We reference episode 46, The Power of Connecting with Other Educators, from the Teaching Tales podcast by Brent Coley that features Edumatch founder Sarah Thomas. Next we reference and share points from the article, To Lead, Create a Shared Vision. As we discuss points from the article, we make connections to Good to Great. We segue into the article How Great Leaders Create and Share a Positive Vision, reference the Flywheel Effect, Sawubona, a Zulu Greeting, The Push and Pull of Leadership, and #GoodNewsCallOfTheDay. Our last article is Difference Between Vision and Mission Statements: 25 Examples which we use as springboard to share on our struggles and success with mission and vision work. We connect back to Start With Why and reference Swergionni (here’s a short review of one of his books, Leadership: What’s In It For Schools).

We end the show with a conversation about how we need to bring in all stakeholders into the process of creating a shared vision and then we do Shoutouts.

Shoutouts:

Shout Outs are our acknowledgment and thanks to folks who have helped us with this episode or who influence our thinking and inspire us to grow.

EdTech all stars who help us with the instructional side of the house

Podcasts from ed Leader champs who influence us and help us reflect on our leadership practices

 

Music by Bensound.com

 

We are elementary school principals in Rowland Unified School District in Southern California. We have launched this podcast as part of our inquiry to learn, share and apply effective leadership practice.

Join our Personal Learning Network aimed to support, scale, and sustain technology integration and innovation. Follow us @betweenthejohns and check out our website, betweenthejohns.com.

Check out this episode!

Episode 4: How Vision and Culture Impact Learning and Leadership


Episode 4 Show Notes

Episode #4: How Vision and Culture Impact Learning and Leadership

In this episode, we discuss how school leaders can use vision and culture together to impact learning and leadership in classrooms. We talk with a colleague about how she and others initiated two professional learning groups, one for reading and the other for making, where teachers and TOSAs explored, learned, and implemented instructional practices with students at the elementary level.

Shoutouts:

Shout Outs are our acknowledgment and thanks to folks who have helped us with this episode or who influence our thinking and inspire us to grow.

 

Music by Bensound.com

 

We are elementary school principals in Rowland Unified School District in Southern California. We have launched this podcast as part of our inquiry to learn, share and apply effective leadership practice.

Join our Personal Learning Network aimed to support, scale, and sustain technology integration and innovation. Follow us @betweenthejohns and check out our website, betweenthejohns.com.

 

Check out this episode!

Episode #3: Professional Learning and Vision


Episode 3 Show Notes

Episode #3: Professional Learning and Vision

In this episode, we talked with nine educators who attended the Rowland Unified School District Professional Learning Conference on April 21, 2018. We asked them questions related to Professional Learning and Vision.

E2 References

Rowland USD Professional Learning Conference pamphlet

Let’s Get Interactive

We would like to get you listeners involved in this conversation. Tweet us @BetweentheJohns and give us your thoughts on this question:

    • What are the conditions that need to be in place so that professional learning is powerful for you?

When you Tweet, be sure to use the #BTJConditions

Thanks so much for doing that for us, we plan to gather your ideas in our next episode.

Shoutouts:

Shout Outs this time around go to the educators that helped make the Rowland USD Professional Learning Conference happen and to the guests on this episode. Thank you for being part of our #PLN. Your insights, ideas, and leadership influence our thinking and broaden our perspective.

Dr. Julie Mitchell

Dr. Trisha Callella

Yousef Nasouf

Sonya Martinez

Danielle Caro

Tracy Do

Kristin Welch

Dr. Cindy Bak

Dr. Celia Munguia

Carlos Ochoa

Sarah Opatkiewicz

Dr. Kevin Despard

Music by Bensound.com

We are elementary school principals in Rowland Unified School District in Southern California. We have launched this podcast as part of our inquiry to learn, share and apply effective leadership practice.

Join our Personal Learning Network aimed to support, scale, and sustain technology integration and innovation. Follow us @betweenthejohns and check out our website, betweenthejohns.com.

Check out this episode!

Episode #2: How are you cultivating leadership in others?


Episode 2 Show Notes

Episode #2: How are you cultivating leadership in others?

In this episode, we talk about successes and challenges we have had related to cultivating leadership in others and we discuss how we are trying to be more intentional about leadership learning with our PLN. We interview Brandi Miller, Tech TOSA for the Rowland Unified School District, to learn how she is building leadership with classroom teachers. We also have friends give some shout outs to others who acknowledge their tribe.

E2 References

Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,  @Gladwell

Maven, Connector, or Salesperson: What’s Your Archetype?

The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools,  @LizWiseman

Accidental Diminisher Poster

The Breakthrough Coach,  @MalachiPancoast

The Innovator’s Mindset,  @gcouros

Cotsen Art of Teaching

Cotsen Principal’s Technology Network

CUE18 Session: Principals’ Journeys in Scaling Tech Integration Across Schools  

Education’s Tipping Point: Crossing the Chasm,  @leilanicauthen

Sawubona, a Zulu Greeting,  @bridget3edwards

Tools Mentioned in E2

Pineapple Chart

Padlet

WeVideo

SeeSaw

Twitter

Voxer

Shoutouts:

Shout Outs this time around go to people and organizations we mentioned in E2. Thanks so much to each and every one of you for inspiring and encouraging us. Sawubona to you!

Rowland Unified School District

Jellick Elementary School

Rowland Elementary School

The Cotsen Foundation

Cheri Hogan

Tatiana Silva

Danielle vanSchijndel

Debbie Lew

Dr. GIlbert Navarro

Principal Compadres: Dr. Cindy Bak, Liz Leon, Julie Graham, Katy Sheyka

Brandi Miller

Brent Coley

Angela Maiers

Lani Endo

Tracy Delligatta

Michael Jephcott

Music by Bensound.com

We are elementary school principals in Rowland Unified School District in Southern California. We have launched this podcast as part of our inquiry to learn, share and apply effective leadership practice.

Join our Personal Learning Network aimed to support, scale, and sustain technology integration and innovation. Follow us @betweenthejohns and check out our website, betweenthejohns.com.

Check out this episode!