Friday, July 20, 2012

Neglecting my Commitment

So much for commitment, sorry to my loyal followers - I've fallen asleep the last two nights prior to getting my blog done.  You know who you are :)

Day 3 & 4

Both exciting, productive days!  Day 3 was my first opportunity to be in my office, without any meetings, and I was able to get some things checked off my list.  Probably due to the fact that the Sup. was at a finance meeting in Ames.

After Day 2's meetings in regards to technology, I spent the morning on the phone trying to confirm the delivery of computers and a server that were awarded to us by REACT.  It's a round-about process, but I was able to get the specs that our IT consultant needed and feel like we made progress there.  Now it's just a matter of getting ahold of REACT on Tuesday - when they return from vacation - and ironing out the logistics so that we can get the server here ASAP - hopefully by Friday.  If that means we've got to send someone to go pick it up in Cedar Falls, transport it to Cedar Rapids, and then bring it to Coon Rapids - that's what we'll do.  In any event, mission accomplished.

Next I moved on to research on Google Schools, and called, tweeted, and emailed a few different individuals.  My first call was to Deron Durflinger, my previous boss at Van Meter and now newly hired Superintendent at VM, in regards to how quickly we could get CRB established as a Google School.  He thought it was doable by Aug. 17, but put me in contact with Andy Crozier, a leader in Google Schools adoption as Superintendent of Andrew CSD in Iowa.  Andy and I exchanged tweets and emails and he suggests it would be a "tight" timeline, but definitely doable.  In the meantime, I also contacted the AEA, and will be meeting with Wade Andersen in person today (Friday) to discuss Google Schools the benefits, logistics, and tech support related issues involved.  As you can see, I believe Google Schools is the way to go - and our tech team is in support of it.  Now it is just a matter of pulling the trigger.  In my opinion, we need to do it!  I hope it's ready when school starts, but if it's not up and going until after Labor Day or by the end of the 1st quarter - so be it, it just needs to be done.

In the process of researching Google Schools, I made contact with our AEA Regional Director, for those of you who do not know what the AEA is, check it out here.  She just so happens to double as a parent in our district, which means she's entirely invested, which is great for us.  She was able to answer two questions for me, the first of which will require Sue Ford - our districts Professional Learning and Leadership Consultant - to visit with me in regards to establishing a Building Leadership Team (BLT).  I believe that it is vital that one is established, but I need to do some "selling."  So my hope is that Sue is able to help me adopt a charter, mission statement, and objectives for this team so that I can take it to the Sup. and CD.  In addition, I inquired about the purchase of the book Strengths Finder 2.0.  I have many reasons for wanting to obtain this book, but more than anything I want to use it to kick off the season with my staff, and establish our theme for the year "Igniting Passions...Developing Strengths."  In attempt to be visionary, I would like to use this book to focus on the positive.  All to often in education it is about the negative, what can we do to improve our test schools, Johnny needs to change his behavior because of xyz, there's not enough money for abc.  So what I like about this book is that it suggests that we focus on the positive.  It's a really short read, and it's interactive.  It comes with an online self assessment that identifies five areas of strength, and then provides action plans for how to go about capitalizing on the strengths we already have.  So, the Sup. gave me the go ahead and now it's just a matter of ordering the books.

The remainder of Day 3 was spent reviewing the Student and Family Handbook.  Something that needs Board approval Monday night, and something that is painstakingly hard to read.  So I spent the afternoon reading the first half of it, highlighting questions and identifying items that need to be updated (mainly dates and names).  In any event, I also spent a good majority of Day 4 finalizing that work - so now it can go to the Board Monday for approval.

The excitement of Day 3 occurred in the afternoon, when the power went out and the fire alarm went off.  And as they say, bad news comes in threes - so as a result of the power going out, the copy machine in the office went haywire.  But in any event, the fire alarm going off was a blessing - I got to call the alarm company and "practice" that protocol, and feel that was not all too difficult.  Oh, for those wondering why it went off, paint fumes in the elementary wing where construction continues.

On to Day 4.  Another workday.

In an attempt to get more accomplished I started my day an hour earlier, so when I arrived at the school at 5:45 am, walked to the front door and tried my "Grand Master" key - to my surprise I was unable to get in to the building.  So I drove around to the back of the building and was able to enter in the "Receiving" door and no alarms were "tripped."  Come to find out, the front door was never rekeyed and only a couple keys still exist - one of which I later obtained.  Anyway, later in the day, when asked to gain entrance to an closet within an office that was locked I was denied a second time by my "Grand Master", but was lucky to find the key in the box labeled "misc", and wouldn't you know it, the first key I tried from that box worked!  Like finding a needle in a haystack, and I've got the witness to prove it.

In the morning I was able to clean/organize my office to an extend - something that I had not done since Day 1 when I had unloaded my boxes.  I started an organizing system of files, shuffled through old files and organized simultaneously.  In the process I stumbled upon the bullying and harassment forms, referral forms, detention letters, and a wide variety of management documentation documents.  All good stuff, and I've got an accordion waiting for me this morning.  But it felt very good to work through those items.  In addition, I found files on students and staff alike.  So as you can imagine I spent a good amount of time looking through those too.

Yet the main objective of the morning was completing my first Board packet.

Sorry but my little man just woke up, so blogging will cease so Ben and I can watch the British Open.  Until later.

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