Posts Tagged ‘ pd ’

A Quick and Good Read

I recently completed reading “How Full Is Your Bucket” by Rath and Clifton.  All admins. in our division received this book from our Director at the June meeting.   I like getting these types of gifts as I am always looking for new books that will help me develop as an educator.

The book provides some good reminders for all of us when working with staff and creating a positive work culture and environment.  The short workbook (contained within) is a good exercise for all admins. so the key traits may be actualized in your building.

I found the book correlated well with Carnegie’s classic book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People.”  If you have read neither, I recommend you do.

Let me know your thoughts on either book.


Your Input Is Welcome

I will be leading a presentation at the TnT Conference in Bismarck, ND on June 7th. My focus will be how school admins. can participate, lead and build culture in their schools using technology.

Since I only have 60 minutes, I will focus on a few tools admins. can use on a regular basis. My choices include Twitter, Google Reader/docs, YouTube, TED, and Voicethread. Most importantly, I believe we must discuss the reasons for using these tools:

> to increase student engagement.
> to promote collaboration.
> to enable teachers and students to connect and share knowledge from around the world .
>to enable people – especially in professional development and creating PLN’s.

Above all I look forward to the knowledge I will gain from the session participants and the conference in general.

If you have a cool tool or something you want to share regarding tech. and leadership, just leave a comment or email me – Twitter/Skype: @bircherd

Some Different PD




There are a multitude of PD experiences one can attend each year, but this one is somewhat closer to home.

How many teachers or admin.’s have this?


My Newest Certification


I guarantee you, it is one of the most unique learning experiences an educator can have.  You do not need to drive everyday, just once in a while to keep things in perspective.


The Principal, Teachers, Technology and PD.

Leading Your Staff cclicensed flickr image courtesy of Thorne Enterprises

A principal has an overwhelming amount of tasks to complete on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.   From discipline, facility and student needs, staffing and who knows how many others, the job can be exhausting at the best of times.  Over the past couple of years, I began to think more about teacher professional development and how I could help my staff.  Since I became a principal very early in my career, I did not put this aspect of administration at the forefront of my duties. Most likely because I was overwhelmed with the overall learning curve of school administration and all the associated tasks.  Then add-on a significant teaching load, where I had many new courses to deliver.  Lately though, I have thought a great deal about how I could help my teachers better themselves and in turn increase learning for our students.

Two of my more recent reads include What Great Principals and Great Teachers Do Differently, both books by Todd Whitaker.   One common theme denotes how principal’scannot choose their people entirely, so an administrator is left with two choices:

1.  Hire great teachers (when you get the opportunity) and

2. Make the ones you have better.

The second strategy is one I feel can be ignored for a variety of reasons.  It’s especially tough for younger administrators to feel comfortable helping more senior staff in the area of professional development, unless the admin. has a real comfort zone in a particular area.   While an administrator cannot be knowledgeable in every subject area or strategy, they can be great support people.  For this year, I have made it my admin. goal to help teachers get better.

How can an administrator then help teachers with meaningful PD?  I find the use of division based PD only scratches the surface and does not translate into the classroom very often.  I think our school division has taken notice of this and has really stepped up to provide meaningful PD for its teachers.  The alignment of sessions that promote division initiatives and teacher choice can translate for better learning opportunities for students in a significant way.

The use of growth plans (PPGP’s) are beneficial to both teachers and school administrators.   Here teacher choice (for growth) and alignment with a schools Learning Improvement Plan can translate into some wonderful learning opportunities for students.

How does one go about this?  Again the use of the growth plan is key with the administrator supporting the process.  This year our staff is using growth plans as stated below:

1.  Teachers pick one area for growth and set their goal.

2.  We have a common technology goal as a staff.

As principal, I meet with each teacher and discuss their plan, how they will achieve their goal and how I can support them.  In #2, we are using a common technology goal for two reasons:

1. To increase each staff members technological literacy level.

2.  To provide a framework for consistent PD in their choice area.

For #2, we started the year with teachers learning about Google Reader and Twitter.  My goal was to help them get a framework (Google Reader) so they could build a network (Twitter) and obtain resources to help them achieve their goals.  There is a great deal of follow-up with each staff member, but overall rewards can be significant.  My hope is that technology can help each staff member with their own personal goal in the PPGP, and that tech. will help them in future years as well.

Supports for PPGP’s and technology include division consultants and our TLT teacher .  I want to use them more this year in the area of teacher growth and find these people can be a valuable resource as well.

There  are many other methods one can use to help teachers become better educators, this is just my plan for this school year.  As administrators we encourage teachers to take risks, and we should follow suit.  The plan (for PPGP’s)  I have outlined here was also done in collaboration with my staff.  It is my job to keep communicating and supporting my teachers in any way possible.

As always I welcome your input.

PD, Teachers and the Principal

Since the school year ended, I have been thinking a lot about professional development for my staff, specifically, how I can lead them in the growth of their own PLN.

I see the value of a PLN on a daily basis.  Subscribing in a reader, using Twitter, and reading blogs have been an incredible help to me over the last three years.  Now I wonder, “How can I help others create their own PLN’s?”  I did some work a while back with my staff, during after school sessions, but I did not achieve the results I had hoped for.  Many staff seem interested in developing a PLN, but time and other work commitments are significant factors.

During start-up for this school year I want to discuss technology planning with our staff in greater detail.  One element of this plan is creating their own PLN and I believe I can provide some leadership in this area.  Although I am not a true edtech teacher, I have learned and grown my PLN from the ground up and I hope this provides some comfort level for my staff as well.

Some benefits I hope to achieve with teachers developing their own PLN are:

  • Continuous PD.
  • Increased technological literacy – for them and the students.
  • Creating more global classrooms.
  • A common growth plan goal among staff.
  • Future leaders in technology.

The social media I believe are most important (to start with) are Google Reader, Twitter, Delicious and/or Diigo, and blogs.  If we can get teachers using these, I believe the basic framework will be in place.

In the months following, we can get together and add various social media to the list and continue to grow together.  I do not believe I should facilitate all new media.   Teachers could investigate one media and share with the group, hence they lead future sessions.

This plan is still in its infancy.  I welcome any input so I can make it better.

With technology so important in education today, this needs to be added directly to our Learning Improvement Plan.