Monthly Archives: July 2019

Back to School Sparkle

“I’m losing my sparkle and the only way to get it back is to return to my star family.”

~Charlie’s Colorforms City

The boy was restless and a bit on the wild side. He chose to take his money and run. He left his family behind and went out into the world. He lived it up, spending his money foolishly. After some time, he found himself in trouble. His money was gone and a famine hit. He hired himself out to a citizen of where he was living. His job was to feed the pigs and so he did. However, he was given nothing. He was starving.

This young boy came to his senses and made the decision to return home. He knew his father’s workers back home were treated better than he was being treated. His plan was to ask for his family’s forgiveness, tell them he is unworthy of being called their son because of what he had done, and would beg to become one of his father’s workers. He underestimated the love of his family.

When his father saw the boy walking down the road toward home, he became filled with compassion for his son. The father ran to him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. The father cried out with thankfulness this son of mine was lost and is now found.

The boy in that story lost his sparkle. He realized the only way to get it back was to return to his family.

Teachers…you may have that boy (and girl) in your classroom this fall. Children who may be restless and a little on the wild side. Children who may choose to do some foolish things. Children who may begin to feel unworthy for unknown reasons. When those kids, your students, come to their senses (and they will eventually), how will you show compassion?

You and your classroom of children become a family over the nine months you are together. Most days, you spend more time with those kids than their parents are able to. If you have students who have lost their sparkle, how will you help them find it again? If you lose YOUR sparkle, how will you get it back?

As the new school year begins, our best advice for you is to build a positive relationship with all of your students. Smile, greet them at the door every morning, call them by name, eat lunch with them, listen to their stories, treat them with unconditional regard, give them a handshake, high five or hug when then leave at the end of the day, attend their activities outside of school, make your lessons so awesome that they can’t wait to return the next day to see what you will do this time. And remember…those restless, wild, foolish students are sometimes the hardest to love, but they are also the ones who need it the most.

How will you find balance between your professional life and your personal life so you do not lose your sparkle? Here are a few ways to take care of you: Exercise, eat right, drink lots of water, get some sleep, breathe deeply, play (volleyball, pickle ball, board games, whatever floats your boat 😊), visit with family and friends, take a social media sabbatical, journal, volunteer. Find what makes you sparkle.

We wish you the best school year ever!! Sparkle on!!

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Stay Calm & Sparkle On!
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.

Ignite the Passions of Those We Lead: #NPC Reflections

Dear Education Colleagues:

As I write this on the plane back home to MinnesOta from Boston, I reflect on my time spent at the National Principal’s Conference. It was my first time attending this conference and while it is sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), there were many Middle School and Elementary principals in attendance as well. To say the least, this conference was phenomenal!!

The conference’s main message – to ignite the passions of those we lead – was loud and clear at the #NPC19 conference. Teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members, all education colleagues…WE are called to ignite! We are called to dare to lead! (Yes indeed, I also read the book Dare to Lead by Brené Brown while in Boston and on the flights). We are called to lead with love, empathy, passion, kindness, and we hold the key to unlock the potential of those we serve! Think of the HUGE impact we have on education.

I had the pleasure of meeting many PIRATES while there…those who have authored a book through Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. These folks are about as real as you can get. Sincere, honest, transparent, kind, witty, and LOVE what they do! I’ll admit I was a little intimidated by them at first because of how famous they are 😉, but then I remembered what Brené Brown was told while she nervously waited to give her first TED talk about vulnerability… “remember they are just people. People, people, people!” Yes, indeed, and you folks are MY kind of people. Thank you for all you do!!

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Leaders (and we are all leaders), we are called to be courageous, brave, kind, empathetic, honest, authentic, passionate, and real…we are called to believe we ARE champions for those we lead.

#NPC19 was full of treasures! Below are a few of my golden nuggets from my trip to Boston and the National Principal Conference:

Arrived in Boston at the same time as Middle School Principal, Jessica Cabeen, from Austin, MN and author of Balance Like a PIRATE: Going Beyond Work-Life Balance to Ignite Passion and Thrive as an Educator. She even footed the bill for our Lyft ride to the hotel. THANK YOU, Jessica!!

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Jessica, along with Jay Billy, author of Lead with Culture: What Really Matters in our Schools; Nili Bartley, author of Lead Beyond Your Title: Creating Change in School From Any Role; and Beth Houf, author of Lead Like a PIRATE: Make School Amazing for Your Students and Staff, shared with us about the importance of a Professional Learning Network (PLN). In addition, Jessica and Beth along with Sanée Bell, author of Be Excellent on Purpose: Intentional Strategies for Impactful Leadership, shared their stories about being middle school principals and the extras it takes to manage those tweens.

Phenomenal sessions with Jimmy Casas, author of Culturize: Every Student. Every Day. Whatever it takes. He reminded us to reflect on our practice every single day, to never forget our why, model best practices, and to live our excellence. Jimmy and Jeff Zoul shared what NOT to do in our schools. Read their book, Stop. Right. Now.: 39 Stops to Making Schools Better to discover the rest of those not so good practices!

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George Couros was our first keynote speaker. Top notch!! He received a standing ovation!! Mr. Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, had us laughing and crying and we could all relate to his message. He challenged us to embrace the awesomeness of people, technology, and to make a difference!

Jay Billy and I then had the honor and pleasure of presenting our session, NURTURE Others to Be Their Best, on Saturday, the last day of the conference at 8:00 a.m. We weren’t sure if we’d have anyone show up because of the time it was being offered. Oh my stars…it was a packed house and we had a great time. 😍 Thank you to all who attended and blessed us with your presence.

The last session I attended was presented by Jessica Cabeen and co-author of Balance Like a Pirate, Sarah Johnson. These two young ladies shared how to find joy and balance in our crazy lives. The TED talk below by Shawn Achor was one of my favorite resources from their advice. Give it twelve minutes of your time and you will laugh out loud and feel better. 🙂

Thank you, #NPC19. This conference was exactly the medicine I needed!! I am reignited and on fire for this upcoming school year. The perfect prescription for all of us. If your fire is almost snuffed out, go to a conference! It’ll be the perfect antidote to your “burn out!”

God bless ALL.OF.YOU! Thanks again. 🙌🏼

Stay Calm & Ignite your Passion!
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.