Monday, January 16, 2012

Keeping the Dream Alive!

This morning I attended our community's 9th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast.  It was a warm and moving reminder of the progress we have made in so many ways. It is a reminder of what others have not only endured, but also survived and changed so that those of us who were to come after them might have a similar, yet better opportunity.  I often think of how I might have contributed to such, had I lived during the civil rights movement.  It is then that I am reminded, that it is not over.

The opportunity to help, assist, and give back to our community still exists.  The need has not diminished.  Fortunately, I am able to give back everyday as a principal.  I am provided with the chance to help, assist, inspire, and impact lives each and every day.  It is often easy for us, as principals, to take this opportunity for granted.  We can get caught up in the day to day tasks, meetings, deadlines to meet, and paperwork to complete.  This morning, I was reminded, of just how critically important my work and our work as educators continues to be.  For we are the dream keepers.  We dream, not only for ourselves, but also for others.  It is a part of what we do.  We inspire others to dream.  We help build dreams.  Sometimes, we are lucky enough to help make dreams come true.

As principals, it is our duty and our obligation, to dream and to dream big for all children.  This week, and everyday, let us be reminded by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to keep the dream alive in our work.

Let's dream big!

Latoya

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Building Your PLN!

I am a strong advocate for teaming, collaboration, professional learning communities, etc.  If you've read much of the research around teacher collaboration, you find that it's all basically communicating the same ideas, although it may be classified by a different key term.  In the last year, I've become a huge fan of twitter as a tool for my own collaborative opportunities.  At the moment, I'm extremely proud of my 90 plus followers! What I've found is that while the opportunities for teachers to collaborate can happen within the school building if principals frame and structure the schedule and create a culture of such, it can be much more difficult for principals.  Building your own "PLN"-professional learning network, can seem difficult, but Twitter can help.
I utilize my Twitter account strictly for professional collaboration with other principals all over the country and globe.  I've read more about leadership, instruction, etc. on twitter in the last year than I have in books.  Make no mistake-I love books. Prior to my principal days, I was an English teacher and I still see myself as a lover of reading and writing.  However, my busy principal days paired with my work as a doctoral candidate makes for a busy lifestyle.  Catching an #atplc chat on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. eastern for a few short moments seems quite easier with my smart phone in hand. The wealth of knowledge and resources shared in a few moments or even an hour cannot compare to what might be learned from a single book alone.  For those of you striving to get connected this year, here are a list of a few of my favorite tweeters who have significantly impacted my learning:
@21stprincipal
@Howeprincipal
@PrincipalJ
@L_Hilt
@MrWejr
@justintarte

Couple those above with a few of these and you're sure to learn more:
@SchooLeaderPLN
@NewLeadersOrg
@SolutionTree
@Ed_Leadership
@LeadAndLearn

Get connected.  Learn something.

Latoya
@latoyadixon5

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A New Year!

For some reason, I always feel as if I celebrate the new year in August.  For educators, it's the start of what we strive to do each year-improve student achievement.  It's the sights and smells of new notebooks, pencils, book bags, and brand new boxes of crayons and markers.  It is the beginning of new relationships as teachers get to know their students, students get to know their teachers, and parents and teachers forge relationships to work together in the best interests of their students.  A new year for us is when summer ends and school begins.

Of course for principals, we work in a continuous cycle of trying to improve ourselves as leaders, teachers, and learners.  This cycle requires a great deal of self-directed renewal.  We have to constantly renew our passion, continue our learning, revisit and revise our goals, and refocus our energies.

For 2012, I am striving to renew my passion, to continue my learning, to revisit and revise my goals, and refocus my energies.  To do this, I plan to commit to writing on this blog on a regular basis.  For those of you who are also principals out there, don't forget to renew yourself-even if it is the middle of the school year.  The kids are counting on us.

Latoya