My Why…

Our district administrative team was at a leadership training today with several districts from MN.  Towards the end the day, We watched Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” video.  It had been a while since I had seen it, but good to reflect upon the vision of our district.

As a homework assignment, we were to reflect on our why.  Why are we in the positions were are in? Why do we come to work everyday? And what is our why (vision) for education?

Below is a few things that drive me. That I believe to my core….

  1. Foster self directed learners who persevere through difficulties.
  2. Engage learners in authentic tasks to create authentic products for an authentic audience.
  3. Develop student leaders with global and empathetic view of the world who actively act upon problems we face today and tomorrow.
  4. Personalize the education of our children to meet core curriculum as well as their passions and interests.
  5. Create the culture of shared leadership and learning in our organization’s system to provide 1-4 that is engaging to all stakeholders.
A graphic  of My Why...

A graphic of My Why…


I know this probably sounds like a lot of fluff but this keeps me up at night.  My why keeps me coming to work even when times get tough and it would so much easier to quit. As a tech director, you would think I would focus on technology – and trust me – I do have a passion for tech, but it has taken me years to realize that focus is not about technology – rather focus on those relevant tasks and let technology amplify….

  • Amplify learning
  • Amplify student voice/choice
  • Amplify our and our  students impact on the world.

So, what am I missing?  I would love to hear your WHY.

School Leaders: What does your digital footprint say about you? Your school?

Over the next couple of weeks our leadership team is leaving room on our weekly agenda to discuss  DIY PD with twitter as well as sharing our district’s story using social media.  What is our brand? Who is telling our story? How does social media impact our story?  What does my digital footprint say about me as a professional?

To start, I sent a short google form and asked team members to share their professional interests and current twitter use.   I took the time and selected  hashtags that would be relevant to them. As for their Twitter use (below)  I could care less if someone is a beginner… this isn’t an evaluative question – this is a question to guide learning.  My goal – to get all of our team at a level 3.

1 – Beginner – I am fairly new to twitter and I may know some features, but not all features. It still is a little bit of a mystery to me.

2 – Developing –  I know the basics of twitter. I can follow, retweet, tweet, reply, send pictures. Hashtags may still be a little of a mystery to me. I understand there is potential to support my growth – I am just not sure I am there yet.

3 – Proficient – I have a personal learning network that is tailored to my needs. I not only listen and learn, but contribute back to my network. I use twitter on a regular basis to support my growth and use it to showcase the passions and talents of others.

4 – Innovating – I can provide PD around Twitter.  Twitter is just part of my DNA

5 Stages of Twitter Use

5 Stages of Twitter Use

Brad Gustafson’s post “For the Kids” is an excellent way to start a social media conversation as well as taking some time observing his school’s #GWGREATS hashtag. On a personal note, I love LOVE learning about all of the great things our teachers and more importantly students are learning about.  I think its our important for our community as well. While we do have a successful facebook page –  it is manned by a few.  Twitter and hashtags can allow anyone to contribute!

Here are just a few guiding questions (and a few of my thoughts) to start your conversation with instructional leaders:

  • How do you personalize your learning ? When one properly creates their personal learning network (PLN), learning can happen when and where you need it.  Twitter has become the most positive PLC anyone could ever ask for.  I have been fortunate to connect with others (tweeps) to learn personally/professionally  but more importantly to create opportunities for our staff and students to learn.  This takes time – but so so worth it!
  • Who will model good use?  Whether you like it or not kids, as early as 9 or 10, are signing up for social media accounts.  Who do they look for? People they know.  I would much rather have my child  follow a teacher/admin who models and is developing a good digital footprint than some of the pop who has little or no moral intentions.   And even if they do follow those pop stars (you know they will) we can provide opportunities to model good use of technology.
  • Who is telling our story? Branding (AKA TELLING OUR STORY) our schools is a great way to share with our community about how we learn, share, innovate, and inspire our staff and kids.  Its a great way to cross-pollinate ideas from classroom to classroom, building to building or district to district. I also find it great to keep up to date.  Just this past weekend I was watching our #cybears hashtag to keep track of the progress of our robotics team!  We have a great facebook page – however it is only managed by a few.  Using twitter and a hashtag – allows anyone to contribute to our story – including students.
  • How do we continue to seek talented staff? How do we attract families to our community? As more and more people use social media to interact or learn – they also will use it to shop for jobs and schools.  We want families to seek Byron as a great place to educate their kids. We want talented staff in our district. Our schools footprint should be transparent and show why Byron is a great place to work and learn!  For school leaders…. our personal profiles should indicate we are great people to work for/with.

Here is an agenda I used the other day.  Feel free to tweak and use with your own teams.   If you have other ideas -share them out!

What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ”
William Shakespeare

As I reflect on 21st century learning and the support systems (in the form of people) new education leadership roles have emerged across our state.  Here are just a few titles I am aware of:

  • Data Coach
  • Instructional Coach
  • Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Coach
  • Personalized Learning Coach
  • Technology Integrationist
  • Digital Learning Coach
  • Innovation Coach
  • Media Specialist (Suggested by @blueskunkblog  – added 1-8-2015)
  • and dozens of others….

After reading A Rich Seam, by Michael Fullen and Maria Langworthy, it is clear to me, that  new pedagogies are emerging that blend pedagogy, technology and innovation, and new partnerships between teachers and students.  Technology  is no longer an addition to pedagogy but instead meld a new pedagogy.   Fullan and Langworthy (2014) share the following graphic and explanation:

How New Pedagogies are Different

How New Pedagogies are Different, A Rich Seam, Michael Fullan

“The above diagram helps summarise this discussion of how the new pedagogies and deep learning differ from the model of education that dominated much of the last century. First, this model is new because it aims to achieve deep learning goals that involve the creation and use of new knowledge in the real world. Second, this model becomes manifest in the new learning partnerships that emerge between and among students and teachers when the learning process becomes the focal point for the mutual discovery, creation and use of knowledge. Third, this model responds to and is enabled by digital access inside and outside of schools.”

This work also aligns to a post by Scott McLeod – 3 Big Shifts – in which Scott shares there are 3 shifts that are or need to happen in schools today.

3 Big Shifts

3 Big Shifts, via Scott McLeod, Dangerously Irrelevant

As we think of these shifts in education and/or the new pedagogies that focus on the deep learning  – are our leadership roles also shifting to support these new pedagogies?  For instance, do technology integrationalists also coach these new instructional models?  Do our instructional coaches have discussions about technology?  Do we still need separate roles or are these roles becoming a blend as well?

So it leaves me to ask you – Has your leadership role evolved to support these new pedagogies?

  • If so, how was support given to you? What kind of development did you receive?  What resources were you given? What challenges have you overcome?
  • If not, do you find value in this idea? Or do you think we still need separate people (tech, instruction, data, ect) to support these new learning environments? If you like the idea, what support do you need? What roadblocks would you encounter?


Fullan, Michael, and Maria Langworthy. How New Pedagogies Are Different. Digital image. A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. N.p., Jan. 2014. Web. Nov. 2014. <>.

Mcleod, Scott. 3 Big Shifts. Digital image. Dangerously Irrelavent. N.p., 22 Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Dec. 2014. <>.

Keep learning… Geographic Information Systems

GIS - Designing for our Future

Image Credit – ESRI.Com

Did you know that schools in the state of MN can get a FREE site license for ESRI ArcGIS?  Today  (Friday) a couple of my teachers and I sat down with a rep from MDE and a GIS Analyst to discuss how we can adopt GIS (Geographic Information Systems) into our classrooms.  I never realized how powerful mapping can be and how applicable it is across the disciplines!  Check out this website ( to learn more how  teachers and students are utlizing the tool!  And they even have an iPad version/apps to support learning on the GO!  You can also visit MDE’s website to learn more about the initiative.

Celebrating #EduWins with #Edtech

Communicating Globally in Special Ed – Thursday was such a fun day.  @amberaslakson invited me into her classroom to observe her kids interviewing kids from Canada via Skype.  They are doing a book study with the canadians with the book  The 14th Goldfish.  They have been collaborating with kids via Edmodo and were ready to go live with a skype convo.  Something happened and the skype never occurred but I did enjoy my time interviewing the kids.  They were incredibly excited to share and my favorite moment was when one 6th grade student piped up and said – “Blog, I love to Blog. Its my favorite thing to do.”  These kids have had numerous skype discussions with kids all over the globe in @amberaslakson class and it shows.  I observed these kids had a deep understanding in communication etiquette in technology communication (whether online discussion board, responses to blogs, or skyping live).  This skill is incredibly invinvaluabled will take the a long way!!! Way to go!

Drawing by Byron MS Student

Not your Momma’s PE Class – Our HS PE class was  recognized for  innovating and personalizing physical education when our local news crew (KTTC) came for a 1 hour observation/interview.   This is a teacher led initiative and I am amazed at how far they have come in just 2 years.  Please take some time to watch the video – its just one way they are transforming PE.  I have also learned they are integrating iPads and ePortfolios as new forms of assessment.

One thing that resonated with me after a 1:1 conversation with a PE teacher,  was how our district’s vision set the stage for these teachers taking it upon themselves to innovate in their program. They also took action when our superintendent stood up in front of the entire staff and said we should not be afraid of failure.  So many things are unknown when you begin to transform your classroom, school, district.  I am so thankful they took some risks as it is benefiting our students! THANK YOU!

Kttc Story - PE

Observing iPad use in classrooms – Next Tuesday, Nov 18, teachers from Rochester Public Schools will be coming over to Byron to observe the integration of iPads to support learning and teaching in our MS/HS classrooms.  I sent out an All Call for teachers to sign up for the event.  Boy – did my teachers represent! Here is our list.    Our teachers definitely doing some amazing things…and this is a great opportunity for me to learn from them.   My take away – I think I will take this opportunity and go on a tour of these classrooms as well.  CANT WAIT!

Thinking about leadership and my own professional growth

I have been doing some soul searching on my own leadership qualities to better understand how I can improve.  Our district leadership team did a StrengthsFinder assessment several months ago.  Its amazing how a self assessment can tell you a little about yourself.  Below are my findings. In my mind, it pretty much nailed who I am.

MY TOP 5 STRENGTHS (my report - pdf)
1 Futuristic
2 Strategic
3 Ideation
4 Self-Assurance
5 Arranger

I also completed a Meyers Briggs Self Assessment via and again… similar themes came out.  After taking the assessment twice  – my personality type did not change. I am considered an ENTP.  I enjoyed reading what an ENTP’s strengths and weaknesses.  And, frankly that is me in a nutshell.  Tonight I did a little more research on ENTP’s and this wikipedia reference really resonated with me… “ENTPs are quick to see complex interrelationships between people, things, and ideas.”  I really enjoy listening and learning about new topics/ideas and seeing how they relate to my work….

However, this week I am struggling a bit.  Our district recently switched to the Marzano Framework for Teaching/Learning (Pdf of the criteria).  I will admit.  When I look at the teacher side of the framework – I can see exactly where technology has a role.  There isnt a single domain, element that is not relevant to edtech and I can easily provide samples/examples where edtech has a place for each!

BUT, this year, I am being assessed on the Marzano District Leadership Framework (learning map – PDF). This is where I struggle.  Usually I can see relationships of ideas/content to my role and edtech. But I am having a difficult time relating the leadership elements to myself. It is  very frustrating that I can not see the link!  I took the self assessment in iObservation and found that I could barely relate to the scales and wound up in the “Developing” mark in many of the elements.    This assessment does not correlate to my StrengthsFinder assessment or my MeyersBriggs self assessment.   I can look at our strategic plan – and immediately relate to what I can do to improve myself and my department to support our organization.  But, it is not very clear with the Marzano side.  This is a time where I would LOVE to communicate with people like me.  Tech Directors who are using and being evaluated on this same framework.  Know of any?

While I share frustration – my growth mindset says – keep moving forward.  Eventually it will make sense.  I hope I can look at this blog post 6mos and realize where I went wrong in my thinking. Can’t wait for that lightbulb moment!

Testing and promoting our makerspace green screen

My HS Media Specialist has been working on creating a HS Makerspace in our media center.  We actually have a small room, right next to our library that is the perfect space.  She recently installed a mobile green screen.  (green fabric and a curtain rod).  The room is great for video recording as you can shut the door to get better audio quality.  We also purchased an iPad/tablet mount for a tripod and 2 external microphones (lavalier and handheld) for better sound quality.  The app of choice  – TouchCast.

On Monday, we decided to test it.  So much fun!  Literally in 30 seconds I had a video of myself, on a beach.  The video – could definitely use some work and we need to play around with lighting and settings of the app.  BUT, even though the quality was not there,  I couldn’t resist and  sent the video out to our entire HS staff.  This immediately sparked teacher interest.  I look forward to this technology getting in the hands of our students and watching them creatively make their video artifacts  more interactive and engaging. So much fun!

How the 140 character discussion helps me

Tonight marked the 1st #MNLEAD  twitter chat. Michelle Ament (@mlament)and Lisa Sjogren (@lisasjogren) did a fantastic job creating the discussion agenda and moderating the event.  Having the agenda ahead of time really helped me keep track of the answers to the questions and flow of the conversation.  I also appreciated learning about tweetchat – a tool specifically for twitter chats.  For those of you who have not participated in a chat before, essentially a moderator will ask a question and then you respond.  Typically you get 10 minutes to have a rapid conversation (I mean crazy-fast high-adrenaline discussions) around the ideas presented, before moving on to the next question.

Below is a sample:

My response



While what I tweeted was nothing earth shattering, it was a my statement, my thoughts and something that I could have a side twitter conversation about.  This is what  like about twitter chats.  A single tweet leads may lead to a favorite or  retweet (RT) which can lead to a reply.  The reply leads a formal twitter conversation that may include actual samples and  ideas that are being currently implemented  in districts.  That 140 character conversation leads to follow up email or in this case an invite to a  Google community #MNTransformEDU.  Follow up emails and/orconnections in Google communities can lead to longer more in depth conversations. If online discussion is not enough it may be necessary  for a phone call and my favorite – Google hangout.  I can not begin to tell you how many times a spark on Twitter has lead to some pretty significant change in my district as well as my own professional growth.  Because of that 140 character discussion cycle, I have now have a deeper connections to like-minded colleagues around the state (or world) who support me, but more importantly challenge me in my thinking.

Don’t get me wrong.  I still learned quite a bit from our chat.  I like that we had 40-50 ed leaders in MN come together to talk about leadership and what we like, what we do, and how we will follow up with what we learned.   We also have to tweet our actionable items throughout the rest of the week – (this was a nice touch!)  If you are wondering what the lollipops are about – please watch the video in the agenda.


One pondering question I have.  What if we had MORE edu leaders participate and engage in Twitter Chats.  What kind of movement would that create in MN schools? Join us Sundays at 7pm cst!

#Ties13 Sparks and Action

Part of my experience with TIES is also taking away actionable items to begin implementing right away.  Its been a great experience and I am  so fortunate to have connected and collaborated with so many new friends, old friends, colleagues, and above all my #byrondlc team.  It is leaders like these,  with their own  individual  brilliance and passion for improving our schools – that makes me love to come to work EVERY DAY.


Byron Digital Learning Coaches making last minute preso edits for Tuesday sessions

Here are a couple of my take aways from the conference.  I have many ideas, some can be implemented now, while others will take some time.  Hoping these sparks will materialize…

  • Remind staff about  iTunes U – Huge resource in Apple Distinguished Educators (Beyond campus ) as well as many other nuggets of personalized PD opportunities! (Spark via Ryan Cox )

  • Develop more Student led PD/sharing/collaboration opportunities (Spark via Ryan Cox).  Had a engaging conversation with #byrondlc team. Janelle, Katie, Matt, Josh, Josh, Andy, Amber, and Holly about this concept and I think it could very well be a game changer. Maybe even to help promote more growth mindsets! – 1st potential opportunity – Student Led Amended day based on exciting projects done in the classrooms in every building.

  • “Top Gun” training for  Innovative teacher leaders – Design a training day for very high flyer educators…  (maybe pair up with another school or two)  (Spark via Ryan Cox)  While it is important that our innovators are connected – there is something to be said bout the ability to hop in a car and be able to connect within a couple of hours.  While my virtual PLN is incredibly valuable – I find I have become to value those 1 or 2 times I get to connect with them IRL. (In real life)  There are just some things you will not (or should not) discuss online or in web conferences.  Is it possible to connect MN innovative educators via grade level/subject area? Is it needed? Stay tuned!

  • Create formal pd learning environments that are very collaborative in nature.  (21st century assessments) based on framework in which participants explore and participate together. ( Spark via Tom Brandt and Andrea Wilson Vazquez)  One of my favorite things to do is observe others present information.  Tom and Andrea did a great job facilitating a very engaging environment.  I will be honest – the 3 hours FLEW by and the conversations at my table were very rich.  Between the excellent prompts, the self paced (or group paced) activities, and the self chosen pathways… This was not your typical 3 hour PD.   I have GOT to learn how to master this type of PD.   I appreciated the loose structure, and appreciated even more – the opportunity for us to learn from each other.  (As well as from Tom and Andrea!)

  • We need to come up with a formalized mechanism to share innovation happening in our classrooms.  This is a challenge.  This year, my professional growth plan includes visiting teacher classrooms to observe technology integration in action.  Within my visits this year, I have come to  realize – we have so many teachers doing amazing things and no one knows about it.  George Couros shared at his session – to go from pockets of innovation to a culture of innovation you must have 2 things – 1) the willingness for an individual to learn and 2) mass sharing.  Even with individual learning, there has to be a growth mindset to do so and no fear of failure.   A short Tweet conversation later that night lead me to realize that many principals also have a significant role in this too.  I decided to post the question out to the #ties13 group.  Here is the twitter discussion with Farmington principal Jason Berg.

    twitter discussion image

    Twitter discussion with Jason Berg

    The problem of sharing is a problem.  The last 2 days, several of our coaches presented their experiences at TIES13 and our own staff and administrators havent even seen their work!!!  (PS they were awesome!)

    As for the “sharing” we need an intuitive system.  While this is somewhat related the idea of the  Connected Educator Academy – I think there are things we can do now that wouldn’t be too intrusive.  Google Communities has a huge potential because of its tie with Google Apps for Education.  It also has the ability to be private – to our domain only.  I like how you are notified within your email account when there is something new.  Innovation brings a special buzz…  an internal buzz is contagious.  More thoughts to come. One great idea that was shared by Kristin Daniels was an idea for Sharification.  Experience points (XP) for sharing.  We could have competitions, leaderboards, ect.  Needs to be manageable however.

  • Do a site visit to East Carver County school district.  “We will know we are successful when we no longer categorize our kids”  Have you ever went into a TIES session expecting to learn a few basics about a topic?  Well, 10 minutes into the East Carver Count personalized student learning presentation, I could hardly contain my excitement.  First of all, what they have done there has totally challenged any status quo of what we call school.  I will be honest. I am jealous.  They started this discussion in 2007.  We began our discussion last year.  In a nutshell, flexible groups, flexible grades, flexible schools.  They also differentiate teachers based on strengths.  I think what is so intriguing, is the roadblocks they have overcome and my realization of roadblocks we have yet to challenge.  I was very impressed with the openness and collaboration of the administration team.   (Spark via Brenda Vogds, June Johnson, Brian Beresford)

  • Create a virtual Digital Coach pair share  (Spark by Neil Andruschak and Casey Rutherford and #byrondlc team. Janelle Groehler, Katie Krueger, Matt Weyers, JoshBurton, Josh Bernards, Andy Pethan, Amber Aslakson, and Holly Vos)  We decided to take a break from the formal sessions and skip the Tuesday Keynote. (GASP, Its True!)  Instead, a group of us sat down and talked about coaching and the direction of PD in our schools.  Such brain power! So many of us are working on similar strategies and ideas and have overcome challenges.  We could learn from each other!  Ideas sparked about opportunities for coaches to virtual observe other coaches in PD sessions.  I also have to wonder…with 12 DLCs in my district – would it be valuable for our DLCs to observe and experiences sessions in other buildings?  I know my experience with our PK-K staff has been invaluable for me. I need to do visits in other buildings as well!  (Goal for the remainder of 2014!)

  • Connect our teachers and administrators!  So this weekend I worked on mapping out The Connected Educator Academy.  I have been working on this idea for some time.  From conversations to implementation, I am looking forward to collaborating with Kasson Mantorville  Tomi Swanson and Kelly Braun and my Curriculum Director Donita Stepan to roll this out between our districts as a small pilot.  There may be other integrationalists that want to participate.  My hopes is to ramp it up by this summer if others are willing to jump in and help..  Between  conversations with Kasson, the Gamification session and 21st century learning session, and the Leader Edge Certification Course (my portfolio) – this has been on my mind for MONTHS!  Here is the map I created over the weekend….  (Still in draft mode)  Creating a map is a great step in gamifying learning!

    The Connected Educator Academy

    The Connected Educator Academy

  • Gamify 1 PD day.  – First of all. Wow.  I have never understood what gamification was.  I thought – it was how a teacher could have students create games, or play games in a classroom. But after learning from Chris Hesselbein it really is a design way of thinking in delivering your curriculum.  I was hoping to do something  Jan 20 which is right now scheduled to be an internal edcamp.  However, I may rethink this because of timing.   At any rate, here is my plan for a 1 day gamified event- ready to ready to implement.  I’d also like to  consider gamifying our entire DLC process but it would be great to have a short pilot on a 1 day PD day first to understand how to best facilitate this and how the staff react to it.  I know my reaction was very engaged.  WOW Moment.    The  #byrondlc team would need to be involved in the pilot as well as any other further development of it within the DLC process.

  • I would love to expand project based learning at BPS.  I feel pretty fortunate that I was able to spend an entire afternoon with Suzie Boss learning about Project Based learning and Technology Integration.  It was mind boggling what she has been able to observe in schools all over the world.  While we have made an initial start to introduce PBL on a district wide scale – I think it would be great to provide further training on how to do this.  Right now, there is discussion between a few DLCs and I to create a hybrid course and roll it out during our academy this summer, pilot it, fix it up – then present the training at TIES next year during a pre-conference workshop.  (Maybe even give the course away to all participants!)  One of the things I took away from the time with Suzie is that there is alot of misconceptions of what PBL is and I think if we should consider the framework that has been provided by the Buck Institute.  The concept map for this course needs to happen soon.  Before I forget everything I have been able to learn.  One last thing I need to do – check out/share  Glocalization and Quad blogging.  Cool terms. Cool global project ideas.

Quotes I heard in presentations worth mentioning

  • “We need to show reverence for the past but not live it!” – From Prensky
  • The smartest person in the room…is the room.” – Couros
  • “True change will not be top down, or bottom up. It needs to be “all hands on deck!”  – Couros
  • “Kids wouldn’t wait for a blogging workshop – Adults should not either!” –  Couros
  • “Freedom is actually a bigger game than power.  Power is control, Freedom is about what you can unleash.” – Courous
  • “Biggest shift for educators using technology is not skill set, its MINDSET” – Couros
  • “We have to start our learning with things that kids care about!   Especially problems with GLOBAL significance”  – S Boss
  • “Q) How long should PBL take?  A) Long enough – should not be rushed.!” – S Boss
  • “We will know we are successful when we no longer categorize our kids” – East Carver County Team
  • it’s complacency that is EDU’s enemy…  Hegna (My realization after all my learning)

Most awesome risk taking video EVER! 

Girl on Ski Jump


Learn. Share. Innovate. Inspire

In Start with Why, Simon Sinek writes,

“The role of the leader is not to come up with all of the great ideas. The role of the leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.” ( p. 99)

I am extremely excited to share a few components of our district’s new roadmap.  Over the past 6 months, we have been meeting and collecting feedback from our community, our staff, and our students.  We’ve heard about things we have done very well, heard about areas we need to improve, and listened to ideas that will take us into the future!  From this work, a new 5 year strategic plan has been developed.  This may be some of the MOST invigorating work I have been a part of!

Our Mission Statement:  Learn. Share. Innovate. Inspire.

I have to admit, I feel these 4 words encompass who I am and why I come to work every day.  These 4 words ARE my passion.  Yes, some days are better than others – but as I reflect on our culture at Byron – I think this statement   delivers on why we do the business we do.  In education, our main objective is our clients, our students – but I also feel these words should connect equally with our staff and our community as well.

Our Vision

By 2018, Byron Public Schools will be recognized as a leading, renowned school system in the world by:

  • Challenging the status quo and developing new norms for education
  • Leveraging real world tools & skills to develop a passion for learning
  • Developing students that demonstrate outstanding character
  • Creating a safe school environment that is happy, healthy & caring
  • Utilizing purposeful technology to develop 21st century learning and skills.

These are some very powerful statements and I believe my district can achieve all of them.  I will say, for my personal perspective that the first statement really hits the nail on the head.  We can not continue to provide traditional education in a digitized world.  It doesnt make sense.   Just today I was able to see Will Richardson’s slides from his #ISTE13 keynote presentation.  While I was not physically at ISTE this year, this slide deck certainly struck a very deep chord with me!  I believe our district is on the right track!


We also have 7 new priorities of focus.


  1. Personalize learning for all students
  2. Promote and provide applied learning experiences within the school and community
  3. Develop well-rounded students in the areas of character, community, and academics
  4. Ignite and inspire students to explore their passions and share their talents
  5. Maximize the personal and professional potential of all staff
  6. Maintain excellence in resource management


While I feel we have COLLECTIVELY created our Why in our mission and some of the What in our vision statements – Our priorities will help us develop the How.  Teams of district stakeholders will be creating action plans under each priority.  It was very difficult for me to choose what team to be on because I was inspired by so many !  In the end, I chose to partner with others and form a team  around Priority 4 – Ignite and inspire students to explore their passions and share their talents.

 A little bit about our Priority 4 journey.  It was important for our team to understand the ideas around passionate learning.  It is a concept that has recently received quite a bit of recognition – especially in the twitterverse and blogosphere.   I felt it was important to introduce the team to the concept  so I created my top 10 resource  list  for our team to review prior to our 1st meeting.

Hegna’s top 10 resources to support Passion Based Learning

  1.  (Watch the student Valedictorian speech)

  2. Hack Schooling – 13 year old Ted Talk -

  3. Guidelines for Passion Based Learning - by Angela Maiers

  4. 20% Classroom (Video) by Kevin Brookhouser

  5. User Generated Education by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

  6. Stillwater Public Schools - T Need for Passion

  7. Edutopia Passion Based Learning by Aisissa Ramirez

  8. Stop Stealing Dreams – Seth Godin Ted Talk –

  9. Gallup Results – Student engagement decreases with each year

  10. Washington Post – If Students designed their own school it would look like this

We had great discussions and really had to stretch our minds.  Since then, some of our “blue sky” ideas have   formulated into action steps and measures.   We are almost there!  I am so excited!  With any change (especially in edu) there will be  roadblocks we will have to conquer.    We WILL FAIL.  But we will also WIN.  I can not wait to begin to walk the talk.  We have had a tremendous amount of planning, planning, planning.  But now  Its GO TIME!

Walk the Talk

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