One of Those Meetings

I was in one of those meetings recently where you know you need a big box of Kleenex nearby. It was one of those meetings where you listen and learn about really complex stuff kids should never have to deal with. But they do. And the people who help support students know this all too well. The truth is, I can’t really think of a time in my career where I wasn’t having these meetings, but this one hit me harder than most. At the beginning of the meeting I told myself the Kleenexes weren’t for me. And I was mistaken. I’m pretty sure you don’t need to know all the specifics of this meeting. You’ve had your own. And besides that, I’m not sure I could bring myself to type those words if I needed

A Movie Microcosm on Culture

When I was in high school (and probably part of college) my friends and I had this thing. And when I say “thing” I mean contest. The contest involved a ritual we would follow before going to the movies. First, we'd stop at a gas station to load up on an obscene amount of food. Next, we’d drive to the local movie theater to buy tickets while simultaneously trying to sneak the previously purchased food inside. I’m still not sure how a person would have won the contest, but I think it had something to do with quantity or whoever brought in the most outlandish item (e.g. chicken wings with various dipping sauces). When I look back on our time together, I realize a few things. First, we were idio

A Pancake Parable

This weekend our family invited a couple of our kids’ friends up to our cabin to hang out. Over the course of the weekend, we played games like Uno, Mario Cart, darts, and two-hand touch football (outside)...just to name a few. The games were a blast, but some of the biggest laughs we had were during the meals we ate together. One of our kids’ friends is a HUGE fan of the Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Kirk Cousins. Because of this, we decided to make a special breakfast for him. We served up all the pancakes in the shape of mini footballs and number eights (Kirk Cousins wears #8 on his jersey). We referred to the pancakes as "KirkCakes" and even though it was a long shot, we plotted ways to

5 Things Your Plate Wants Your Principal to Know

Educators are seriously struggling with the demands being piled upon them. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say many of these dedicated professionals are breaking. And I’m not entirely convinced most school leaders are confident in their ability to help. You can only fill a plate so full before it breaks the person carrying it. With this in mind, I wanted to help by compiling five real-actual things principals can (and should) do to help. 5 things your plate wants your principal to know: 1. Listen. But don’t listen to me because I’m an inanimate dishwasher-safe object. Listen to your teachers when they talk about why this balancing act is so ridiculously hard. Listening alone is not enough, b

Dr. Brad Gustafson is an elementary principal, author, and speaker. He believes schools can be spaces where creativity and innovation thrive, but only when we prioritize relationships and a relevant, connected pedagogy. 


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