The Heart of Change

Like many educators, I spend my days teetering between survival mode and trying to successfully navigate all the changes in front of us. There are moments of inspiration and clarity and there are moments of despair and loss. (Sometimes these moments even find a way to coexist in the same five-minute time span…) With all this said, I could really use some help on something. I’m thinking through some of the milestone events that used to happen towards the end of every school year. The things families really looked forward to. Shared experiences and rights of passage. The things some kids will never forget. Things like... Signing yearbooks Grade-level picnics 5th grade graduation Field trips th

A Dangerous Assumption

I’ve noticed an assumption rearing its head as schools across the country have moved to a distance-learning model. I hear it occasionally when helping with virtual PD sessions and social media chats. Like most half-truths, this one can be dangerous if left unexamined: "Now that many of the barriers to innovation have been removed, education should be more innovative than ever before." It’s true, some of the things that inhibited meaningful change in the past look different now. Many of us have been jettisoned into asynchronous, digital learning landscapes…a growth-inducing experience to be sure. It’s also true high-stakes testing has been paused for many of us. In some respects, we may even

30-Second BookTalk is BACK!

The #30SecondBookTalk is back and better than ever! This year we’re opening things up like never before and everyone is invited to join the fun. Here are a few reasons we’re so excited to start the collaboration with you (and your virtual classroom) now... CONNECT: Stories are powerful connectors and so is sharing your love of reading. Finding ways to meaningfully connect with one another is important. COVID-19 may have changed the way school looks for many of us, but we can still connect, read, and grow together. CREATE: You can use any video creation tool you like and create your best #30SecondBookTalk. (The Tips and Tricks section below has an amazing resource that my good friend and co-h

Seeing Communication More Clearly

If you’re anything like me, the frenetic speed of communication in times of crisis can feel mind-numbing. Which doesn't make communicating any easier. An example of this is how quickly many of us moved from hypothetically planning a Distance Learning scenario that might happen down-the-road to being thrust into the thick of it in a very short time. Before we were even able to communicate the original game plan the rules changed. And the importance of clarifying those changes intensified. All of this has made me increasingly aware of the importance of timely communication that is delivered in a helpful way. I'm learning this can be a lot harder to accomplish than it probably sounds. But that'

Because Together Still Matters

I’m not sure about you, but the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, and supporting our own kiddos’ distance learning at home has been hard. It’s also very heavy stuff. Maybe that’s why it seems like there’s an underlying stress behind many of the things we’re doing throughout the day? I wanted to share a story in the hopes it might bring us together or connect us in some way. Because being together still matters…even from a distance. (And I've found comfort in the stories, videos, and anecdotes many of you have shared these past few days.) So here goes... Our family got a new dishwasher several months ago. Ever since we started using it, my coffee has tasted soapy. (I realize soapy coffee

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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