Episode 052: Building Relationships

For this episode of Passing Notes, in the Leadership Series, I visited with retired educator Pam Hibbs on building relationships. Pam Hibbs is the former Director of Early Childhood and my old boss in OKCPS. During her time with OKCPS she developed relationships with community partners, families, and students in order to build opportunities for families.

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you build relationships with your students and parents?
  • How do you build relationships with partners to provide opportunities for your students?
  • How does your school engage the community/parents to participate in instruction?
  • What strategies do you use to encourage family participation?
  • What impact does engaging partners/families in the classroom have on instruction? Building community?
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Episode 050: The Partner Effect

For this episode of Passing Notes I interviewed Principal of Shidler Elementary in Oklahoma City, Armando Ayala. Mr. Ayala is known for his ability to connect the community to his school, providing numerous resources and opportunities for his students and their families. Mr. Ayala shared with Passing Notes the importance of relationships and how to build a community.

Reflection Questions:

  • What are the needs at your school that are not being met? What are the student needs?
  • Who are the community members or stakeholders that your school could be partnering with?
  • What steps do you need to take to connect with a partner to fill a need that is present in your school/classroom?
  • If currently connected to the community, what are your successes? Areas for growth?

Episode 049: Partners in Education

This episode of Passing Notes is focused on how partners support education and instructional practices in the classroom! I interviewed members of OKC Midtown Rotary Club Laura Nauman, Emily Duncan, and Matt Murphy about the projects they have completed in partnership with a variety of schools across the metro and how educators can engage with them in the process.

OKC Midtown Rotary Club was chartered in 2009 with the goal of involving young professionals in in the service and ideals of Rotary International with a focus on Arts and Education in Oklahoma City. You can find out more information about OKC Midtown Rotary Club by visiting their Facebook page, Twitter, or their website.

Reflection Questions:

  • What is a need in your classroom or school that could be fulfilled by connecting with a partner?
  • What is a major project that you would like to work on during this school year?
  • What organizations could you partner with to see this project completed?
  • What first steps do you need to take?
  • In what ways can you engage partners throughout the coming school year in your classroom?

Episode 048: Education Foundations

Education Foundations, large and small, exist all over the nation to support schools and teachers with a focus on meeting school needs where gaps exist. OKCPS has an exceptional foundation that, like other foundations, is working to address many of the educational challenges that our district faces. I visited with Mary Mélon, who is the president of the OKCPS Foundation. You can find more information at their website www.okckids.com, on their Facebook page, or on Twitter.

Episode 045: #oklaed Reflects

A look at the 2019-2020 school year by the community of #oklaed.

Reflection Questions:

  • What happened this year that you are proud of?
  • What lessons did you learn from working with your students? families?
  • What do you hope to improve/change for next school year?
  • What are you reading this summer to grow as an educator?
  • How are you relaxing and rejuvenating this summer to begin the 201920-2020 school year?

Episode 031: Systems of Care and the Power of Hope

For this episode of Passing Notes, I met with Casey Gwinn and Dr. Rick Cobb. Casey Gwinn is an attorney who led the nation in the creating the concept for Family Justice Centers. He is the current president of the Alliance of Hope, developed the model for Camp HOPE, and is the recent co-author of the book Hope Rising. Dr. Rick Cobb is the superintendent of Mid-Del Public Schools and is working to shift they dynamics within the school district and the larger community to support families through a trauma-informed lens.

On January 7, 2019, Dr. Cobb and his leadership team brought Casey Gwinn to speak to the entire district in the morning and community members in the afternoon. Dr. Cobb invited me to join the afternoon session and I wasn’t prepared for such an incredible afternoon of learning. Very thankful that both took them time to visit with me afterwards for this interview!

Below are the questions I prepared for the interview:

  • Introduce yourself
  • What work do you and the Alliance for Hope International do?
  • Why is being trauma-informed an important community-wide endeavor?
  • What role does hope play in trauma-informed care?
  • What resources exist for teachers, principals? Communities?
  • What is happening today in your district?
  • What do you hope to accomplish with this work?
  • Where did the idea start? What preparation took place? What data was collected?
  • Why do you believe that this work is important for your district?
  • How has trauma impacted your district? Individual schools?
  • What strategies have you put in place throughout the district to ensure that trauma-informed care is taking place in individual classrooms?
  • In what other ways do you plan to include the community on your work focused around trauma?
  • What would happen to the overall mission of our work if ACEs were radically reduced in the population as a whole? What does a low-ACEs culture look like?
  • Resources that have impacted the work that you are doing in the Mid-Del District?