Episode 062: Back to School

For this episode of Passing Notes, I decided to do something a little different… I’ve been wanting to do a Back to School episode for awhile now (well since the beginning of last year) where I could talk through the things I’m most excited about for the school year, resources, and books teachers should look into to start the year. Well, there is no time like the present and let’s be honest there is going to be no year like this year! 

To start out, I’m going to do introductions like I always do because I realize I may have never introduced myself. I’m Stephanie Hinton, I’m the Director of Early Childhood for Oklahoma City Public Schools and the Passing Notes with Stephanie Hinton Podcaster. I started my teaching career in Tulsa Public Schools but spent most of my career in Putnam City Schools at Tulakes Elementary. I have taught kindergarten, 2nd grade, was an assistant principal, and a curriculum coordinator. The 2020-2021 school year will mark my 13th year in public education. You can connect with me here at Passing Notes with Stephanie Hinton, Twitter @thestephhinton or Facebook.

Here are the resources and books I recommend you checking out for the 2020-2021 school year:

We are going into the 2020-2021 school year with so much possibility for change and growth, this can be overwhelming so it’s important to start by mapping out and committing to your own growth as an educator. What steps do you want to take to more effectively and efficiently use the new resources and technology in your classroom? How will you consciously identify your biases and be proactively anti-racists? What are your next steps? 

I think it’s also important to acknowledge the fear and stress going into this next school year, it will be unlike any we have had to date, This year will not be easy but I do think we can learn from the task that is ahead of us (whatever that looks like) and forge a better tomorrow for our amazing students!

Episode 060: Advocacy & Covid 19

Whew! This last month has been… so many things but normal. As I’m sitting in my home office thinking about everything that has happened, I’m truly overwhelmed. Like many educators, I’m concerned about our families and their children. I’m worried about my teachers and how they are adjusting. I’m thinking about week 3 of our Continuous Learning Plan, when week 1 came out yesterday. I’m amazed by our SNS team who continues to serve more meals everyday and our instructional staff who handed out thousands of learning packets to families. This. This has truly been adjustment but I have seen the best in others and a community of people come together.

I had been planning an episode about advocacy for awhile. I had wanted to release it in February with the new legislative season occurring but life happened and it hit the list of things I was going to get to eventually. A few weeks ago Dr. April Grace, Shari Gateley, and I were reflecting on all that had been happening when Dr. Grace announced we should podcast about this and so we did. If you don’t know Dr. April Grace, she is the Superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools and you can find her on Twitter @ShawneeSup. Shari Gateley, currently an Assistant Principal at Irving Middle School in Norman and 2019 OK TOY Finalist, is also a parent to a PreK and K student, and you can find her on Twitter @ShariGateley.

Hope you enjoy our conversation and that you are staying safe and healthy!

Episode 059: An Update from the State Superintendent

Another year, another legislative session which means the OSDE and State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister are gearing up for another season of new bills and finalized budgets. I sat down with Superintendent Hofmeister to reflect on the past year of her superintendency and look ahead to the coming year. You can find Superintendent Hofmeister on Twitter @joy4ok.

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?

Episode 047: OPSRC

This episode of Passing Notes is a cross over with the OPSRC podcast School ZonED. I sat down with Executive Director Brent Bushey and talked all things education and podcasting. You can find out more information about OPSRC -Oklahoma Public School Resource Center – on their website, Twitter, or Facebook.

Reflection Questions:

  • Reflecting on the 2018-2019 school year, what areas of growth have you identified for the coming school year?
  • What resources are you looking to for growing your practice in the 2019-2020 school year?
  • What podcasts/books are you listening to and learning from this school year?
  • How can you be a resource to other teachers and to parents in the coming school year?
  • What do you need from your school leader or other teachers this school year? How are you advocating for those resources?

Episode 046: Coaching New Teachers

For this episode of Passing Notes, I visited with Dr. Joanna Lein. Joanna is the Executive Director of the Teaching and Leading Initiative of Oklahoma (TLI). TLI is a nonprofit organization based out of Tulsa, OK that works to develop the skills, knowledge, and mindsets of teachers and school leaders with a focus on novice teachers. You can find Joanna on Twitter @JoMabeeLein or follow TLI Oklahoma @OklahomaTli.

Reflection Questions:

  • What spoke to you in this episode?
  • Where is your struggle? Classroom management? Guided reading? Instructional practices? Differentiation?
  • What micro skills do you need to grow during the 2019-2020 school year?
  • What are your goals for the 2019-2020 school year? How do you plan on growing? What small steps can you take towards that goal?
  • How are you sharing your knowledge with other teachers?
  • How are you supporting novice teachers?
  • In the coming year, have you considered time in your day to reflect on your teaching practice?

Episode 044: Legislative Wrap Up

The 2019 Oklahoma Legislative Session has come and gone. This year Passing Notes, with the help of a couple of friends, worked to help keep #oklaed informed with regular updates on all things #okleg. Please send your feedback to me by commenting below or direct message me @thestephhinton.

This last episode, posted a little later than planned, is a conversation with Senator JJ Dossett of Senate District 34 and Representative Cyndi Munson of House District 85 (twitter handles linked to name). This episode focused on #oklaed reflections and frustrations from the legislative session.

A BIG shout out to Todd Gragg and Shari Gateley who took the time to research and record for each episode!

Episode 042: Student Podcasts

Erin Barnes is a principal and former teacher of Epic Charter Schools. She is also a co-host of the OklaSaid Podcast and the producer of the podcasts The Emancipation Podcast Station and Navigating School.

I sat down with Erin to talk about how thinking outside the box and allowing students to demonstrate mastery through a variety of means provides educators with a more authentic forms of assessment.

Reflection Questions:

  • What do you currently use to assess student mastery?
  • Do you currently use any alternative forms of assessment when determining student mastery?
  • What alternative forms of assessment have been the most effective for you?
  • Have you ever considered using student podcasting to determine student mastery? How would creating a student podcast help you identify mastery and needs for remediation?
  • What other forms of authentic assessments have you tried or considered trying? How did this experience grow your thinking about assessments or student mastery?
  • What are your next steps towards changing assessments in your classroom?

Episode 039: Legislative Update 8

This episode of Passing Notes Todd, Shari, and I focused on other systems that impact education because it is not enough to fully fund education. We cover healthcare, criminal justice, DHS, and how all three intersect with education. To sum it up, if we are going to be a top 10 state, Oklahomans need to care for Oklahomans and our policies need to be reflective of the Oklahoman Standard.

Find Todd on Twitter @MrGragg and Shari @ShariGateley.

Episode 038: Kids First

This is part 2 of my interview with Kristi Mraz. This episode will focus more on learning environments and creating a mindset for learning You can find Kristi on Twitter @MrazKristi or on her blog www.kristimraz.com.

Reflection Guide:

  • What values does your classroom environment portray about your teaching philosophy? What do you want it to say?
  • What current classroom practices do you have in place that doesn’t match up with your values? How do you plan to change that?
  • Have you audited your schedule lately? Is your schedule designed with child development and current research on how children learn in mind?
  • Do you feel like a manger of students or a curator of community? Why?
  • Take a moment to write down your beliefs about students and learning. What evidence exists in your classroom of those beliefs? What steps do you need to take to demonstrate your beliefs in practice?