058: School TurnAround

For this episode of Passing Notes I had the opportunity to interview my previous principal, Mr. Lee Roland. Lee Roland is a former teacher, principal, district-level administrator, and the author of the book Fantastic Voyage: a Story of School Turnaround and Achievement by Overcoming Poverty and Addressing Race. Lee Roland is known for his work at Tulakes Elementary in Putnam City Schools. In this episode we explored the topics he covers in his book and his experiences of school turnaround at Tulakes Elementary.

Reflective Questions:

  • What does your current culture/climate look like?
  • What areas of growth are needed in your current sphere (school or district)? Suspension rates? Academic? Attendance?
  • What are your plans to engage parents and students throughout the school year?
  • What support do you currently need to grow your school? Who do you need to support you? What do you need from your team?
  • What metrics will you look at to measure your school’s growth this year?
  • What are you most proud of that is happening in your school community?

Episode 056: Equity

For this episode of Passing Notes I interviewed William Stubbs. William is the Managing Director with Uplift Education in Dallas, Texas and is a co-moderator for #BMEsTalk. William and I discussed the importance of equity in education and what districts need to do to keep the conversation going. You can find William on Twitter @WmStubbs.

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you define equity?
  • What practices are in place in your classroom or district to ensure that equity is a part of the conversation?
  • What practices are in place in your classroom or district that are not ensuring equity for each student in your classroom or district?
  • Do students feel included in the classroom and apart of the conversation? Do teachers feel included in the school and feel apart of the conversation?
  • Which members of your district’s community have been historically left out of the conversation? In what ways, are you ensuring that their voices are heard at the decision-making table?

Episode 054: The Power of PLC

For this episode of Passing Notes I interviewed Dr. Keely Frayser. Keely is the Executive Director of Curriculum in the Putnam City School District. Keely and I discussed in depth the power of a PLC community within a school and a district and how PLCs can help change the narrative and community of a school.

Reflection Questions:

  • What does your curtain PLC practice looks like?
  • What are the expectations for PLC and collaboration in your school?
  • What drives your school’s PLC conversation?
  • What data is important for your teachers to discuss during PLC meetings?
  • How does PLC and regular collaboration impact your school environment?
  • Who has ownership of PLCs?

Episode 053: Developing School Community

For this episode of Passing Notes I interviewed Greg Frederick. Greg is the principal of the U.S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City Public Schools. In this role he and his staff have worked hard to develop a place where students can come learn, grow, explore their passions, and make connections.

Reflection Questions:

  • What programs/partnerships do you currently have in your school?
  • What gaps do you see that need to be filled to support students in your school? How might partnerships help?
  • How does your school build community for your students?
  • What values/priorities does the staff at your school have that guide your decision making?
  • What plans do you have to create a stronger school community for your students?

Episode 051: The Role of Superintendent

This is episode 1 of the Leadership Series. This series will focus on the multifaceted work of school leaders. To kick of this series, I interviewed Dr. April Grace, Superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools, on the role of the superintendency and the importance of civic engagement. You can contact Dr. Grace on Twitter @ShawneeSup.

Reflection Guide:

  • What is your leadership philosophy?
  • How has your views on leadership or your view of yourself as a leader changed during your years as an educator?
  • How do you find balance between leadership and administrative duties?
  • What guides you through the larger challenges of school/district leadership?
  • How does leadership impact your engagement in advocacy?
  • How does engaging in the community build your leadership capacity?
  • What role does accountability play in your leadership position?

The Leadership Series

You know I love a good series! Last year, Passing Notes listeners got to hear from experts across the state on technology and innovation for the Tech Series and this year we are bringing you the Leadership Series. I sat down with excellent leaders across Oklahoma to talk through important education issues, from equity to community, there is a lot on the mind of today’s school and district leaders. In each blog post you will find reflection questions based off of the episode to guide you and your team in a discussion on practice.

Listen in, starting October 10, 2019, to conversations about best practices in our schools and districts.

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 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?