Monday, March 1, 2021
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
The Penguin Principal
I am so happy to have my first children's book published. "The Penguin Principal" is my first book on alliteration for 'P' and shares how a principal prepares for students to start the first day of school. As an avid penguin lover, I started my collection at a young age. This project has been near and dear to my heart. I hope readers enjoy the story and are able to use the vocabulary at the end of the book. My teacher's heart had to include vocabulary!
You can find the book exclusively on Kindle as an ebook. I'll post when the print version is ready (coming soon!)
Watch for upcoming titles and characters! Thanks for your support!
Find the book at this link >>>The Penguin Principal<<<
Sunday, March 8, 2020
What is it that brings YOU joy at work? How do you stay in a positive mindset? What have you set up to help you?
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Hello-my education peeps! It has been a while since I’ve written or posted on my blog. But I have been writing! Been dabbling working on a book and sharing through guest blog posts great practices in education.
Specifically, I recently wrote on 5 Tips for EdLeaders to Build Stronger Students Supports for Insight Advance. Weaving all of the current education initiatives and trends becomes a difficult task. I’ve found through deliberate teaming and planning that follows laser-like focus on school and district goals aids in creating flexible and meaningful supports with students.
Here is my blog, published by Insight-Advance in February 2020.
I would love to connect to learn what is happening and working in your schools and districts. You can connect with me through this website, or through Twitter @PrincipalDenton.
Keep Learning & Leading!
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Principal March MadnessI just returned from a fantastic conference! Spring CUE19 in Palm Springs! What a great time connecting with my KernCUE board members and other dynamic educators from all over. There are so many creative and persistent people working to make learning engaging and meaningful for our students. I was inspired, but also a bit overwhelmed. So. Much. Information.
|Susan Denton @positiveprincipal|
22 year educator, 12 year admin
In my 12th year of administration, and 1st year at a new site in a new grade level span, there's still so much I am learning everyday! I had elementary education down. The hum and hub-bub of the day, the rhythm, the annual pattern. Middle school is big business. Tough, busy, frustrating, exciting, energizing, exhausting.
I can't be the only one feeling this way as a school site administrator. I see the Twitter and Facebook posts. My peeps are out there...I see you.
Are your thoughts as rampant as mine? Full of March Madness!?!
Here's just smidgen the mantra that keeps repeating in my head. Can't forget anything. Need to fit it in. Did I eat lunch today??
- Finishing staff evaluations
- Working on next year's master schedule
- Creating a do-able state testing schedule
- Creating and learning from the Spring CUE19 conference in Palm Springs last week
- Cleaning up my to-do's for getting to graduation and all of the end of the year activities
- Making sure I have "me time" to renew and refresh daily
- Read the awesome books I picked up from Dave Burgess Consulting "Ditch that Homework" by Matt Miller, and "Be REAL-Educate from the Heart" by Tara Martin
- Place all upcoming orders for books, supplies, and technology for next year
- Oh it's raining outside, better grab my umbrella before duty
- Prepping for next week's staff meeting
- Work on my presentation for California League of Schools conference in April
- Organizing the desk, papers, books, calendar...
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, Oh My!
In this busy digital world the question for schools and districts is, “How do we keep track of all the social media trends to get our message out to the community, our families, and school staff?” We know our students are quite proficient at connecting online, so why shouldn’t we as a school be as well?
These digital natives get their news, information, and social connections through the interweb. So when it comes to connecting with families and staff to keep them all abreast of current information, school trends, and updates, our school and district makes every effort to communicate through many digital media pathways. Through the years, it has become commonplace to get a quick update through Twitter, Facebook, and our webpages. We want to make our school as accessible as possible to our community and families.
Our district is one of low socio-economics, homeless and foster youth, and many students with disabilities. Despite their financial situation and lack of resources, we have found that our families typically always have access to a cell phone. Our goal is to meet families where they are. We inform parents of the various ways we share important information, school updates on events, and other pertinent topics through digital sources.
Too often the community hears from news or social media the misdeeds or missteps associated with schools. But as educators we know that there is so much good news to share! If we are not promoting the positive happening everyday in our schools, then who will?? Digital communication is so very cost-effective as there is typically no cost required to share celebrations, updates, coming events and news. Share what is happening with your school, your students, your teachers, and share often!
Here are the various resources we use on a regular basis to communicate with Families and Staff:
For Families we utilize a variety of techniques with the hopes that through the information options, they will stay updated and feel connected to the school. We include how to connect in all home/school communications (school newsletters, fliers, etc.). *With all of the following suggestions, be sure to check with your Superintendent and Board Policies regarding social media use in your schools.
Student Information System (SIS)-We regularly use our messaging system with pre-scheduled recorded messages for known minimum days, special events, and holidays. I have found that by voice recording our messages, we have a better chance of fewer hang-ups. Families like to hear from the principal, and students will often say,“You called my house!” (our district uses the Infinite Campus SIS).
School webpages-When families and the community want to know about a school or district, they usually begin with a Google Search. It is important that your webpages stay up-to-date. Find someone in your school who can be the webpage guru to keep your site accurate and current. We are migrating to SchoolBlocks this year and are excited to create pages that will encourage our parents to connect and engage. Google Sites also has great templates for your site or teachers to use to share and communicate.
|Tweet created through Adobe Spark Post|
Facebook & Instagram (PTA driven)-Our small but busy PTA makes sure to duplicate and promote all of the school events on their social media pages. Facebook can be one of a school’s greatest assets in sharing celebrations and events with the community. We also know it can be a sounding board for the disgruntled. Our goal is to use the “Power of Positive.” We share with parents how to connect and post using our hashtags when they also attend school events. We have also implemented the monitoring feature where we have oversight on the posts for both of these platforms.
School Sign: Though this may not seem like much, many of our community is without
|An easy way to bring attention to your sign, celebrate students!|
For Staff: Our staff, both classified and certificated, rapidly and regularly uses digital media for work and life. Our goal is to lighten the paper load and get everyone on the same (digital) page. The district provides regular training for staff through the district and our staff-on-stipends as Ed Tech Mentors, as well as through a technology and learning district conference at the beginning of the school year. Staff is also encouraged to attend technology training conferences and workshops throughout the year.
Google Classroom-Our district became a Google Apps for Education district almost five years ago. In that time, we have equipped every K-8 student with chromebooks, and nearly every teacher with a chromebook. To encourage staff to use Google Classroom with their classes, we have a “classroom” for our entire staff. Each staff member joins as a student, and administration serves as the teacher. This has worked great to post the weekly bulletin, hyperlinked documents to staff meetings and professional developments, and to share staff “Shout-Outs” for praises and celebrations. It is also a great place to share encouragement and words of inspiration.
|School Theme created in Google Drawings|
Group Texts & Emails-While this may be an obvious choice, we find that there remain educators who do not group text or email to share information. We also find that many staff require reminders to check their email daily and frequently. Email remains the primary source of communication on our campus.
Remind App-As a school leader, I created a group in the Remind App to communicate quickly and for emergencies. Every teacher and classified staff is encouraged to join the group. We have had to use this for lockdowns, loss of power or water issues, and even school precautionary evacuations. Rather than trying to gather a group text in the midst of a crisis, this app allows us to push information out quickly. Recipients can reply, but this message goes only to the sender, not the entire group. It has been a very efficient and cost-effective way to communicate and get to-the-minute updates to staff in crisis situations.
With the ever-growing options in digital and social media, we will continue to learn and use new resources to reach out to families to build the home-school relationship. Parents will continue to be encouraged to get involved and stay current in the academic lives of their students. Our job as schools and districts is to streamline those pathways of communication, and continue to share our message of academic progress, student growth and success.
Stay positive, stay current and stay connected!
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