Monthly Archives: February 2014

Naming Rights

Levis Stadium

When a new ballpark is constructed millions of dollars and a lot of fuss go into who gets to name the stadium. Corporations are seeking long-term brand awareness. They want their names connected to the newest stadiums and most prestigious franchises. Last year, Levi’s agreed to pay the San Francisco 49ers more than $220 million over 11 years for the naming rights to their stadium.

Somewhat ironically, it really isn’t about the name at all…it’s about the experience. As a hometown Minnesota Twins fan I do not drive to Target Field because of that iconic red bulls-eye. For me it’s about the sights, sounds, smells, and experience. It’s about pursuing excellence and creating memories. There’s the tailgating, mascots, team chemistry, and epic victories (or pursuit thereof). All of these things coalesce to make the “brand.”

There are some similarities between our schools and ballparks. The experience our students, staff, and communities have with schools is far more important than the name posted above any given entrance. Yet, that name is important because it is inseparable from the brand.

At our school the brand is all about kids. It’s about the process and excitement of learning, relationships, creativity, passion, and a strong commitment to teaching character.
Our brand is strengthened by the countless hours staff invest in their own learning and professional development. They are some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever had the privilege to serve. People often tell me that, “At Greenwood staff will drop what they are doing to help students and one another.” (Although it’s a little long, I kind of like that thought for a stadium name.)

Our brand is also forged from a strong partnership with parents and the community. The brand and promise come to life when everyone is working together synergistically in pursuit of common goals; high achievement for each and every student, a personalized education, and meaningful relationships.

The relevance of our brand increases when it encompasses the rich tradition of excellence in our district as well as the meaningful integration of emerging tools and technology that will prepare students for their future. Our brand is not only comprised of our students’ past successes, but also our vision for their future. This is where our brand becomes more of a promise…a perpetual and dynamic effort to get better for kids.

We have the humbling responsibility of working with students that possess limitless potential. Their time is now. Our kids are counting on us to put them in a position to thrive today and excel tomorrow. That’s the brand promise.

What’s your school’s brand? What is the experience you aspire to provide your students?  Make it worthy of naming rights!

Brand pic

Image Credits:
School Photograph by Lauren Ingwaldson

Finding Twitter

Nemo 2

Since finding Twitter, my professional growth and love of learning has been supercharged.  Being a “connected educator” has contributed to my being able to more effectively serve our school while increasing my ability to provide digital leadership.

Twitter provides me 24-7 access to research on best practices, blogs from innovative teachers, and information about communication tools that principals are using across the country.  Best of all, I have access to the creative work that authors, educators and parents are sharing around the globe thanks to the Professional Learning Network (PLN) we’re building.  Twitter allows me to share some of the amazing things that our talented staff and students are doing every day as well.

It is difficult to explain the sensation of being a connected educator until you’ve experienced the impact first-hand.  Instead, I offer an analogy that comes pretty close in the hopes you will consider getting connected.

Do you remember the East Australian Current (EAC) scene from the movie, Finding Nemo?  That rapid and exciting ocean current that connects warm water from the tropical Coral Sea down the east coast of Australia is very much like Twitter.  Those that are not a part of the EAC never really miss it…yet they may be missing out on the trip of a lifetime.

Let me explain. The fish that are meandering happily outside the EAC are perfectly content.  In fact, they are probably thriving just like many amazing educators that have not discovered the power of Twitter yet.  (Just like me before I took the plunge!) Once a fish breaks through the initial confusion and misperceptions of the EAC he’s in for the experience of a lifetime…just like Twitter.

I’m often inspired as I visit classrooms in the school I serve.  The work that teachers are doing is truly amazing.  Twitter is a tool that allows each of us to share our experiences and connect to others for additional support and perspective.  Chances are that YOU can add value to somebody else’s PLN too!

Consider expanding your bubble and growing your PLN.  When educators collaborate on their craft and embrace a learning mindset our students win!

Nemo 3

Image Credits: Disney/Pixar

Fostering Digital Leadership in Kids

Digital Leadership Poster

Our students are counting on us to invest in their overall development.  Historically, this has involved teaching social, emotional and academic skills.  The changing way our students are communicating in this digitally-connected age requires a new kind of investment.  We are now responsible for supporting students as they learn how to connect and learn using technology.

I strongly believe that the best time to begin having conversations about digital leadership and safe/responsible use is now.  The new and emerging tools that are available to kids present such powerful and positive opportunities.  We also know that there are some pitfalls to avoid…and learn from.  By modeling discernment and purposefully leveraging “teachable moments” in our schools we can build our students’ digital leadership capacity.

Somebody in my Professional Learning Network (PLN) shared the original version of this poster and we modified it to fit our school’s needs. The original contained some social media apps that our students do not encounter as frequently as the icons we included.  Please feel free to use, modify and share this PDF as you see fit: Digital Leadership Poster

For Lincoln

This past December, our school community was shaken by the tragic loss of a precious little boy.  Born at just 24 weeks, Lincoln Allen Damask entered the world to loving parents; one of whom is on staff at Greenwood as a kindergarten teacher.  Lincoln’s parents are thankful for the love and care from the Greenwood family, and they gave me permission to share this update. 

Star Reg Final

Affectionately nicknamed “Lil Lad” by his parents, Lincoln passed away the same day he was born, but not before being showered with love by his proud mom and dad.  In an overwhelming show of support, our school community donated funds that we used to purchase a memorial star from the International Registry as well as some mementos for his parents.

The star is named “Lincoln Allen Damask: Our Lil Lad.”  The name is permanently filed in The Registry’s vault in Switzerland and recorded in a book which will be registered in the copyright office of the United States.  We know that Lincoln’s gentle light will shine on wherever Lisa and Greg may be.

Hercules Constellation

Lincoln’s star is found in the footprint of the Hercules constellation.  The Greek Warrior can be seen kneeling in the sky by those in the northern latitudes during the spring months.  Hercules first becomes visible in the east in April, and works his way high across the night sky through October.

When the Hercules constellation is seen, Lincoln’s star will always be close by.  We thought this was very fitting for a precious baby boy that needed to fight just to be with his family on earth for the short time he was here.  Now his memorial is among the stars that connect to create a great warrior.

Lincoln’s tiny footprint (measuring almost 1.5 inches) is being custom-printed onto sterling silver dog tags for his dad, Greg, who is serving our country in the Air National Guard.  The other tag will include an image of the Hercules constellation with Lincoln’s birthstone marking his star on the front.  Lincoln’s mom, Lisa, is being given a silver charm necklace and keychain made with their son’s initials, star coordinates, and birthstone.  Framed prints containing Lincoln’s star registry information are being given to the family as well.

Thank you for supporting Lisa and Greg.  We pray their son’s gentle light be a reminder to us all to continue to fight for what is good and right in the world.

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