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Dear Tony


Dear Tony,

(An open response to a parent who shared some great questions/concerns in the comment section of this blog.)

I want to thank you for sharing your concerns about social media and its potential impact on foundational learning.  When I first read your comment on my blog I was struck by your authenticity and the importance of what you were asking.  My visceral response was to craft a comprehensive (and maybe even eloquent) reply.

In attempting to do so, I quickly realized that I was prioritizing my own answer over your very valid concerns.  If I’m being honest, I think that I was trying to insert my “expertness” (perceived or otherwise) into a reply because I wanted you to be as confident about the learning experiences we are trying to facilitate as I am.  This prompted me to pause.

When our answers become more important than the questions others ask we will have done a disservice to the very nature of learning.  Please know that I will carry your questions and perspective with me to conversations we have as a school about Vision, pedagogy, and student achievement.  Most importantly, I will never lose sight of the hopes, dreams, and expectations that parents have for their children and their children’s schools.

One day many of our children will have social media accounts of their own.  I can only hope that the modeling that you, Tony, have done by showing integrity, inquisitiveness, and concern in your original blog comment to me helps our kids understand the potential value of social media and other important communication tools.

I believe that the questions you’ve asked should also be part of a larger conversation about the nature of foundational learning.  For this reason I’m inviting others to join us in the conversation.  If at any point you’d like to connect directly please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail.




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

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