Month: April 2015

Creativity- Think Different


Mankind will always need creativity to advance and move forward.  As educators how are we supporting each and every child’s journey to discover their creativity and potential to contribute to the world?  We may not be able to change our educational system of standardization over night but we can change what we do in our classroom every day to celebrate the creativity of every student.

This brief clip from CBS News is a must see for anyone who believes creativity is an important skill people will need in this century.




Two great Ted Talks about creativity and how schools don’t really support it even though we want to say we do. A bit lengthy but well worth watching when you have a spare minute.








 Let’s “Think Different”

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can

change the world

are the ones who do.


Let’s remind every kid (and adult) we come in contact with the world needs them to

Be an original!


 You may not have all the answers but begin your journey.

The kids we teach deserve us wrestling with this question.

Their future may depend on it.


Great Day to Be a Bison (Monday Motivation 4-20-15)

This week we will host our 4th Leadership Day at Summit. We are proud of the fact that we are one of only 122 “Leader in Me Lighthouse Schools” in the world. It has been good work and our students are better for it.


  We are more proud of our students. Think of some of the things they have done in the five years our school has been in existence. They have contributed to the drilling of water wells in Africa, the education of girls around the world and helped animals have more comfort here in our hometown. They have shaved their heads for St. Baldricks, “Bald Up for Peanut” and raised money for Bowl for Jason’s Friends. They have weekly shared a KKN podcast of school news, taught teachers how to better use tech and participated in numerous Mystery Skypes with friends around America. They have traveled to two Lego Robotics competitions outside of Wyoming and twice visited Teton Science School.

Even more importantly, they have developed a school culture that is caring and supportive of other students. They have great attitudes toward learning and they make Summit a good place for other kids.

Yes, this week we honor the students who are leaders in our school. Let’s also celebrate the role of some adult leaders. Time does not allow me to mention all the things staff members from Summit do, and like the students, there are probably many contributions you make that I do not know.


These things I do know about our support staff:

• Our custodial staff not only keeps our building looking magnificent but you also assist with the smooth transition of traffic during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal, open milk cartons.

• Our office staff greets every student when they arrive in the morning, most by name, and make coming to Summit the highlight of the day for some of our students. You also are willing to support the work of classroom teachers in any way they can.

• Our lunch ladies make every child feel special as they go through the lunch line by greeting them with a smile and a warm word.

• Our playground staff weathers wind, light rain and snow to allow our kids who most need to get out and move, a safe place to play every day. You work to help students resolve issues and be able to return to class without drama from the playground ruining their day.

• Resource support staff, your professionalism, patience and productivity has our special education students performing above District norms. You also work in classrooms on a daily basis supporting the work of teachers and the learning of students. Our children are blessed to have you in their learning lives.

• Our librarian supports a love of reading, helps kids learn good research skills online and print and you run one of the coolest Book Fairs in our hometown.

• Our Refocus Coordinator helps teachers by helping students regain appropriate behavior before returning to class and she does that in a way that honors the student’s dignity.


Each of you do this daily. Support staff, thank you for making Summit the school that it is. Your professionalism is beyond exemplary. Beyond that, who you are as people is what makes you truly great. I know all of the teachers join me in thanking you for making,

“Every day a great day to be a Bison!”

Monday Motivation-(4-13-15)- The Back Nine on Sunday of Education.


Anyone who watches The Masters knows the saying, “The Masters does not begin until the back nine on Sunday.” For those who do not know anything about golf, this saying reflects that fact that the tournament, although 72 holes, is usually settled over the final nine.  Of course, we know the first 63 holes are crucial if one is going to win. Too many bogeys or a couple of balls in the creek and you have, no shot!

Education has a similarity. There are many things we want our students to be able to do. Some are deep-rooted in the fabric of school. They must read, write and understand the basics of math. Those skills are a focus of instruction and testing in every school. The tests let us know how we are doing just like par does on the golf course.

Many of those tested items are not the key to a child’s future. They are not the “Back nine on Sunday” of life.



Educators should never lose sight of the traits which help students to be better people. Each day we should nurture and encourage these traits with the same passion we teach reading and writing.

As Albert Einstein suggested,


This week as you pursue the best for your students, don’t forget those items that cannot be tested. For when you see your former students years later, no one will remember the test scores but their life will reflect the passion you poured into them in nurturing the development of key life skills.


All that we do counts, but just like the Sunday back nine at Augusta, some of it counts more than the rest.

Monday Motivation #1 4-6-2015

Last fall I had the pleasure of being exposed to @Jennifer_Hogan’s Monday Motivation blog. Each Monday, I eagerly wondered what would inspire me for the upcoming week. The idea even led me to create Monday Motivations to share each week at my school.

I started this blog last summer, but even a brief perusal will show I have not done much to keep it up. As I was thinking about my school’s MM for this week, I decided some good multi-tasking was in order. As we race toward the finish line of another school year, I hope to motivate a broader audience. If these thoughts positively impact just one, it will be a great reward!





I celebrate the work done by those who change the trajectory of a child’s life each day. Whether it is the teacher who delivers the lesson, the support personnel who smile and ask each kid how they are doing or the custodial staff who make sure our building is pristine, you make a difference. This work takes energy, effort and a constant desire for excellence. Truly, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” I suspect some of our greatest critics would not last two weeks doing the work we do. However, we must keep our focus. We can’t let the negativity of criticism bring us down. Reflect on the fact that YOU are changing the future of our world every day.



Today when you go to work, take a positive thought with you. Pick your thought and share it with a colleague…you might change their day too.

                My thought is:

“Believe deep down in your heart you’re destined to do great things.”

Educators-you do great things every day!

Don’t stop believing!