Sunday, October 28, 2018

Episode 106: Initiatives

In this episode, Spike and Jessica catch up on the new initiatives in their school and how things are going. Jessica discussed the progress of PBIS and Playworks in her school. Spike discussed how his school is going through the revalidation process to continue being an AVID National Demonstration School. Based on the feedback from a prior visit, the staff have been working on increasing Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). The AVID site team have provided weekly instructional practices, developed a Google Form to collect best practices, and they meet with Spike on a monthly basis to coach him how to use HOTS in the weekly email, staff meetings, and for teacher feedback. They are also correlating the McREL Walkthrough data from last year as the compare the instances of remembering and understanding with analyzing and evaluating. The revalidation process has definitely caused the school to improve in areas to make student learning better.  


Episode 103: Social Emotional Learning

In this episode, Theresa and Jessica discuss what they're up to with welcome staff back to school. Jessica finally tried out Flipgrid thanks to Eric Ewald's encouragement when she attended his session at the National Principals Conference.  Here's a quick video Jessica made to show her staff how to do this: Flipgrid intro.  Theresa shared some other awesome ideas she's seen Flipgrid used for.

As they talked about Social Emotional Learning, here are links to some of the resources/programs mentioned:

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Episode 105: The First Week of School

First week of school 

In this episode, Theresa and Spike sit down to discuss the first week of school and reflect on their openings. Beth Theresa and Spike discussed how they were in the "cycle of sacrifice" due to the high levels of stress in opening up school for the year. Are you in the cycle of sacrifice? Here are some characteristics:

  • Lack of quality sleep (having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep)
  • Growing "to do" list 
  • Difficulties focusing 
  • Not eating quality food or eating too much/too little
What can you do to battle the cycle of sacrifice? First step is awareness. Realizing you are in it and knowing that it will not last forever. Theresa and Spike discuss ways that they are getting through. Each knows that this will balance out very soon.

Spike discussed the First Three Days project he did with his school. This was an idea that was inspired by the Significant 72 by Greg Wolcott. The Lakeside staff and students spent a significant amount of time building relationships with each other as well as reviewing the expectations of the school. Spike plans to blog about this initiative and also will discuss upcoming ideas for follow up. 

Theresa shared ideas to make the weekly communication more collaborative. Her administrative team writes their information on a shared Google Document which is generated from a weekly reminder email from Theresa through Boomerang. She also uses Boomerang to manage her email inbox by using the tools such as pausing, scheduling and having emails re-delivered for emphasis and reminders. Boomerang can be used for Gmail and Microsoft Office. Be sure to check it out! 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Episode 104: Back to School Part 2

In this episode, Spike and Jessica talked about their school plans for the first days of school. Spike talked about the Significant 72 and Jessica talked about Playworks. 

Spike and his staff took the Significant 72 and used it as an outline for the first 3 days. They made a Google Slides presentation for all staff to use period by period. Within the presentation are "get to know you" activities as well as instructions to cover all expectations. The Significant 72 places emphasis on students knowing teachers, teachers knowing students, students knowing students. Spike and his staff added students knowing the school. Spike will report out on this on the next podcast.

Jessica reviewed the new Playworks initiative at her school to enhance recess and add play into the classroom. She said it was fun and at times exhausting to participate in the training because the staff had to actually play the games. She and her staff learned variations on traditional games such as soccer, kickball, four square and others to eliminate student incidents/disagreements that typically occur and spill over into taking up classroom time. Since all of the traditional games focus on a winner, the variations take it to the next level and focus on engagement and participation. Jess will report out on the progress on the next podcast.

We also learned some differences in weather preparedness between our two you have drills that your school has to practice due to the specific weather of your area?

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Episode 102: Back to School

In this episode, Spike and Jessica catch up on what they’ve been doing to relax in the final days of summer and had a discussion about how we welcome kids back to school. As we’re seeing awesome back to school ideas, like rolling out the red carpet (Click here for the time RM Bacon literally rolled out the red carpet for the welcome back and tied it to the You Matter movement by Angela Maiers), our discussion may challenge your thinking about grand events. A post that started some interesting discussion on Twitter was: Your Back to School Message is Hurting Teachers.

Jessica shared Greg Wolcott’s idea of the Significant 72 and how important the first 72 hours (or 3
days) of school should be all about relationship building. And that also goes for the first 72 after a
break. Read about the Significant 72 here:

If you’d like to pick up a Balance Like a Pirate shirt to remind yourself to stay balanced all school year, go HERE by September 10th. All proceeds will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in their mission to spread awareness and prevent suicide.

Theresa will be back with us on Episode 103 to discuss social-emotional learning.

Thank you for listening! Connect with us on Twitter @principalpln or #principalpln on Twitter or Instagram.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Episode 1-OH-1

In this episode, Theresa, Spike and Jessica catch up from the summer break. They each discussed how July goes so quickly and provides a much needed down time from the business of the school year. Now, as they are quickly realizing, is the time to make sure all of the Back to School lists are completed such as scheduling, organization of the school and the most important part... the first few days of the school year.

Over the course of the Podcast, you will learn about the following:
Thank you for listening! Connect with us on Twitter @principalpln or #principalpln on Twitter or Instagram.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Episode 100!

We want to start out by thanking everyone who has ever listened to the PrincipalPLN podcast. We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to share our learning with you over past 5 years.

We finally made it to 100 episodes of the PrincipalPLN podcast. Theresa, Spike, and Jessica began this journey in the fall of 2013. They have been together with their #principalPLN network through all types of changes in our lives.

In this episode, we brought back a few of our friends (who happened to be guests) to talk about the latest changes in education, books we are reading, and inspirational words. We all have something in common that we want to inspire each other and to have a purpose in our lives. More importantly, we were able to do what we do best... hang out and chat!

Guest List - Please follow and connect with them! 
Tony Sinanis - @TonySinanis
Jessica Cabeen - @JessicaCabeen
Sarah Johnson - @SarahSajohnson
Jay Posick - @posickj
Curt Rees - @CurtRees

Show highlights 
Throughout the show, we were able to catch up and reminisce about our favorite PrincipalPLN episodes. We talked about running, job changes, Donkey Basketball, Time Zones as well as educational issues. We also gave away a few of our favorite books:

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Party Like it's Episode 99!

It's May, a crazy time of the year. We hope you're not only surviving, but also trying to thrive. Theresa and Jessica don't have a topic today, but naturally, discuss the busy-ness of May while trying to remain positive. We shared ideas for transitions from one building to the next for students and the end of the year.

Jessica talked about the upcoming Coach Approach Institute taking place this summer in Chicago and New Jersey. If you are interested in finding out more/how to register, go to:

If you're in need of inspiration to fuel your leadership soul at this time of the year, or any really, you should read The Power of Positive Leadership by Jon Gordon. Jessica shared a couple of her favorite books, but she has been creating many images of quotes from the book so here is inspiration to fuel you through the rest of the school year:

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Episode 98: Apruary and Avid

In this episode, Jessica and Spike talk about the weather during this month of Apruary. After Jessica got her venting out about the weather our conversation moved into state testing and she shared her idea of using Bitmoji to make stickers for the back of student test tickets for motivation.

They also chatted about Snapchat and want to learn more about how teachers are using snapchat to engage students. Are you using snapchat as a student engagement tool? Please let us know.

Our conversation also touched on communication and how many different ways information needs to be shared.

Spike shared all about being an AVID school.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Episode 97: Staff Meeting Ideas

All 3 of the PrincipalPLN crew were here today, so we started out catching up on Influenza recovery and post Spring break updates. We talked about our morning routines to start each day out on the right foot and the importance of having a gratitude habit.
In our random discussions, we mentioned the hot new games kids are playing: Fortnite and Prodigy. Why is Fortnight so popular? Here's an article that discusses this: TomsGuide

We talked about staff meeting ideas and building collective commitments together with our staff.  A couple of book recommendations that came out of today's discussion include:

       Lead with a Story

PrincipalPLN is a part of the Education Podcast Network

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Episode 96 - Planning for Next Year

In this episode, Jessica and Spike continue the conversation from Episode 95 regarding next year. Throughout the conversation, both shared the various plans for overcoming budgeting and staffing obstacles as well as how to stay positive with the additional requirements of being a Principal.

Spike discussed his recently published article in Innovate My School - Team Activities for Budget Planning. He also talked about the conference that he coordinated with local Millville City Commissioners, Millville Youth Empowerment Summit. The Summit was attended by about 60 students and 20 parents and featured area speakers helping students become empowered. They are already beginning the planning process for next year.

Jessica shared how her school staff is inspiring their elementary students to dream big, using March Madness to promote college awareness. Here's a blog post she wrote last year to share about this (although this year they added even more to what they do at her school): Promoting College Awareness in the Elementary with March Madness. 

At the end of the podcast, Jessica talked about our upcoming 100 episode of the PrincipalPLN. If you would like to share a few kind words or favorite aspects of the show, be sure to Tweet us or Vox us.

Thanks for your ongoing support!