So as I "enjoy" the butterflies that are starting to flutter, I take a deep meditative breath as I jump into a new school year with my eyes, my heart, and my mind wide open knowing that this will be the best year ever.

Understandably, educators are always planning for the worst case scenarios, but sometimes, it is both necessary and important to let go of materials, lesson plans, supplies that no longer suit the job we are doing. It can also be a great opportunity to share those resources with other teachers who may use what is no longer useful to us for the benefit of all kids.

We have to do a better job as a profession to assess students in meaningful ways and then find ways to share that data. The standards surely help us know the skills we are trying to teach, but we are also trying to raise young men and women to become functioning members of society, good people who will have to perform in a variety of different ways to be successful depending on their given career paths. Why don't we agree that students shouldn't be tested in this way because it is easier? Shouldn't we find a more effective and equitable ...

Instead of a plan book, I have a calendar and a to-do list that will help inform the first month of school. This upcoming week we have preplanning meetings and administrative check-ins. I'll eagerly listen and participate so that I can make sure our team gets what it needs.

Ultimately, as leaders, we have a big job of helping adults help children while promoting an atmosphere that embraces change, failure, and growth for the greater successes that come from them all.

Guest post by Mark Erlenwein In 2013 I became the newly appointed fourth principal of my alma mater after 16 years as a STEM teacher and assistant principal in the same building I practically grew up in. My time as a student at Staten Island Technical High School, although 25 years ago, are vivid and happy memories of a child growing up in the bliss of the 80's and 90's on the cusp of an emerging technology revolution. My Commodore 64, Sega Genesis, 5.25" Floppy Disk Drive, Yamaha DX-7 musical keyboard, dial-up modem and a primitive version of the ...

Guest post by Jodie Pierpoint Have you ever left a conference knowing that you wanted to go home and make a change? Try something different? Take a risk? I felt that way after leaving the 2017 National Principals Conference. As an aspiring school leader, I left that conference knowing that I had to do something for others like myself. I am a strong believer in mentoring relationships and knew that other aspiring leaders would benefit from being paired with experienced schools leaders. I also know that online relationships are how we connect for personal growth and learning: ed chats, blogs, ...

I'm selfishly hoping that by sharing my struggles right now, I will feel better for writing about them and also have folks who I know can understand, despite how lonely and alone I feel when I go through it.

Throughout my leadership coursework, I've been asked to reflect on a number of different things. In one class that I really enjoyed, we had excellent reading materials that often encouraged me to dig deep into my new experiences, watching closely what I was feeling and thinking to tackle new experiences while also charged with leading a team. Some of my thoughts below are taken from throughout my first few months in the position and looking back now really ring true. More recently, I've started reading and listening to Leadership on the Line and many of the experiences you'll read about ...

As I continue to grow in my new position, I'm learning the value of building the relationships and trying to understand what different stakeholders want and need so that I can better communicate what we need to do in a way they can hear it. Although I may not be able to challenge state assessments yet in NY, I know that there are alternative pathways and assessments for some students and I also know that there are schools exempted from the state tests.


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