Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What Type of Educational Leader Are You?

If you have never heard of or checked out www.slideshare.net you really should. Slideshare is a community to share PPT presentaions and even download them. Recently I came across a great PPT presentation on Slideshare that really made me reflect on my educational leadership style and the leadership style of those around me. The presentation is not only a great resource for aspiring principals but also a way for current leaders to reflect on their leadership style and approaches as well as the direction of their school. I hope you find it beneficial.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Service Learning

Service learning can best be defined as an educational method where participants learn and develop through active participation in service that meets curricular, character, and community needs. Meaningful service learning is an integral part of the educational process that not only extends the schools curriculum goals and takes it outside the walls of the school but also teaches students civic responsibility and prepares them to be productive members of a global society. Through this participation in service learning students will additionally improve character traits, develop skills needed in future endeavors, and increase academic achievement. Service learning is a win/win for all involved. Instructors, students, schools, and the community all benefit when meaningful service learning projects are developed and carried out by stakeholders. Each school should aim to engage itself and stay connected with its community. As an administrator one must actively work to advance not only the students and the school but also the community.

As an instructor at Lindbergh High School - Academy I regularly incorporate service learning projects into my classes to enhance students curriculum knowledge, to help them apply this knowledge in a meaningful way, and to promote relationships with the community. As an administrator I hope to encourage instructors and the school to collaborate with students to design and implement service learning projects that enhance curriculum and develop students. Below you will find an example of a service learning project that my health classes participate in annually around Thanksgiving time. The letter below is what went out to parents explaining the project and its goals. The letter is followed by an article in the local newspaper with a brief explanation of the project. This project is an example of a meaningful service learning project that meets the needs of staff, students, school, and community.

Dear Parents and or Guardians,

As the holiday season grows near many schools and families will take part in canned food drives, toy drives, or coat drives to benefit those in need. These drives serve a great cause and purpose within the community but often overlook valuable teaching moments for students, staff, parents, and the community at large. Your child has been given the unique opportunity to participate in a collaborative service learning project with students in Coach Erwin’s Lindbergh High School-Academy health classes as well as eight Truman Elementary classes. Your child will be engaged in activities that not only teach responsibility but also teach them to be contributing citizens within our Lindbergh community. Both elementary and high school students will have the opportunity to use their Health curriculum knowledge and apply it in a meaningful way to promote a positive relationship with a charity within the Lindbergh community. This collaborative project allows for the utilization of knowledge to better serve the Lindbergh community.

On Friday November 13th your child took part in a Health lesson presented by Lindbergh High School-Academy health students. The lesson taught students about the importance of physical activity, nutrition, and the USDA’s “MyPyramid Plan.” Students discovered what a healthy meal consists of based on the guidelines within the “MyPyramid Plan.” As part of this lesson, students have been asked as a class to create one day worth of meals based on the “MyPyramid Plan” which will be given to Angels Arms. Angels Arms is a foster home in the Lindbergh district that keeps brothers and sisters together within the home until a forever home is found. The home currently consists of nine family members.

Your child has already developed a days worth of meals and two snacks based on the “MyPyramid Plan” within his/her class. What we are now asking of students in the high school and elementary classes is to donate a small portion of the meals that have been developed. Your child has chosen to contribute ______________________________________________________

We would appreciate if you were able to make this small contribution so that we can meet our class goal of providing one day worth of nutritious meals and snacks. Our goal is to have all food collected by November 20th so that it may be delivered before Thanksgiving. If you could have your child bring in the above item(s) before this date it would be greatly appreciated. In all Truman and Lindbergh High School-Academy students will be donating over two weeks worth of nutritious meals to Angels Arms. Knowing that your child has mastered health curriculum as well as helped those within our community is what truly makes service learning wonderful. We appreciate your help and participation in this collaborative project.


Sean Erwin, Pam Staetter, Becky Joy, Teresa Keutzer, Sarah Valter, Christine Bushman, Angie Moehlmann, Karen Beckman

School News
Students use health lesson to help feed others
December 16, 2009 - Lindbergh High School Academy health students recently used a teaching opportunity at Truman Elementary School to help youngsters in need during the holiday season, according to a district news release. The students developed activities for Truman related to the MyPyramid nutrition plan and taught eight classes at the school. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPyramid Plan stresses the importance of physical activity and nutrition.
Following the lesson, each elementary school group developed one day's worth of meals based on the MyPyramid Plan, and the high schoolers delivered those meals to Angels' Arms. Angels' Arms is a foster home in the Lindbergh district that keeps brothers and sisters together within the home until a forever home is found. The home currently is comprised of nine family members.

"Together, our Lindbergh students developed close to three weeks' worth of nutritious meals for children living at Angels' Arms," Lindbergh High School Academy teacher Sean Erwin stated in the news release. "This activity gave our elementary and high school students an opportunity to use their health curriculum knowledge and apply it in a meaningful way to help others in our community.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Netbooks in the Classroom

Over the past two weeks I have had the great opportunity (sarcasm) to do some Christmas shopping with my wife. As I was more engaged with looking at items for myself rather than doing the shopping at hand I was drawn to the abundance of netbooks that are now available. For anywhere from $250-$400 you can get a netbook with endless options. It was interesting to see netbooks that were fitted with rubberized cases, fanless bottoms to avoid spills, anti-microbial keyboards, carrying handles, shoulder straps, built in cameras, wifi, Bluetooth, and even some that are 3G compatible. Why are companies packing such great options into such a small and portable device that can be accessed anywhere? Simple, for student use.
I immediately thought that if I were a parent (scary thought) and had a child what better way to help enhance and supplement their learning than through the purchase of a netbook for Christmas. Sounds like a great idea right? But after thinking it through, how many of our schools are “laptop friendly” campuses where utilization of these tools is encouraged? Having such a great tool at your disposable and not being able to use it at school seems somewhat pointless. What would a 4th grade teacher do on January 4th when a student walks in with their new netbook ready to use it in the classroom? What would a high school instructor do when a student gets out a netbook and begins to search for pictures of WWI propaganda posters for a U.S. History assignment? This scenario raises many questions: Is it up to each individual teacher to decide? Should the building level administrator make a decision on their use? Does the school already have a policy? All of these thoughts immediately came to mind.
My initial response is that all schools should already be in a 1 to 1 program to enhance curriculum and instruction in the classroom and be preparing students for the future. But we have to be honest with ourselves and with the current state of the economy and school budgets for many districts that is just not possible. The second best option would be to encourage students to utilize the technology that is at hand. Administrators and teachers should encourage their students to bring netbooks to class and to use them as a means to supplement and enhance the already great things that are going on within the classroom. As teachers and administrators we must show students how these tools can be used as a means to increase understanding and to become more efficient. As administrators we must also encourage staff to embrace the use of technology in the classroom through modeling its use and encourage the use of these tools outside classroom doors. If districts are not going to be able to provide these tools to students policies must be developed so that students are able to use their own personal netbooks in the classroom. I strongly feel we must confront those that “fear” the use of technology in the classroom and show them the many benefits of having these tools at our disposal within the classroom. With netbooks soon to be offered in the under $100 range we must recognize that most students are going to have access to netbooks.
What is your school doing?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Reflection is a great way to process and organize new knowledge and information. Throughout the learning process as an aspiring principal I plan to use this blog to inform, process, and organize my new findings, issues facing educators, and personal development. I hope that you find this blog beneficial to your personal development and join in and exchange ideas with me either through this blog or twitter.