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We started off discussing the difference of General Outcome Measurements - which looks at skills
measured over time (charting it - almost like an ABCDF grade) - and Mastery Measurement - which looks
more like standards based grading. At least from my perception.
Specially Designed Instruction -- shortened due to problem of helping with homework completion -discussion surronded the importance of teaching the "transitional skills" and building-block skills vs
attempting to stay current with RegularEd classroom homework.
Wow -- I've been concentrating on limiting any homework (work assigend to be completed outside my
supervision) while wondering if I was wrong -- and now I so firmly understand the importance of this! No
homework! Make the students 'work' for me, with me, with my supervision.
Wow -- literature dropped on students, to read 20 pages a night --- caused a lot of stress/concern on the
students. Regular Ed teachers DO modify per IEPs, but problems arise when looked over the course of the
students' full days -- even if each teacher modifies their work they are unaware of the sum total of work
for the day.
Our district brought in a county deputy A.L.I.C.E. trainer for our high school professional develoment.
Wow. This was terrifically impactful. We sat in our darkened classrooms, huddling under desks, while the
"active shooter" went room to room. I was shot (by the pellet gun). It was excurciating listening to the
methodical shooting taking place down the hall, moving closer and closer, until it happened to the staff in
the classroom I was in. We were just following our current active shooter procedures. Next, we were
trained in how to respond per the ALICE directions, and that gave us a much more comprehensive and
multi-tiered way to respond to an active shooter.
Terrific training - hopefully never needed, and yet, very important knowledge. This needs to be taught in
every instance where there are groups of people gathered.
I'm impressed my administration team researched this training and proactively sought out instruction. I
wonder how they are made aware of 'new' trainings, and wonder how they decide to bring them into
professional development. In my future school, if this is not current training, I will insist that it be
implemented. That's how powerful this program is. Along those lines, it wouldn't have been near as
impactful if we had simply discussed the training and scenarios. Surely the background information is
important, and discussing past "active shootings" is needed, but the actual 'doing' made much more of an
impact on our staff. To do is to understand.
I see no tie-in. It is another 'hoop-jumping'. A box to check. This is something that is written in the fall,
filed away, and not even thought of a single time until Spring...when we pull it out, dust it off, and reflect

that either we 'yes' did it/reached it, or 'no' didn't do or reach. And so what? I've not yet found out what
happens if one of us instructors doesn't reach our typed up ippy-dippy.
Does anyone from the Department of Ed actually read them?????
As a future administrator...I'm torn on this issue. I don't know if this is simply that I must have my staff do
because someone in the department of education "says so", or something that is essential information for
a district to have and really values the information given. Because as of yet, in my 9 years teaching, it
really seems to come across as a box to check.
So, the takeaway? There is some crazy district time (paid all teachers for 2 hours to fill this out --- what is
that cost???) set aside for this. Especially frustrating when I see the important potential that AIW can help
perpetuate -- that ties directly into the instructional curriculum I'm instituting in the classroom. Now that
is where the rubber meets the road. That is what is truly important!
During our Wednesday PLC individual team time, my CTE (Career & Technical Education) team took a
look at data comparing our self-designed vocabulary test from last year's fall sophomore class to this
year's fall sophomore class. We had developed this formative vocab quiz based upon vocabulary used in
Iowa Assessments in order to get a baseline for the students we have in CTE. We reviewed our terms in
order to remind us what we're looking at and also to divy up to ensure all the terms are at some point
being taught by one of us CTE teachers.
While this has some merit - sure we want to improve our students' vocabularies - but I worry that it's only
to appease the summative assessment data-workers. That is...this has the feeling of a we-have-to-worryabout-our-Iowa-assessment-scores-as-a-school-so-your-group-go-find-a-way-to-help. It's a loose tie in,
and one that I worry is easily overlooked by us CTE instructors. This just doesn't have the importance
inherent to it to incorporate into our instruction. In short, this feels like a "check box". Vocabulary?
Here we go again with AIW, part of my district's professional development plan. This time we assessed an
activity our curriculum director brought to us for our next week district-wide professional development
(when we meet as a full staff).
This was a bit more difficult to assess, as we are looking at an activity for adults, and not necessarily tied
to our core classes (English, Social Studies, Math, Science). However, we were still able to suggest
adaptations that we felt might better interest and tie-in our staff and our collective experiences.
It was actually really refreshing to have input on what and how our district wide professional
development is implemented. I can appreciate the time and planning it takes to develop an important, and
interesting, staff development activity.
As we appreciate our curriculum director's perspectives on our curriculum activities brought up in our
AIW meetings, I imagine (and she said) she also appreciated our comments and suggestions regarding her
"lesson". As a future principal, I would like to not only implement AIW (as I'm finding the value pretty

terrific) but I would like to bring my 'teacher leadership' ideas to my team in order to improve the
activity's effectiveness.
Our first AIW meeting. After training in early Fall, now we are actually implementing it. Its going
roughly...only because we're so new to it. Understanding the rubric, and how it applies to the instructor's
curriculum activity, takes some reading and doing.
That said, it was pretty neat to see what my colleague is doing in English. I have had no idea what is
'done' in our core classes, and it's terrific that through the AIW rubric/training, I get a chance to do so.
Also, we get to bounce ideas off each other to improve our instruction.
I'm learning to embrace the struggle - the 'work' - of collaboration. It isn't easy, it does't just 'roll' yet, but
we as a team can see the beginnings of the doing being worthwhile. Also, I can see the possibility of
fostering more potential cross-curricular projects through our AIW work.
As an administrator, I'm learning that I have to emphasize and protect productive collaboration time.
Actually, I'd like to sit in on some of these meetings to see my teachers bounce their collaborative ideas
off each other.
We met again in order to put the final touch-ups before the submission for the grant approval. This is it,
this is where we give the grant over to the state. We narrowed down and nailed down the final
responsibilities for our teacher coaches, technology coach, model teacher and mentor teacher positions.
We also wrote the confidentiality agreement for teachers in order to supplant fears of evaluation-by-peers.
I have really been appreciative of the collaboration brought in by administration in our quest for writing
this grant. It could be a big boon for the school district. The buy-in is big for the instructors because of
our collaborative input.
Interestingly to note - the teachers I worked with on this committee have shown a lot of apprehension
about the instructional coach providing insight/information for evaluative procedures. Hence the
confidentiality agreement. As an instructor, I've come to appreciate my evaluations as a chance to
improve - to have another set of eyes diagnose areas of my weaknesses so that I can improve. As an
administrator, I'll need to be very aware of those...worried perceptions of evaluation. This will be
We touched on grading system concerns. We discussed the new application of our grading system change
(70% summative & 30% formative) for entry into the district's grading and reporting system (infinite
campus). The structure changed on Inifinite Campus side, thereby changing the teachers' entry system. In
a nutshell, we were all coming back and realizing the system we ran last year changed pretty significantly.
Frustration was evident.

We touched on our superintendent's specified request that all teachers host an online classroom
interactions for all classrooms. Instructors have leeway in how this accomplished, but one way or another
must be accomplished. I'm advocating for usage of Schoology, and quite a few other younger teachers use
this, due to how it mimics similar to Facebook. Edmodo and moodle and a class/activity web page are
This Friday is homecoming, and as such our students will be out in our communities completing service
projects. We needed to cover which instructors were going where, and what expectations look like. I
volunteered to take students by bus to an outside-the-town project. We attached teachers to different
projects based upon their expertise and skills in order to best accomplish the projects.
As an administrator, it will be frustrating to lead staff through changes in implemented technology,
especially when it is a surprise update. It may be important to listen and understand the frustration, yet
just as important to remain firm in the it-is-what-it-is mentality, because that what it takes to accomplish
the task. This is true for really many different situations: listen to understand, be empathetic, but insist on
a course of action.
This experience was grant writing collectively in conjunction with staff members and administrators to
meet the specifications for the Teacher Leadership Compensation grant in the state of Iowa.
Through intense conversations, I was responsible for collectively defining the vision on how we see our
Teacher Leaders working with our teachers. Also, on a fun note, an important part of my direct input
regarded the usage of framing our proposal with bullets (in that, our outline was framed in bullets). This
was stressed to help pull out the information that quickly aligned with what we felt the grant readers were
looking for.
What I took away from this was the power of collaboration between like-motivated people when given
direction. We had a goal: to concretely define our plan on how we will establish our Teacher Leaders and
utilize the resources in order to improve student learning.
It was quite tiring work, actually, heavy on the wordsmithing. And yet, it was quite rewarding in that as a
team we could see quite clearly a vision becoming defined. It helps that our superintendent had an end
goal in mind - yet, he really valued our instructor-team's input, realizing that the teacher coaches will be
working directly with teachers.
A school leader with a clear vision and willingness to see staff collaboration input drives up buy-in and
Our school districts (North Fayette and Valley/NFV) are applying for the TLC state grants. In order to do
so, our districts must have written plans detailing how we are setting up and will apply TLC in our
schools. As we are a shared middle and shared high school with two separate elementaries, but sharing a
superintendent, we have applied together (ensuring our language matches). As we moved forward, our job
was to write our TLC grant proposal that constituted our 2 districts as one unit. As such, I found myself

needing to change my viewpoint from solely HS to that of K-12 in order to help write and create such a
When working with committees or panels to establish a new program/direction etc, the administrator will
need to have a firm view point to lead. In this case, my superintendent took the lead in detailing what
needed to be done and why it needed to be done. The 'how' it was to be done was something that the
committee did, through guidance from the superintendent. I appreciate how much research he had done,
the number of different school districts he reached out to for information from, and providing information
to us on what aspects we as a district needed to more closely look at. If he hadn't been ready, if his
research hadn't been done and he hadn't had such a clear/strong vision of why we should be involved in
this, I feel the committee would have quickly failed. Vision is important, but more than that, the ability to
clearly communicate the vision needs to be strong characteristics of administrators (or anyone running a
meeting, really).
Parent approached head coach with complaints regarding the direction of coaching technique, possible
bullying instances regarding her daughter's participation in the sport, and the parental 'threat' of openenrolling to a different district. Coach brought topics to the principal (my mentor) along with the assistant
coach (myself) for discussion and insight into past/previous encounters with parent. Based upon
observations from both the head coach and myself, there were instances of the individual isolating herself
from the the team. Additionally, we sought insight from previous encounters with parent from the
principal. Admitting there had been some experiences, and some difficulties, in the past, the principal
discussed with us reverse threats/bullying from the parents towards other team members.
I had not seen a parent negatively go after high schoolers before, and was pretty surprised by the actions.
Hearing that it had happened before, with the parent blaming others, helped dissuade the head coach and
myself from doing anything drastic. I appreciated my mentor's willingness to shed light on the issue,
along with the fact that he supported our (2 coach's) proactive approach with addressing behaviors/actions
with our team. It is my belief that the "small" act of sitting and listening to the coaches' concerns, while
additionally giving a broader perpective to the situation, really helped lessen a heightened meeting. The
idea of the 'balcony' view that Dr. Pace talks about certainly applies here. So, the sitting and listening my
mentor did will stick with me. As a future administrator, one fundamental role will be to listen and gather
information, while providing clarity on issues when possible. Certainly we (the 2 coaches) have
welcomed this parent into the team (she really has been, for the most part, a positive contributer to the
team family/community), the coaches have found an avenue for this parent to 'help' or 'assist' so that she
retains the feeling of involvement.
Welcome back/Management Issues, WIN20, Project-Based Future, Review Back to School Night, ALICE
As a member of the high school LEAD team, I participated in a before school planning session that
covered new program implementation for our under-performing students, the future of education styles at

North Fayette Valley (NFV) as we begin transitioning into project-based learning, planning/organizing the
back-to-school night for students and parents, and began planning for ALICE training for the whole staff.
Foresight and planning is key to running a smooth school. I appreciated how my mentor looked for
multiple viewpoints from multiple people in regards to identifying potential
bugs/problems/snafus/conflicts with our back-to-school program. Quite a few potential time/space
conflicts were identified and solved, but only due to his seeking information from others. I found this
strategy quite helpful - it's a great idea to seek out knowledge from others. Too often assumptions are
made that lead to problems that can be solved by clear communication.
13. Food Shelf
January 10th, my family and I helped out with the local Saturday foodshelf delivery. I spent the majority
of my time organizing where food was going to be distributed from (categorized by types of food) around
the room, attempting to improve the flow of foot traffic and ease of carrying items (heavy stuff towards
end of the line, etc). Once we opened the doors to traffic, I primarily helped carry boxes of food for
various people through the line and out to their vehicles.
We had quite a bit of help (our school signed up to take the day), and it was fun to be with coworkers
outside of the school setting yet still serving the public. That said, it was a sobering experience, and one
that I really appreciated having my family join in on. My 3 young children (aged 9, 7 & 5) were all
involved with parsing out a certain number of items per family/person. It had quite the effect (especially
on my older two) realizing that the food being handed out was all that some of the people would have to
eat for a month. It was so profound that they requested their mom to run home and grab their "charity" jar
(a jar we put loose change into) to donate to the food shelf.
I found the experience wonderful for helping, with the dark undercurrent of perhaps some bitterness. In
what I imagine would be an unpleasant experience (standing in line to receive food I'm dependent on), I
tried to carry on polite/happy conversation with those I was carrying food for. For the most part that was
successful, yet there were times would I could sense the person I was helping was not happy nor wishing
to engage in pleasantries.
I was worried/concerned I would see a student or student's family go through. I didn't. I'm surprised I
didn't. I know I have students whose families rely on the foodshelf. I want my students to know there's no
shame in accepting help, and that I was happy to help -- but I was concerned with how they would feel.
14. Blended/Flipped Classroom AEA Training
We're covering what our modern learner looks like, how connected they are, and how to best reach our
learners, meeting them at their level. We explored defining our learners through multiple avenues: lists,
drawings, programs, etc. Defining PBLs and UbDs was an experience that drew out the concept of linking
beyond the classroom and differentiating level of instruction to our students.
As a future principal, this blended classroom will become more and more prevelant in public education,
particularly in Iowa. Truthfully, our districts are, by and large, steadily declining in enrollment. As such, I
can see how sharing instructors/classrooms between districts will open up alternatives for my students

and my district. Beyond this application of opening up content/classes for students, the content delivered
through a blended classroom will help meet our students at their level. Give them the knowledge
accessible outside of the classroom, and make the classroom time the space/time for application of that
15. LEAD Team
The high school is looking to change policy/implementation of Early Bird PE (class that meets before
scheduled classes) in conjunction with how the strength and conditioning program is run. Representing
non-core classes, this can have an effect on enrollment, as there will be more students taking PE during
the day (a requirement) in effect "using" an hour that could be filled by another non-core class.

As the conversation continued, it became obvious my mentor was looking all the different and
various ways this change will affect the school community at large - not just non-core classes.
Early Bird PE (due to the scheduling) was putting in greater amount of time than regular PE
classes, causing a certian amount of consternation among students and parents. Additionally, it
will also affect clubs and extra commitments that meet before school, perhaps even
strengthening participation.
The political ramifications seems to have been thought of by my mentor - it will be interesting to
see how it plays out. This will be a significant change in how our school has offered PE (21
years of Early Bird??).

16. Early Childhood Field Trip ExperienceExperience

Today I took a personal day (off) to volunteer to be a chaperone and bus driver for my youngest son's
preschool field trip. We went to a performance at Gallagher Blue Dorn (Spot the Dog) and had a sack
lunch in the stands of the UNI dome.
Oh my goodness -- again I am reminded why I chose to work with teenagers. The saying "like herding
cats" ran through my mind multiple times today....
But it was fun. There is something delightfully simple and truthful when talking and interacting with early
childhood. My lunch conversation over a bologna and butter sandwich ranged from what one of the type
of animals was from the show (a hippo? a bear? a kangaroo? it remains undecided) to whom could make
their carrots crunch the loudest, to what color their dogs and guinea pigs are.
I laughed a lot.
It also called to mind the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child". In a quick count, for every 5 children
there was an adult. Of the adults, only 2 were volunteer parents (not counting myself and 2 other bus
drivers; all 3 of us are HS teachers who took personal days to help chaperone our own kids). From my

perspective as a HS teacher, I've often thought the elementary was overstaffed with paid
paraprofessionals. I don't know if I can agree with that sentiment any longer. The younger elementary
classrooms need the extra adult attention. I guess I was aware of that subconsciously; after all, I have 3
young children of my own who seek my attention. But our schools also work with children who don't
often get the attention they crave -- and therefore need it from school.
A last thought: before leaving the school, while inside, I had the chance to talk with the building
janitor/custodian. Someone I know to be a good guy, and whom I enjoy talking with. However, I also got
a chance to observe him interacting with the students. After watching those children break into full-on
smiles & giggles, I am going to make it my mission to watch my teammembers interact with children. I
want to find those rare ones who delight in joyfully engaging with children.
17. PLC Leadership Team
We took a look at our District SMART goals and discussed how and why it was lined up to our
student test data. Conversation then turned into how we can tie instruction through the AIW
process into working towards SMART goals. I questioned if MAPS data was so valuable (more
so than ITEDS/ITBS/whatever we call them now), why we don't also have our 11-12th graders
take the MAPS test since the data could be so valuable to us. There was a suggestion of
perhaps utilizing the free COMPASS test that community colleges use - where we could still
access the data, but then also have accomplished getting our students to take the test seriously.
I also suggested that instead of writing SMART goals that fairly quickly faded from memory, we
should have our AIW groups (fully trained staff wide next year) attach a SMART goal to each
instructional item that is brought in to the teams for discussing/scoring. The framework of AIW
already provides a place to define the Iowa Core item taught; it wouldn't be a stretch to include
a district SMART goal as well.
This conversation was really pretty fun, as it seemed we were making some definite plans. I
can't say for certain that the Compass test will be administered or if AIW will include SMART
goals, but they seemed to be well received by the group.
I almost kind of felt like an administrator, piecing together different connections in order to better
(my opinion) a process. I'm not particularly keen on pouring over data -- but if we're going to do
it, I'd just as soon use it. It's unfortunate some students don't take the ITEDs seriously (I know
quite a few don't) because we draw up SMART goals based on the results. MAPs testing,
however, is taken more seriously. And if we aren't administering the test to all of our students,
then we aren't gathering as much useful data as we could. The COMPASS test may help
change that.
18. LEAD Team: Formative Time Cards
We discussed at length formative vs summative work, and I was asked about the Career &
Technical Education (CTE) departmental usage of a self-designed time card.

The idea with the time card was developed between the Ag teacher and myself over 2 years
based upon our graduated CTE students' experiences and tying into the 21st century skills
career readiness of the Iowa Core. This time card has been used as a weekly self-reflection
piece for our students. It hasn't been watertight yet, but there's progress.
Our school is working through the changes of a 70% Summative and 30% formative grading
change, along with slowly implementing different subject areas using standards based grading.
It's a slow change process, there are kinks to work out, but generally speaking the process has
been positive.
I think there is very important work to do here. Our antiquated A-F scale needs to go. No longer
should we reduce what a student can do down to a single letter score tied to a 4-point scale.
Through technology, we track more specifically, and through teaching and assessing, help
illuminate those areas where each of our students succeed, and which areas need more work.
19. Capstone Senior Project Review
My HS has required Seniors to complete a "Capstone" project for graduation for the past 3
years. The project is to include 15 hours of mentoring, a 20-minute presentation to a panel, and
a 10-page paper written about the research and learning. We met to discuss potential changes
to senior capstone projects for next year, and listed comments from this year's participants and
observers. Almost across the board the students don't like it initially, and in the end comment
about how much they've learned and how it wasn't too bad. Parents, generally, are very
supportive. The few who aren't tend to change their mind once their student has completed the
project. There are still a few parents who completely oppose the requirement.
My comment was that instead of requiring students to "do research", we should lessen the
paper writing requirement, increase the mentor hours, and add in a "project" part.
This project has been continually improving, and there's further we can push this. I think my
idea of perhaps splitting the project could gain traction; that is, offer the Capstone as it stand, or
option 2 would be create a community/group improvement project that has more work hours
involved but lessen the paper writing component.
This isn't to undervalue the importance of research and writing - certainly there are a lot of
students who learn in this style. However, we must keep in mind there are just as many students
whose learning style and talents lies within creating something tangible/physical movements.
20. Parent Teacher Spring Conferences
Parent teacher conferences for the spring with seniors. We discussed the mad dash to the finish
line. These conferences take place before the seniors present their capstone projects, and
before their I Have A Plan Iowa is completed.

Truly, it's a chance to sit and reflect for a bit about high school, get some serious and honest
discussion about the future beyond our walls, and to make sure all their "boxes are checked" for
requirements for graduation.
I was pleasantly surprised to have quite a few conversations regarding life beyond HS with my
students and their parents. These discussions were really quite frank - a lot of my advisees still
aren't sure what they will do after graduation...and their parents were, in my opinion, not all that
helpful. I'm not sure why that was.
These conversations are really important. I am aware of colleagues who simply view the
conferences as unecessary, and believe an emailed checklist would be more efficient (save the
parents time). While I understand the mundane checklist (do you have your paper written, do
you have your presentation lined up, do you have your I Have A Plan Iowa finished), the
conversations I had with my advisees was...sublime? The art of teaching/mentoring may well lie
within honest and open conversations.....sounds like a thread to pull at later.
21. LEAD Team: Soft skills and Twitter
Discussing formative work-related skills: effort/participation, class attendance, collaboration,
behavior, homework completion/quality. Much discussion... thinking it can't be incorporated into
a summative/skill goal, and yet have decided to report it on grade reports - much like early
elementary has done. I'm pushing for implementing this, but am not sure if it needs to be done
across all classes. There was an interesting comment from a math teacher regarding how to
measure effort and participation...which I answered that with my academic area and how it is
done (shop time on projects) it's easy to measure. But I can appreciate how she views
participation as difficult to assess.
Twitter conversations. The district would like to have teachers & groups (starting with high
school) create twitter accounts tied to the school and use them as communication tools. I'm a
big proponent for this. An in-house behavioral disorder program was voted and approved for
creation by the board last night. We discussed how this will look for NFV and how it will better
serve the needs of our students and keep them in community. The program will be housed
downtown, with potential to integrate some work experience and community partnerships. This
could be potentially powerful.
These formative work skills are very important for future success in both college and work place
- I am convinced of it. That said, it can be difficult to teach and assess those soft skills. They
need to be incorporated into our's part of the "art" of teaching -- the soft skills are
what every employer I speak with are hammering our students on. It isn't the quality of math
skills or proper writing (although those are happily accepted), it's whether or not the students will
show up on time all the time, can work well with other employees, etc.
The twitter issue is important. Schools need to open their doors more, allowing more access into
classrooms. WIth constraints of time (both community members and set hours of certain

classes) that can be limiting. Twitter gives instructors the chance to celebrate the small (and
big!) accomplishments seen in the classroom. Publicity is good, especially if it highlights the
achievements our students accomplish. I love (!) the behavioral program being developed for
NFV. If students are a resource and our future, then we need to support and keep them here. It
is my firm belief that our behavioral students need more guidance through community support,
not shipping them away somewhere else. If we integrate our behavioral students, gradually, into
our community/work experience, and show them their importance to our community, we can
gradually help them beyond simple schooling. We can provide future opportunities.
22. Field Experience Business/Community (GMM)
This experience was far greater than 4 hours, but I'll condense it down. I spent my time with an
aluminum manufacturer for the aerospace industry - creating everything from the module boxes
that house all the electrical equipment found in a cockpit to the radio communication packs our
soldiers carry in the field and a multitude of other items. My time with GMM was spent learning
what it takes to manufacture prototypes, tweak designs, bid to projects that both meet customer
demand and are profitable for the company. Additionally, once I learned how to run their huge
multi-million-dollar machines (that took a few weeks), I spent a lot of time with their HR director,
discussing work force recruitment, retainment, problem solving skills and community
Principals are community leaders, simply due to the visibility of the position and the leader of
children. A school will only be as strong as the community that supports it. As such, the principal
needs to reach out and connect not only with citizens, but with the community at large including the businesses that support the schools.
I have helped build and maintain a relationship with GMM and my high school. The initial
outreach, however, came from GMM. Once they showed interest in fostering a school
relationship, however, I jumped in with both feet. I can see benefits from this relationship simply
through the awareness my students show to life beyond high school. My mentor has done, in
my opinion, a terrific job promoting these kind of partnerships. I intend to follow likewise as a
23. Donuts and Dads (preschool)
I was able to attend my son's pre-father's day celebration program put on by his class (Muffins
with Mom was done earlier this month). I was a little later than I expected due to arranging
coverage for my class, but when I walked in and saw his huge smile spread across his face, it
was worth it.
It was a neat experience to sit in a classroom with only dads around. There was a little chit chat
to start with, but we quickly turned our attention to our kids...and they ate it up!
We saw our kids sing, ate a donut with them, and really just sat and talked with our kids one-onone, with their full attention on us and our full attention on them. As a father of 3, rarely do I get
to do one-on-one with a child, and typically time is spent all together (as a family of 5).

For future principal, what I take away from this experience is the understanding that though I
may become the leader of learning for a whole building of children, I'll need to really focus in on
individual children every once-in-a-while in order to celebrate their individuality.
24. BD Interview fiasco and set-up
We met to interview a candidate, who ended up not coming in for an interview. We then instead
discussed interviewing questions/format, and situational candidates for the position. I gave
some input regarding possible employee combinations.
It was an interesting scenario, and one my mentor repeatedly assured me was atypical. The
intended interviewee was calling and negotiating with administration for a higher salary before
coming in for an interview. It is my understanding this negotiating was quite a bit of back and
forth before the candidate decided it wasn't enough and withdrew his application. The school
has other applicants (potentially a good "team" of 2 quality candidates) and is thinking of
restructuring how the position is offered -- as the BD program will be a new addition to our
I admire the administration's movement on adding the BD program -- potentially it will not only
serve our own district's needs, but may draw students in from other districts as well, provided
the program becomes as strong as we envision it becoming. This can be a boon for our district if
so. I look forward to sitting in on the upcoming interviews for these positions.
25. BD interview
Experience: I was part of the interview team, responsible for asking pre-written questions in
turn, and taking personal notes. The position interviewed is for a newly-established Behavioral
Disorder program hosted in a building downtown off campus. The program has been created,
through the boards recommendation, in order to better serve the needs of our behavioral
students in working towards partial/whole inclusion with the rest of the student body.
Reflection:I tried to focus my attention on the superintendent running the interview. I was
disappointed my mentor, the HS principal, was unable to attend the interview -- I was looking
forward to watching both through the interview process. Nevertheless, I was able to see my
superintendent establish a calm interview through his lower/softer voice cues and eye contact
with the interviewee.
I have questions regarding the professionalism aspect of interviewing, as such that I am aware
of this interviewees previous work experience through my wife's interactions with him in his
previous teaching role. How much can/should outside information play into hiring decisions?
How far can an administrator reach for information beyond the interviewee's references and
interview process?
26. Preschool Playground Equipment Install
Experience: A community of volunteers tore down, labeled, moved, and re-built a new(ish)
playground from the a fomer elementary school within our district to the new preschool/daycare
center established on our school campus. While the initiative was begun through an Eagle scout

project, it became clear that support/help was needed to see the project through. As the "shop"
teacher, I found many eyes falling upon me to help explain and convey answers regarding the
reassembly. That made me nervous.
Reflection: I really dread going into those situations, where people expect I should
instantaneously "know" certain applications due to my position. To be fair, as a shop teacher, I
do have some technical knowledge, and should be able to communicate said knowledge to
others and help "direct traffic". Having never before seen the equipment, however, it was a bit of
a puzzle. Once I thought of the situation as such, the puzzle (playground equipment) did seem
to go together a bit easier.
As a future administrator, specifically as a future HS principal, I anticipate many circumstances
when others will look to me for situational answers...and although I may not feel adequately to
answer, I must rely both on my preparation and willingness to "figure out" situations. I'm curious
how often my mentor has dealt with similar situations, how those situations played out, and if
similar circumstance still happen.
27. Model teacher and entry teacher kick-off day
Experience: This was our district's kick-off day with new hires, both new to profession and
those experienced but new to our district. An impressively big number, right around 15 new
faces. As a model teacher, as written out within our TLC grant, my role was to both be a warm
welcoming face to our new colleagues, and present important initiatives our district is
undertaking. Specifically, I was able to present on Standards Based Reporting, and our
movement towards implementing such changes.
Reflection: Wow, what a positive change it was to have this program in place for our new
colleagues. Ten years ago as I entered teaching, I was handed my keys, told to fill out some tax
and health insurance paperwork, and then shown my classroom. That was it. This was a
welcome change. It was refreshing (and invigorating) to see my teacher colleagues
speak/present on important district initiatives in order to inform our new hires. It shows
ownership and lends authenticity to the work we're tackling, rather than have administration lay
out what's going on. I can see as a future principal, just how key it will be to excite, involve and
essentially give control to my teacher leaders to simply lead!
28. SpecEd Accommodations and Modifications
Experience: I sat in on a Special Education presentation to our staff regarding our school's
implementation of accommodations and modifications, and our acknowledged success and
places for improvement.
Reflections: I was surprised and impressed when my mentor mentioned that NFV has been
recognized as one of 4 or 5 Iowa schools that best work with helping our Special Education
students succeed. From my perspective, and perhaps implementation from the I-Tech program,
rare is the time when modifications are necessary for our Special Education students. In fact,
sometimes I'm not even clear who the designated students are. And I'm not sure what/if that
means anything or even relates to the national recognition. From my perspective, Special
Education is rarely...seen? I don't team teach with any of the Special Ed teachers, I haven't had
any aides in my class for 3 years. This isn't a complaint, really more of a reflection. I'm glad the

program and teachers are recognized for their obvious hard work. Their program seems hidden
to me; I want to learn/see more.
The presentation on accommodations and modifications may have helped provide clarity for
some teachers; however, not for me. I am extremely thankful to the teachers for providing a list
of students with their individual accommodations and modifications -- that makes a big
difference on my side of teaching.
29. Shadow Micah
Experience: I took a personal day to shadow an elementary principal, in order to gain
perspective within that area - as I am more familiar with the secondary level. I was fascinated
with the extensive conversation we had regarding his unique scheduling ideas in order to not
only maximize his staff's teaching opportunities, but to organize collective planning times in
order to heighten collaborative planning.
Reflections: This was fascinating, and I will continue to keep in touch with this leader as I travel
my own path towards principaling. He wanted to ensure his grade level teams could have
collaborative planning times, but in creating those times still had to manuever within the master
contract (stipulating prep periods). He actually increased the total weekly amount of prep
minutes, while maintaining the same minutes of instruction, by subtracting prep time from a
single day (Friday). The teams meet in the "data room" -- a room of colored wall charts, with
each single student on a post-it note with their reading and math data scores (red=nonproficient, yellow=just proficient, green=above proficient) according to their testing scores.
Additionally, I was able to participate in his "One Legged Interviews" -- he was constantly on the
move, knew where to find his staff for these quick touch-base meetings without interrupting
instructional time, and was asking open ended questions. I want to do this again!!!
30. Spencer Alternative School
Experience:I traveled to Spencer, IA, with my district's new alternative school staff along with
our local AEA sector coordinator, administrative liason/intern, and special ed consultant in order
to tour and ask questions in order to best set up our own alternative school resources.
Reflection: This was a long, long day, but one with some significant forward thinking and
planning. First off, the conversation with the AEA staff regarding what alternative schools can
look like with the intensive staffing and PBIS (that was a new acronym!) was important
information prepping before even walking through Spencer's front door to see it.
Spencer has incorporated multiple partnerships in creating this special academy, which has
provided the financial capabilities to enact this program. It is housed in a former strip mall, with
multiple rooms allocated for elementary, MS & HS divisions, along with many intervention rooms
and intensive padded safe rooms. The staffing ratio is currently 1:1.
Conversations on the return trip centered around how to best construct/build/modify our district's
current space in order to best meet our students instructional and safety needs, in addition to
how to find additional funding for the little things, such as incentive items to align with PBIS. If

this program limits "outsourcing" our students to other programs, whereby meeting or exceeding
the instructional needs they have been receiving elsewhere, this could be a cost-savings for our
district -- or even, possibly, become our own "center" for students from other neighboring
31. Student SpecEd Qualification
Experience: A student of mine was being evaluated for special education services per his
mother's request. The request was made due to his low scoring in class grades. His math
instructor was also a part of the conversation, as was our guidance counselor, principal and
AEA consultant. I was able to provide perspective as one of his general education instructors in
a class where the student is highly motivated to succeed (industrial technology).
Reflection: It became relatively clear early on that the student would not academically qualify
for special education services. His test scores were quite high. Instead, the consultant steered
the conversation towards this student's ability to concentrate. As a shop teacher, I'm quite used
to working with over-exuberant teenage boys...the secret is to get them moving, keep their
hands busy -- which is really easy to do around power equipment! That said, I was able to
speak on the noticeable difference in concentration levels over the past month, which had
significantly improved, and which the math instructor had also noticed. It turns out this student
had gone through a significant growth spurt over the past 6 months and hadn't had any
adjustments in medication until recently.
32. LEAD team meeting over 504s & IEPs
Experience: Our LEAD team met, working through how to best frame for our new staff (and as
a reminder for the rest of our staff) the differences and similarities between the two kinds of
documents, and what is needed for communication with parents.
Reflection: It's interesting how the importance of these documents can be gradually forgotten
over time by general education, myself included! A reminder each year is important - it brings to
the forefront the necessity of following the law. While you may hear the occasional grumble from
some staff, the documents are legally binding. I recently heard a colleague bemoan the fact that
soon all students will have IEPs. I thought about that for a while, and came to the conclusion
that really an IEP is differentiated instruction: meeting students at their level and helping them
experience success. Now, success may look differently for different students...which makes
sense, because students are different!
33. LEAD team meeting on elementary before-school conferences
Experience: LEAD team meeting this morning explored the concept of changing how we meet
with families to enhance/improve/boost our community engagement and positive relationships
with families. As lead negotiator for our union, part of my role was to cautiously listen for
potential "additional duties" that might affect my members and their family time.
Reflection: This is similar to what preschool teachers already do: home visits. It's a flipped idea
of sorts: instead of parents coming in to listen to teachers talk about their kids, teachers go to
homes and listen to parents tell them about their kids. It could be a frank and important
conversation, one where quite a bit of information is collected, both through conversation and
visual. It could possibly cue educators in on potential...problems?situations?circumstances? It

certainly would prove to be another connecting point for education and parents, hopefully
positively so, and would help build relationships necessary for later conferences. The concern
would be the 'when' it would be done. Outside of school hours for working families? On other
contract days?
34. LEAD team SBG & SBR alignment with elementary
Experience: Our building LEAD team visited (via Zoom) with an AEA team and our elementary
team regarding our transition to standards based grading and reporting. Our elementary has
already begun (finished?) their transition to standards based, but clearly there was some
confusion with that. The AEA had stepped in to lend some long-term goals and help define the
transition. My part was to question the procedure and to ask for clarification regarding the
grading of SBG & SBR from a high school perspective.
Reflection:Based upon conversation with colleagues, the HS is not clear on what the transition
will look like and how the transition will take place. Our elementary colleagues have struggled to
explain it to us, and I'm not sure if there is a consensus on what SBG & SBR will look like. There
has been some conversation with elementary defining what the scale (1-4, with 3 = profficient)
will look like...trouble is, not all at the high school agree with that scale. It's a good move pulling
in the AEA, with their member quite well versed in the movement towards SBG. My
administrator believes SBG is an important step in assessing and reporting what a student
actually knows/can do. However, it hasn't been clearly layed out for us yet. This meeting, along
with future PD, is supposed to lay out the transition.
35. Early Childhood and Elementary Ed P/T conferences
Experience: I attended and asked questions during early childhood and elementary
Parent/Teacher conferences. My specific viewpoint was asking about standards based
grading/reporting, asking about projects allowing alternative methods of completion, and
helpfulness (working with others) within the classroom setting.
Reflection:The three conferences I sat in on discussed standards based grading/reporting. Of
the three, only one (4th grade) was able to adequately explain the process...and even then, it
was a little confusing. One of the aspects I found most important was the possibility of students
displaying their learning in differing ways. At the high school, through project based learning,
learning outcomes can be shown in different styles so long as the requirement is met. I wanted
to stress the importance of this so that younger students aren't intimidated out of learning simply
due to a different style.
36. ISPA Hot Topics in Special Ed Law presentation by Dr. Etscheidt
Experience: My role was a fly-on-the-wall at this conference today, hosted by AEA 267 and
presented by Dr. Etscheidt. It felt a little like a fish out of water as I was surronded by
psychologists. My wife attended as an AEA special education consultant, where she too felt a bit
out of place.
Reflection: My head was spinning in a good way. I was fighting to keep up with acronyms
(bless my wife for answering my whisper-questions!), simultaneously wrap my head around the
situations presented, and think through how I would respond/react/plan as a future administrator

- all while at the speed of Dr. Etscheidt!! It was a terrific learning experience, and I am looking
forward to her class next semester.
A few things stuck with me: comparison with how my current school is dealing with situations
similar to new case rulings, how gen ed teachers want snap-shots of
accomodations/modifications for students and not the whole IEP, and how to balance delicate
student information that reflects their right to privacy yet provides clarification and help for their
instructors to better understand student situations and display compassion.
37. UNI student Guidance Counselor presentation on involvement in IEPs & 504s
Experience: A local special educational consultant for Keystone AEA asked me to preview,
question and critique her upcoming presentation. She's presenting to a UNI class of aspiring
public school counselors the differences between 504 plans & IEPS and how they often parlay
into the realm of guidance counseling at both the high school and elementary levels. This
consultant also happens to be married to me! It sounds nerdy, but it was a good conversation
for me to be involved in.
Reflection: I really appreciated a few aspects of this presentation and the conversation we had
following. A few things stick out. 1) I have a better grasp on the differences between not only
504s and IEPs, but also between modifications and accomodations. I think her analogies will
help the class as much as they did me. 2) The professional relationship between a principal and
guidance counselor needs to be fundamentally strong and sound, as they will rely on each other
quite a bit. At the HS, my mentor is charge of the 504s; the guidance counselor is aware of them
but not responsible for them. It's a flipped concept with IEPs. The guidance counselor is more in
charge of ensuring the IEP student is on track for graduation, and the principal is aware of IEPs.
3) The elementary guidance counselor is almost completely in charge of the 504 plans, but only
sits in on a few IEP meetings. All of this is good information for future guidance counselors to be
aware of -- they may end up working with 504s and IEPs quite a bit.
38. Little Hawks Wrestling 4-6 year olds
Experience: Honestly, my role was equal parts kid wrangler, first-aid-giver, and coach.
Sometimes all three at once, at times bit by bit. I know very little about the sport of wrestling, yet
I was on hand to help a local coach run practice for 4-6 year-old wrestlers. I imagine the
intention is to help get students used to wrestling - in actuality I saw more bear hugging than
anything. One kid jumped on top of a wall mat (wasn't supposed to be doing that) and cut his
finger on what appears to be soft plastic. Still haven't figured that one out. Since practice wasn't
too far from my shop, and I have a well-used kit of band-aids, I volunteered to administer the
first aid.
Reflection: Really, until you are in charge of 20 4-6 year olds, you have no idea what kind of
pressure you're under. Again, my hat is off to our elementary teachers -- particularly to those
who keep our early ed students engaged and learning. You would think wrestling instruction
would be engaging for these youngsters (and perhaps it was!) but the students' display of what I
would call attention at the high school was quite different. I kept waiting for someone to yell
"squirrel" and watch all the heads snap to the side. As a future administrator, it will be important
to keep perspective over what constitutes engagement, and at the different levels each age of
student can exhibit.

39. District Clarity Data Mining

Experience: As a district, we sent out multiple questionnaires to our community, seeking
information regarding how well we communicate digitally with our constituents, how digitally
connected our students are away from school, and how often we utilize and practice digital
citizenship and learning in our classrooms. Staff was strategically seated across buildings and
ages in order to bounce ideas off each other in terms of how we accomplish digital literacy in
our classrooms.
Reflection: Every once in a while it is interesting and helpful to hear what is happening at other
attendance centers and classrooms across our district. It's really easy to get used to (stuck?) in
our own little worlds. For instance, I could reasonably answer questions regarding what/how
computers and internet was being utilized in the high school -- but until I was seated with a 5th
grade teacher and a kindergarten teacher, I had completely no idea how much technology was
being integrated at those levels. One instructor (4th grade) was posting to Instagram things her
class was doing and participating in! Twitter has recently been a push as well. As I look to
perhaps lead a school, I am reminded that while it may seem appropriate to commonly group
like-aged level instructors together, every once in a while it's good to force instructors to learn
from each other at different levels.
40. SBG & SBR district TQC
Experience: This was a full district day spent split among all staffs as we learned about each
school's progress towards SBG & SBR. Conversation was centered around how each school
was planning or implementing the district plan. I did a lot of listening today. I was seated with
four elementary teachers, all with serious concerns over the change.
Reflection: As I progress through UNI's program with so much emphasis on change, I find
myself really paying attention to the attitudes and perspectives from teachers undergoing
change. It's always interesting when listening to someone talk of the stress of change while also
keeping in mind these things: change tends to be stressful for everyone because of the
unknown and new, each person's emotional state and general personality traits play heavily on
change outcomes, and many times a push is needed to begin change. While I listened
empathetically to my elementary colleagues, I tried to keep perspective. The change the
elementary initiated has been, in my opinion, perhaps a little too soon with too little information
preparedness. That said, at some point someone needs to get the ball rolling. What a delicate
process, instigating change!
41. Welcome Back To School Night
Experience: As part of our Welcome-back-to-school night, we hosted numerous quick-hitting
sessions on grading expectations, new class offerings, activity participation and tours. I gave a
few tours of the elementary class hallways, talked about PLTW classes, and participated in the
cross country team rules.
Reflection: It's the beginning of the year, full of expectations and perhaps uncertainty. As
schools, we have to put on our best face, smile and show we care for all students. If we aren't
welcoming now we will potentially shut down timid or less certain students from learning. Really,
any positive exposure we can have with our community and stakeholders is crazily important.

Establishing the right vibe now could potentially have lasting positive effects later on in the
school year. If we embrace the idea that it takes a village to raise a child, we need to be able to
show our village how accepting and embracing we as a school are.
42. IEP Meeting
Experience: IEP meeting for a student of mine regarding the learning style I see from him in
class, classes for next semester that align to his learning style, and possibilities beyond high
school for either college (mom's leaning) or workforce (his leaning) and how those options will
best fit his tendencies/learning.
Reflection:My student acknowledges he learns by doing -- his processing is hands on, which
ties in very well to the shop setting. However, there is concern regarding his writing goals (per
IEP), his scoring on writing (per SpecEd teacher), and course selection for the HS required
English credit. Mom would like him to take a college composition course. The Composition
instructor is open to that (also in attendance at the meeting) but clear in communicating the
amount of writing the class encompasses. SpecEd instructor had clear data regarding this
students' scoring in writing through writing goals and delicately posed her concerns regarding
taking the composition class. The student would honestly rather skip English altogether, but
feels the pressure to do as his mother suggests.
As a future administrator, I will need to help move these type of discussions along with parents,
and will need to rely on the delicate handling of these situations by my SpecEd staff, with input
from other instructors.
43. TigerHawk Study Table
Experience: Over the course of 4 evenings, I supported an after school study program at the
high school. Students were either failing a class, needing to make up an exam, were directed to
attend (due to absence or teacher discretion) or voluntarily sought extra help on projects were
there, covering a wide variety of our student population across multiple academic areas.
Reflection: I was skeptical when this initiative was first announced, suspicious that it would
become another monitored study hall. While it did perhaps have some flavor of that (mostly on
the account of students forced attendance due to failing grades), I was surprised with how many
students came in for extra help, particularly around the subject of math. Really, I saw it as a
time/place where students could self-advocate in areas where they needed assistance - which
is quite mature for high schoolers (my opinion). I also found myself engaging with a student,
who was failing multiple classes, in a conversation that was more in his area of expertise.
Through conversation, I was able to tease in examples where his failing subjects would in fact
enhance/further his interests. From that 1/2 hour conversation, I have seen tremendous
improvement in his approach to classes (mine & others)...and I wonder if perhaps he simply
needed to know someone cared? It has been a powerful situation that has opened my eyes to a
few other philosophical conversations and situations that I want to explore and share further.
44. Community Awards Banquet
Experience: This was a community awards banquet, where I was the recipient of the local
educator of the year award. While this was largely due to my teaching at the high school, I used
the hobnobbing opportunity to spread the good news of all the neat things my colleagues are
doing in the classroom -- across all levels. I also included, in my little spiel (I tried to keep my

statements brief -- didn't want to hog the stage) a bit about needing a village to raise a child,
and how our school welcomes community involvement in the classroom simply because it helps
show students that education is important. Simply through the gift of time and interest on the
part of other volunteers/community members.
Reflection:I think as a future school leader that I will need to make a priority of advertising(?) all
the neat initiatives and projects and learning that takes place in my school. We too often rely on
the 'extras' (concerts, sports) to connect with our community. While good, that short changes the
learning aspects and projects that are completed for classes. If we want to really make
education a priority in our communities and politically, we're going to have to showcase the
'return on the dollar' of our classroom activities.
Although this was the first time I had attended the community awards in my 10 years living here,
I was perhaps a bit taken aback that there was only one other educator in attendance. I may
need to up my level of volunteerism -- as was often quoted last night, when you give of yourself
you'll often receive two-fold back. Perhaps schools need to see that as well.
45. Student HS IEP
Experience: I sat in on a high school IEP meeting (Re-Eval) as the general education teacher
for a student of mine. I provided information regarding the student's progress not only
academically, but from what I've observed socially through his interactions with peers.
Reflection: This was a fun meeting due to the fact this student has shown so much growth and
maturity over the course of the three years I've worked with him. My observations reflected
exactly what the SpEd teacher had to report -- and who doesn't love giving positive neat news to
parents!?! In this re-eval, we got to talk about his future plans beyond HS. The SpEd teacher
has been speaking with the student and setting up meetings with JobCorp. The student seemed
really geeked up on that idea. I had never thought of JobCorp as a potential alternative for
students beyond HS -- I'm filing this one away for later usage as a principal!
46. Dr. Alan Zimmerman and SBG
Experience: As part of our district Professional Learning, my school (in conjunction with 4 other
area districts) brought in Dr Alan Zimmerman to speak and work with us. Through his interactive
presentation, we got a chance to see first hand the power of positive thinking and attitudes.
Also, we were given the chance to work through some questions and issues we have in
Standards Based Grading with other districts, and sought guidance from a district currently
employing the process. A lot of discussion/conversation/questioning was held that is helping
shape our initiative.
Reflection: From an administrative viewpoint, what a terrific idea to "share" professional
learning across districts!! It makes sense for our rural districts to team together to bring in a well
regarded speaker for a group presentation - this was deemed immensely more helpful by my
colleagues than our typical "in-house" professional learning sessions.
Additionally, the conversation/discussion we held regarding SBG, with insight from other
districts, is really helping us shape our progress. As a HS team, we realize there is not an
applied framework we can hold on to and say "Here it is!" but instead recognize we can take
and tweak the best of what we find and apply it to our own situations. From an administrator

standpoint, this is terrific. There is no better buy-in than when your staff creates something that
fits our own needs from researching what is working for others. Great move, one I'll remember.
47. Spanish Interviews
Experience: I sat in on, and participated in, interviewing an applicant for our 1.0 FTE Spanish
Instructor position open for next year. Afterwards, my mentor and I discussed interviewing
techniques, processes, and past outcomes.
Reflection: I really enjoy and relish the chance to sit in on interviews, as my Superintendent
once mentioned to me single biggest responsibility of principals is to hire good teachers "it's the
million dollar investment" he said. The interview went fine, no problems, and my mentor and I
had the chance to review it together. While he's hired people in the past by himself, and it
doesn't bother him, he does prefer to interview with others present in order to make sure he
hasn't missed anything or overlooked anything. Our conversation then dove deeper into past
practices, good hires and bad hires, and "tells" he looks for in interviews. I see this as a
potentially huge aspect in my future.
48. Spanish Interviews continued
Experience: My mentor and I interviewed 3 more (total of 4) candidates for our opening 1.0
FTE Spanish position at the HS. My role was to ask the interviewee previously scripted
questions and any that came to mind (that was exciting), take notes during the interview, and
then do a post-brief with my mentor.
Reflection: This was flat out fun...can I call it a "thrill of the hunt" type of activity? Of the 4
candidates, there were 2 really capable candidates, 1 stellar candidate, and 1 candidate I would
not have been comfortable hiring. In our debriefing, it was clear my mentor agreed with me. The
easy part was understanding who the best candidate was - the 2 questions I kept asking was
"Would I want my own children learning from this instructor" and "Would my students enjoy
learning from this instructor". This candidate was so dynamic, it was difficult to sit through
another less stellar interview - (although worried I was pre-jaded, I attempted to remain even -although in our debrief my mentor felt much the same).
One thing I really appreciated and will take with me, is the emphasis my district has on hiring the
best, regardless of years of experience or credits earned. Perhaps the best will be more
expensive to hire - but doesn't that justify itself later on? I think so, and will hold tight to this
concept in the future. In fact, I expect it will be a pertinent question to ask future interview panels
-- does this district believe in hiring the best, regardless of years and master's degrees?