Monday, July 10, 2017

Learning and Validation

I am surrounded by tremendous school leaders.  Principals and other leaders in education who I look up to, individuals who make up my Professional Learning Network, and many that I am meeting for the very first time.

I am at the National Principals Conference in Philadelphia.

The majority of the sessions I decided to attend were based on the opportunity to hear/see the individual speak after "knowing" them solely through Twitter and the content they produce.

Danny Steele. Eric Sheninger. Jimmy Casas. Brad Gustafson. Todd Nesloney. Salome Thomas-El.  Derek McCoy (DM, I actually have the privilege of knowing already). Just to name a few.

In actuality, most of the presenters are so impacting that it's almost astonishing I am even engaged in 1:1 dialogue.  These leaders are on the Mount Rushmore of school leadership.

In addition to the overall session focus, these highly-successful Principals typically also share the impressive efforts and movements they have implemented in their own schools, ranging from culture-building, learning spaces, collaborative learning, community engagement, and instructional support (just to name a few).

These are state Principals/Assistant Principals of the Year and National Digital Principals of the Year who have guided their respective schools to prominence and models for what all Principals should aspire their own schools to be.

At the same time, I cannot help but sit back and think about all of the incredible teaching and high-levels of learning that occur at Lake Norman Charter every day.

During various elbow-partner sharing, small-group discussion, and even whole-session sharing of Best Practices, I have been reminded how easy it is for us to be restrained into a bubble.  And this reminder is most-evident when I see the reaction when I share an example or instance that has simply become embedded into what we do.

Student-led Professional Development for our teachers; the Tech Gnome Award and presenting Best Practices monthly; the Fresh Take Conference; a green-light for our teachers to take-risks; E-Learning Days. Again, just to name a few.

There is an element of validation that I could not have predicted to the point where I had to call my Superintendent and a few teachers yesterday, just to share how I was bragging on them.

In James Owen's Drawing Out the Dragons, he wrote, "It ain't bragging if you've done it.  There's nothing wrong with being proud of doing something well.  In fact, if you intend to do something's absolutely essential."

So, as much as I am taking away by learning from the best School Leaders in the country, to the students, faculty, and parents of Lake Norman Charter, please know:

I'm bragging, too.


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The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.

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