Tuesday, July 15, 2014

When a PLN "Circles the Wagons"

As the pieces have fallen together over at Navasota Intermediate, something interesting has happened.

Let me start by giving you a little background.  Navasota Intermediate is being "reconstituted".  Essentially that means that when they hired me as the new Principal, I had to come in and hire a new staff.  I did keep about 4 of the previous staff, but because of where things had ended up the district was looking for a "fresh start".

I accepted the position knowing that I had no experience as a School Administrator, but strangely enough I wasn't intimidated.

And the last two months have proven to me why I wasn't intimidated.  Over the last two years I've built a PLN (personal learning network).  It's people that I met online (through Twitter) who I vent to, learn from, grow with, etc.

After accepting the position and beginning to rebuild the campus, something happened.  What happened was my PLN began to "circle the wagons".  I can't even begin to express the emotional overwhelmingness over the last two months of receiving texts, phone calls, Voxer messages, tweets, Facebook messages, and more.  People were genuinely excited for me and the future of that campus.  But so much more than that, they wanted to help, however they could.  ISTE was a huge eye opener for me this year as person after person came up to me offering help.

Crazily enough, what has begun to happen is that Navasota Intermediate is quickly becoming an example of what can happen when you build a "PLN school".  It's so much humbling to watch different people I admire or respect offer their time and resources to help us grow and become the best we can be for these kids.  Even education companies have come onboard to help us in our mission.

I have a few educators on my staff who understand the power of social media, but more and more are learning.  I sit in an airport right now, on my way to Podstock in Kansas, and I can't even truly comprehend what is happening or what is coming for Navasota.

Every day I show up to work this summer brimming with ideas.  Then I come in contact with one of my new teachers, or a group of new employees, or my admin team, and I am just filled with so much joy and pride.  I am honored to work along side these people we've selected for Navasota Intermediate.  I believe strongly that we can build a school that changes things.  Build a school where every student is valued, where every child finds their version of success, and where learning happens.  I know there are amazing schools out there, but it's so exciting to be building one, pretty much from scratch, and watching my PLN "circle the wagons" to help.

The world better watch out, Navasota Intermediate (with the help of my PLN) is about to make some waves.