For this episode of Passing Notes, I visited with Andy Moore and Scott Melson with Let’s Fix This. Let’s Fix this is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to educating Oklahomans on politics and policy while providing opportunities for citizens to engage with their representatives. The produce a weekly podcast, Let’s Pod This, and provide resources and, when able to be in person, engagement opportunities for Oklahomans.
I asked them on the podcast to talk about what advocacy will look like in the time of Covid and why it is just as important as ever, though it might be more difficult, to engage with your local and state legislators. You can learn more about Let’s Fix This on their website, Facebook page, or on Twitter @LetsFixThisOK. I recommend check out Let’s Pod This too!
How do you plan on advocating on behalf of public education this year?
Do you know the names of your state and local representatives?
For this episode I interviewed Dr. Giordana Cote. Dr. Cote currently works for Tools of the Mind as the Director of Partnership Development. She has a long career in teaching early childhood and coaching teachers. She completed her dissertation in Social Emotional Learning and uses her expertise in the area to consult for local and regional school districts in Massachusetts. Social Emotional Learning or SEL has become an important part of our professional development and regular discourse around the current climate of education. How we connect with students and develop their SEL skills are an important part of the daily classroom experience and Dr. Cote provides us with some practical tools and reflections for meeting students’ and teachers’ needs.
What are the SEL skills that you want to develop in your students? Make a list.
How can you purposefully embed those skills throughout the school day?
Which of your own experiences can you share with students to develop SEL conversations?
What are some practical ways that you can involve families and the larger community to develop SEL skills in your classroom
What supports do you need from administration at your site? Make a list.
Whew! This last month has been… so many things but normal. As I’m sitting in my home office thinking about everything that has happened, I’m truly overwhelmed. Like many educators, I’m concerned about our families and their children. I’m worried about my teachers and how they are adjusting. I’m thinking about week 3 of our Continuous Learning Plan, when week 1 came out yesterday. I’m amazed by our SNS team who continues to serve more meals everyday and our instructional staff who handed out thousands of learning packets to families. This. This has truly been adjustment but I have seen the best in others and a community of people come together.
I had been planning an episode about advocacy for awhile. I had wanted to release it in February with the new legislative season occurring but life happened and it hit the list of things I was going to get to eventually. A few weeks ago Dr. April Grace, Shari Gateley, and I were reflecting on all that had been happening when Dr. Grace announced we should podcast about this and so we did. If you don’t know Dr. April Grace, she is the Superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools and you can find her on Twitter @ShawneeSup. Shari Gateley, currently an Assistant Principal at Irving Middle School in Norman and 2019 OK TOY Finalist, is also a parent to a PreK and K student, and you can find her on Twitter @ShariGateley.
Hope you enjoy our conversation and that you are staying safe and healthy!
For this episode of Passing Notes I interviewed recently retired educator, Kevin Lynch. Kevin is a former teacher, university professor, has provided support to teachers through grants across the state, and a former school administrator. I know Kevin because he was one of my teachers at East Central University. From the first day in his class I was amazed at his ability to create a culture of safety and acceptance where students felt comfortable to share their thoughts, ideas, hopes, and dreams about education. I of course had to visit with him about building culture as an educational leader.
What does culture look like in your current position? Where does growth or change need to occur?
What does your school community value? How are those values represented in the culture, mission, and vision of the school?
What are the subcultures at your school site? How do they impact the entire school?
How does your school culture impact your students’ success?
Who are the community stakeholders that are important to developing school culture?
What steps can you take to cultivate a strong, positive school culture?
For this episode of Passing Notes I interviewed Greg Frederick. Greg is the principal of the U.S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City Public Schools. In this role he and his staff have worked hard to develop a place where students can come learn, grow, explore their passions, and make connections.
What programs/partnerships do you currently have in your school?
What gaps do you see that need to be filled to support students in your school? How might partnerships help?
How does your school build community for your students?
What values/priorities does the staff at your school have that guide your decision making?
What plans do you have to create a stronger school community for your students?
For this episode of Passing Notes, in the Leadership Series, I visited with retired educator Pam Hibbs on building relationships. Pam Hibbs is the former Director of Early Childhood and my old boss in OKCPS. During her time with OKCPS she developed relationships with community partners, families, and students in order to build opportunities for families.
How do you build relationships with your students and parents?
How do you build relationships with partners to provide opportunities for your students?
How does your school engage the community/parents to participate in instruction?
What strategies do you use to encourage family participation?
What impact does engaging partners/families in the classroom have on instruction? Building community?
For this episode of Passing Notes I interviewed Principal of Shidler Elementary in Oklahoma City, Armando Ayala. Mr. Ayala is known for his ability to connect the community to his school, providing numerous resources and opportunities for his students and their families. Mr. Ayala shared with Passing Notes the importance of relationships and how to build a community.
What are the needs at your school that are not being met? What are the student needs?
Who are the community members or stakeholders that your school could be partnering with?
What steps do you need to take to connect with a partner to fill a need that is present in your school/classroom?
If currently connected to the community, what are your successes? Areas for growth?
This episode of Passing Notes is focused on how partners support education and instructional practices in the classroom! I interviewed members of OKC Midtown Rotary Club Laura Nauman, Emily Duncan, and Matt Murphy about the projects they have completed in partnership with a variety of schools across the metro and how educators can engage with them in the process.
OKC Midtown Rotary Club was chartered in 2009 with the goal of involving young professionals in in the service and ideals of Rotary International with a focus on Arts and Education in Oklahoma City. You can find out more information about OKC Midtown Rotary Club by visiting their Facebook page, Twitter, or their website.
What is a need in your classroom or school that could be fulfilled by connecting with a partner?
What is a major project that you would like to work on during this school year?
What organizations could you partner with to see this project completed?
What first steps do you need to take?
In what ways can you engage partners throughout the coming school year in your classroom?
Education Foundations, large and small, exist all over the nation to support schools and teachers with a focus on meeting school needs where gaps exist. OKCPS has an exceptional foundation that, like other foundations, is working to address many of the educational challenges that our district faces. I visited with Mary Mélon, who is the president of the OKCPS Foundation. You can find more information at their website www.okckids.com, on their Facebook page, or on Twitter.