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Where is this ship headed?

The message has been communicated clearly – ISD 191 staff want to know where we’re headed.  Do you blame them?  Doesn’t everyone want that? 

I have shared a few of my thoughts regarding where we are headed in two recent posts, “Teaching and Leading is Tough Business” and “Anyone for the KISS Approach,”  yet I believe that I need to do more to be transparent and communicate what is being discussed in the many forums of a large district.  In particular, we are currently in the process of redrafting an integration plan, a Q-Comp plan, and a 2011-12 PD plan, and the conversations are necessarily intertwined.  To the goal of being more transparent, let me share a bit more…  Read more »


Questioning the power of web 2.0?

I frequently have conversations with people who are unaware or unwilling to recognize the earth shattering power of web 2.0.  150 years of industrial era living has led many people to believe that the rhythms of this time period will simply continue on forever and deep, fundamental changes in how people think, act, and behave is simply unrealistic.  If this describes you, turn on your television or look up your favorite news site today.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Education on the move…

This Ted Talks video caught my attention today as I was preparing for a presentation to our local Rotary organization.  I ran acrossed it on the Future of Education blog in a post called “Collective Impact.”  The premise of the presentation lines up with the concepts outlined in the 2020 Forcast and the development of networked learning grids that provide students with many learning opportunities within the greater community.  It’s a fascinating take on how public education may be on the move out of brick and mortar buildings and into the communities we serve…  Read more »


Takin’ it to them

Just thinking out loud in this post…  MN compulsory attendance statute requires students to be in school.  Statute also aligns with the archaic practice of seat time for academic credit – unless your a fancy dancy online provider of education.  Wrestling with these realities, I’m intrigued by the concept of a “learning grid” that I first ran across in the 2020 Forecast published by the Knowledge Works Foundation (under “platforms for resilience”).  The forecast calls for each learner to work with a “personal education advisor” who helps him/her access multiple venues for content and learning activities.  Learners learn to navigate a learning grid of resources, weaving together experiences, opportunities, and meaningful work that ultimately requires the demonstration of mastery of the articulated district standards.  Read more »


Honored to make the list!

Today I was honored to learn that this blog was included in a list of the Top 100 School Administrator Blogs posted by Alexis Brett of  This list of bloggers is impressive, and I am truly humbled by the level of courageous discourse modeled by these leaders.  Most of the blogs identified are part of my reader file and like most of the other writers would argue, I have learned far more from the ongoing professional dialogue than from any course or book.  I hope 2011 allows me the opportunity to bless others with a few thoughts as much as I have been blessed by reading the thoughts of other leaders!

"Principal Thoughts" is listed near the bottom under the "Superintendents" section. 

 100 blogs



Future of schools?

Check out this slide presentation regarding the future of education by Ira Socol on his blog SpeEd Change.  I appreciate the historical look and the nuts and bolts talk about how to do things differently.  Thoughts??

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Anyone for the KISS approach?

Just before winter break I asked all of the principals in ISD191 to read Learning By Doing by DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, and Many and to participate in a two month conversation about what it says and how to best apply the framework in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district.  I have heard a great deal this fall about the work of PLCs and the intense professional development taking place.  Indeed, teachers are working very hard to learn about differentiating instruction, literacy interventions, developing Response to Intervention practices in our elementary sites, and how to be more culturally responsive in our practices.  Hard work is happening.  Learning is happening.  Unfortunately, practices true to being a real PLC are largely absent – thus the book study with principals.  This is not a blaming statement.  It’s an observation regarding where this organization is at in the journey to being a PLC and a decision about how to direct our work to accelerate our progress in that direction.  Indeed ISD191 will be a PLC, and I am prepared to change structures and variables as necessary to get that done.  Read more »