The Start of a New School Year 2016-17: Let’s Transform Public Education

Schools across the country have opened their front doors over the past few weeks to welcome its students back from a long, hot summer. Parents have checked & double checked school supply lists, communities & business have organized back-to-school drives, & students have meticulously picked out their back-to-school outfits. But even while the media would like to suggest that schools are miraculously prepared for the new school year in a twinkling of the eye, or society offers that confused grimace as they grapple with the understanding that yes, school principals do work in the summer, where are school leadership references in all of the back-to-school hubbub? Where are the Wal-Mart commercials depicting a school principal disaggregating EOG & EOY data while they peruse the aisles for the perfect 1.5 binders? Why doesn’t Staples create an ad featuring magnetic whiteboards as school leaders develop, edit, & revise the master schedules for the year ahead? And where are the McDonald’s jingles about the coffee that gets many a school leaders through the summer district leadership retreat?

In the wake of societal change, educational reform, & national elections it is time for us to begin painting a new portrait of the realities of public education that not only provide the masses with a trueaccurate depiction of public education, but we also must work to include the voices & lives of all those involved in the process. Back-to-school is an exciting time for millions of individuals across the United States, however the work & efforts that go into creating optimal learning environments & professional learning communities often goes unnoticed. As a school administrator, my goal is to help shed light on the process of not only opening the school year, but transforming a school as well. Last July, I was honored to be named principal at an elementary school in North Carolina. The process of transforming our school into one of the best places to work & learn has been exttremely rewarding, challenging, & intriguing & our team of esteemed educators is consistently striving toward the mark of excellence for our students.

For the 2016-17 school year, we chose IEJ Cinemas Presents… as our theme which will be infused into all facets of professional development, faculty meetings, & communication with our faculty & staff this year. In order to unveil our theme, we created a movie trailer highlighting the goals, vision, & mission for the 2016-17 school year (check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LN-_sxPe7M) & invited our team to our Academy Awards themed Opening Meeting. We even asked faculty & staff to dress up to compete for the Best Dressed Actress & Actor in an Educational Film to ramp up the excitement & engagement!

When faculty & staff arrived to the cafeteria, they had their photo taken by a professional photographer on the step and see & found their Hollywood star & swag bag at their seats. We opened the meeting by celebrating last year’s instructional accomplishments & grade level highlights as well a brief review of our NCTWC results from March. Following presentations from our Instructional Lead Team, we announced the best dressed actor, actress, & supporting roles before dismissing the faculty & staff into movie-themed sessions. From Freedom Writer, where our Instructional Facilitator laid out the reading & writing pilot for the year to Great Expectations, where administration discussed the handbook, evaluations, & discipline goals it was a wonderful morning spent arming our team with information to ensure that students were successful in the year ahead! Check out the newest video on my YouTube channel below for pictures & highlights from our IEJ Cinemas Presents…Opening Meeting 2016-17! 

On Friday, August 26 our district hosted its annual Convocation for all of our county’s school employees. Our school showed up with amazing school spirit donning our new school shirts (thanks PTO!) We danced our way into the auditorium & one of my teachers who is a Hula-fit instructor, wowed the crowd with her awesome hula hoop tricks in time with the music! As the festivities began, the finalists for the Principal of the Year were asked to stand to be recognized. Our superintendent then called one of our school’s former 5th graders to the stage. Through tears & joy, I listened to this young man share his educational journey & highlight his last year at our school. He recounted the mornings I stood greeting each student as they walked through the door, the days working with students to develop their quarterly goals, & even my driving to see our students compete in their recreational sporting events. As he spoke the words, “I want to congratulate Dr. Hemphill on being the 2016-17 Principal of the Year” I was met with screams, squeals, hugs, & love from the best school family in the world! There is absolutely no way that we would have accomplished such growth for our children without their willingness to try something new. There is absolutely no way that we could have created a brand new culture & established positive morale without their flexibility, patience, & out-of-the crayon-box thinking. And there is absolutely no way that I would be Principal of the Year without the BEST SCHOOL FAMILY OF THE YEAR! I am grateful. I am humbled. And I am honored.

The 2016-17 school year is going to be phenomenal for our students, our educators, & our community because we now understand the power of change. Let’s commit to revolutionizing education one school at a time. Let’s change the perception of public education across our hometowns, our state, & our nation. Let’s shatter some molds when it comes to doing what is good for the students who are sitting in our classrooms today. I hope my educational moldmakers will join us on this journey!

Advertisements

“Leadership in Education Influencing Every Generation” featuring Dr. Mary Hemphill

“Education is about not forgetting that you are seriously affecting the trajectory of a child’s life.” – Dr. Mary Hemphill

wp-1466603745924.jpg

It is with great pleasure that I share my newly released podcast “Leadership in Education Influencing Every Generation” with Motivational Millennials, Ivy LaClair & Blake Brandes! This was such a powerful project, & it was amazing to connect & share on such a positive platform. I hope you enjoy, moldmakers!

Click here to listen to the podcast – (Ep. 5) Leadership in Education Influencing Every Generation with Dr. Mary Hemphill

Moldmaker Summer 2016 Reading List

wp-1466265727452.jpg

Moldmakers, feeding your mind & soul with purposeful information is just as important as feeding your body with healthy food. This summer I am committed to reading these four titles to gain more insight, more direction, & more wisdom for this year’s journey.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Sir Ken Robinson

Jesus Entrepreneur by Laurie Beth Jones

If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities by Mark Batterson

Who Asked You? by Terry McMillan

Stay tuned for updates & reflections throughout the summer. I’m excited about these new reads!

The Journey Continues Scholar Vlog – March/April/May 2016

The past three months have been hectic, amazing, & challenging. I have had the opportunity to spend time with family & friends,  celebrate special moments with loved ones, & embrace new opportunities that challenge me personally & professionally. Thank you for joining me on this scholarly journey!

Motivational Millennials Podcast Coming Soon!

Moldmakers, we could not be more excited about the upcoming Motivational Millennial podcasts featuring some amazing millennials doing amazing things in their fields. The Scholar Vlogger is blessed & honored to be featured as well, so stay tuned! Check out Motivational Millennials founded by Ivy LaClair & Blake Brandes here: https://www.facebook.com/MotivationalMillennial/?fref=ts‪#‎millennails‬ ‪#‎inspiration‬ ‪#‎education‬‪#‎motivation‬ ‪#‎focus‬ ‪#‎purpose‬ ‪#‎passion‬ ‪#‎vision‬ ‪#‎moldmakers‬‪#‎scholarvlogger‬13241336_504621346387979_2215589964766017114_n.jpg

New Leaders on the Block: Why Teacher Leadership and Shared Vision are Vital to North Carolina Schools

This week is off to an AMAZING start with the publication of my white paper entitled “The New Leaders on the Block: Why Teacher Leadership & Shared Vision are Vital to NC Schools” by Education NC! Teacher leadership is the key to transformation in our schools, & I am proud to share a few ways to help school & district leaders cultivate teacher leadership & shared vision in NC Schools! ‪#‎proudprincipal‬ ‪#‎publicedu‬ ‪#‎EDNC‬ ‪#‎education‬ ‪#‎motivation‬‪#‎moldmaker‬ ‪#‎scholarvlogger‬

New Leaders on the Block: Why Teacher Leadership & Shared Vision are Vital to NC Schools

#BeingFearless Challenge |Motivation

Moldmakers, the #BeingFearless challenge is on for the month of April, & I am challenging you to be fearless in your thoughts, actions, & your words. Let’s stop being fearful & allowing fear to consume our thoughts, & let’s start being fearless today!

A Month of Celebration! (Scholar Vlog – February 2016)

This was truly a month of celebration from having the opportunity to witness my amazing mentee, Jessica celebrate her many accomplishments through the Tomorrow Fund to keynoting the Black History Month program at a local church. Thank you for joining me on this scholarly journey!

A Month of Celebrations! Scholar Vlog – February 2016

One Year of Moldmaking

Be inspired. Educate yourself. Motivate others. – The Scholar Vlogger

e529017a442705313c2df659fc2bcb49One year ago, I posted my first video on YouTube & thus began my journey as the Scholar Vlogger. I purposed myself to lead a social media project that cultivated moldmakers through inspiration, education, & motivation. I called out to individuals from all walks of life in healthcare, public education, non-profit, & the private sector to fervently seek their passions & fulfill their purpose. Throughout this endeavor, I have learned a lot about myself, people, & the overall human condition. People are in desperate need of belonging to something greater than themselves. No matter the impact of the cause, people want to belong – to a group of friends, loved ones, online communities, their colleagues, & the list goes on & on. I have found, however, that defining oneself as a “moldmaker” oftentimes can you leave you outside of this belonging. Being a moldmaker, forces you to shatter society’s definition of “normal” & step into undefined, undiscovered, & uneven territory – alone.

 

“It’s easy to stand with the crowd. It takes courage to stand alone.” The beauty of moldmaking is that while you may start out alone, but you end up with a community of like-minded, grateful individuals who are willing to stand beside you for a greater cause. When I started my YouTube channel, I spent hours watching famous YouTubers with ten thousand, one hundred thousand & even a million subscribers! I observed their intros, their lighting, the way they edited their videos, & even took time to read the comments from their faithful fans. From natural hair gurus to makeup artists & DIYers to yoga enthusiasts, all of these individuals had one thing in common – they were making videos about the thing they were most passionate & knowledgeable about. That is when it hit me. Although my videos about inspiration, education, & motivation were all things that I was deeply passionate about, I was not making videos about the one thing I am the most knowledgeable about – being a school leader!

It does take courage to stand alone, but public education needs a revolution, a makeover, a rebranding of sorts. I am a moldmaker in the field of education, & this year I am rededicating myself to be a champion for public education. Society’s perception of the current education system is skewed & unrealistic. If more people were knowledgeable about the needs of our students, our teachers, & our school leaders then authentic change could begin. Also the perception of public educators needs a major facelift. We are not all jean-jumper-wearing, white-Ked-rocking, apples-for-button-covers individuals with little to no personalities as the media would have most to believe. We are a cornucopia of talented, passionate, unique, stylish, & innovative people who pledge to educate our youth. It is time to begin a rebranding campaign for education & for moldmakers.

This year, I pledge to bring more moldmakers to the forefront; to connect more people with their passion & purpose; to fervently seek my own intellectual, spiritual, & emotional pursuits; & to not only start the revolution in public education, but be the revolution as well. Here’s to another year of shattering molds & making our own!

The Scholar Vlogger

 

Distracting Myself from Me

image

There are moments in our life when the hustle & bustle of real life pauses…when there are no incoming call or text messages…when there are no pressing deadlines or projects due. It is in those moments that you find yourself alone with yourself. What do you do when you are alone with your thoughts? What internal conversations do you hold in your own mind? How do you turn down the volume to your innermost murmurings & dial up the volume on your deepest conscience?

For many of us, simply finding the time to breathe is a small victory. However, when you are able to glean quality time with yourself, you might find that your mind begins to hold a myriad of conversations on the stage of your brain. If you are like me, your mind wanders around to and fro tap dancing on every imaginable topic from career to family, what-ifs, why-didn’t-Is, and if-only-I-coulds. The beauty in this moment is that as the only living expert on you, it should be easy to control these conversations right? Wrong! The mind, unlike other parts of your body, consists of trillions of mental files on millions of different topics, experiences, and perspectives you have gleaned in your life’s journey. Put all of those combinations together, and your mind could literally wander for trillions of miles!

Moldmakers not only think outside the box, their minds wander outside the box as well. Learning to mentally control your cerebal pathways allows you to discover new ways of thinking about old concepts. But what happens when you cannot control your mind & you try to “turn it off?” What happens when you try to distract yourself from you?

Jessica Perianza found herself in this very situation recently. She is a vibrant & intelligent moldmaker & college student who is spending the summer immersed in the heart of academia. She has been afforded the opportunity to live in Cambridge, MA & work at the Avery Dennison headquarters in Westborough as a project management intern for the summer. Over the past few weeks, Jessica has been following her dreams & surprisingly found herself alone with herself. Below she gives us a detailed & intimate glimpse into her mental journey & what she found when she looked within…

Undergrad has been a gateway to growing as a professional, engineer, & leader in my community. At any given time I’m either at a meeting, class, volunteer event, or just spending my bits of free time with friends. Being alone in a completely new environment was an experience I had sought out for as long as I can remember. I envisioned a fresh, clean canvas where new friends would be made, delicious food would be consumed, and alone-time would be enjoyed. Surprisingly, it’s not the party I thought it would be…granted I have met wonderful people & I have eaten enough to feed an army. For the first time in my young adult life I have the ability to ask: what does Jessica want to do today? When? Where? How? With who? Turns out, Jessica has difficulty answering that simple question when structure is the one thing lacking, & so begins the cycle of figuring that out, sometimes for hours, which ends in frustration and often ice cream to repair the damage.

What’s one of the first things a friend will advise when you’re having a rough day? It often begins with, “Why not find something to distract yourself?”

Ah! That’s just it! I should not have to distract myself from …myself! My mind should be my safe haven from the craziness of the world and not the one thing that leaves me wondering if I fit the description for a lunatic. It’s easy nowadays to distract ourselves & avoid spending time alone. To blanket unwanted thoughts or empty gaps of time with short rushes of euphoria obtained from food, exercise, other people, or sleep. No appointments are made to enjoy the silence within us. So now that I find myself with a 3 month long stay with my mind… I have the knee jerk reaction of rescheduling with concerts, trips, and (you guessed it) food. Don’t get me wrong, it’s healthy to enjoy the pleasures of travel. I just don’t want it to be what I do to hide from me. I want to be able to close my eyes & be filled with endless amounts of peace which is something I feel eerily confident about being able to achieve. I may not be there, and I may not have a direct roadmap to it, but I have the alone time I so often asked for, and two more months to take a few steps closer to finding that peace within me.