We ALL Have to Keep Working!

  via sheknows.com Today I read another article talking about inequality in education for poor American children. This time the article is from the Daily Herald and addresses Poor Suburban Schools. How do we get more success stories at poor suburban schools? Every time I read one of these, whether it be about Urban, Suburban, or my sentimental favorite… Rural Schools…it just makes me feel like I took a giant punch in the stomach. I immediately ask myself, “How is this possible?”  Yes…the story gives examples of successes, but focuses on America’s lack of ability to sustain success across the…

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The Meaning of Our Words

How many times have we been involved in a great experience only to have the excitement of the accomplishment diminished by negative words? I can remember so many times in my life when I was floating on an emotional high with excitement because of an accomplishment or happy event only to be brought down by these words: “but…you should have” or “but why didn’t you…” It seems like second-guessing each other and destroying one-another’s happiness is almost a spectator sport anymore. I have been making a conscious effort throughout the past year to NOT do this to others. I consider…

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5 Tips For Making the MOST of the Last Month of School

May is here & the 2014-2015 school year is winding down. Often times students and educators alike do a “countdown” to the last day of school…I, on the other hand, have already started my countdown to the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year! Here are some tips I use to make the most of the last month of school: 1)   Continue Routines- Teaching & Learning routines must continue with as much intensity as they have throughout the entire year. Students need to understand we as educators value everyday we have them in our classrooms/schools…whether it is day 1 or day…

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It Takes Us All…

SPHS Crew Headed to Digital Learning Day Live!Kenena Pelfrey, Lendy Eaton, Daisy Dyer Duerr March has been a blur at St. Paul Schools. A REALLY AWESOME BLUR! There have been days when I have looked at some of my faculty members and said, “Is this really happening?!!!” and then we squealed with joy…because YES…it’s really happening! I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some ‘backstory’ to the excitement that has occurred in our school/community during March 2015. BACKSTORY To sum things up in very simple terms; in August 2011, St. Paul Schools was failing. We weren’t meeting state performance indicators…

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What If…

This past week I had the opportunity to do an interview about our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program at our school. After explaining how it started, the interviewer asked me “THE QUESTION” “WHAT IF THE STUDENTS ARE DOING SOMETHING OTHER THAN ‘WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO’ ON THEIR DEVICES?”   Image via iamgarcade.com I respected the interviewer and this was actually a case where I was on camera…so I gathered myself; very professionally and politely I replied with: “Not only could that happen, that will happen; So what?” I then went into what I’m sure was an overly…

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“Oh My”…Our Stories Make a Difference!

          Thursday, December 11 I was in Washington, DC to speak to the FCC.  This was the meeting where they would be voting on the Erate expansion…some have called it Erate 2.0.  YES, you read right…the ‘powers that be’ decided to let this Sweet Southern Belle step into the Federal Communications Commission open meeting, with a place on the agenda &…a Microphone!!! This proves something I’ve always believed; “Southern Charm” is in fact real and it is also very effective.          To be completely serious, when I was told about the possibility of being chosen for…

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Why Chairman Wheeler is about to become a Rural Education ‘Folk Hero’

Do you know what E-Rate is? If you don’t and you are an educational leader, educator, or parent….get educated! Here is a link to the basics of E-Rate (2014): http://www.slideshare.net/nebraskaccess/erate-basic-training-for-funding-year-2014 Major changes look to be coming in the upcoming weeks regarding E-Rate: These changes proposed by Chairman Wheeler will hopefully be adopted within the next few weeks and E-Rate as we have known it, in my opinion will CHANGE THE FACE OF RURAL EDUCATION! WoW! Think about that…one man, Chairman Wheeler, one huge decision by our FCC…can completely change the landscape of rural education in America. BUT DON’T GET ME…

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Making ‘Rural’ Relevant

Relevant [rel–uh-vuh nt] adjective 1. bearing upon or connected with the matter inhand; pertinent: Rural [roo r–uh l] adjective 1.of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the country,country life, or country people; rustic: rural tranquillity. 2.living in the country: the rural population. 3.of or pertaining to agriculture: rural economy. noun 4.a person who lives in a rural area. What does being a ‘Rural Educator’ mean to me? I left the 2014 National Rural Education Association Convention a few weeks ago, honored to have been a closing Keynote speaker. In the three days at the Convention I heard many different rural educators from all different locales & education professions. There were University professors whose research revolved around rural American schools, teachers illustrating practices from high performing rural schools, and administrators discussing different strategies they use to make their rural schools successful.   To…

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I Was Born in a Small Town…

I was born in a small town; well…actually I wasn’t.  Where my parents’ lived and I grew up is extremely rural and the nearest town (25 minutes away & where I graduated High School) was too small for a hospital. So actually I was “Born in a City” about an hour and a half from my home.  I was only there 24 hours; then it was off to the country for me! Over the past four weeks of the new school year I have had a renewed appreciation of life in small town America & in small, rural schools. I…

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Office Redesign: Take Back Your Space!

I feel so confined “behind” a traditional desk in my Principal’s office. As a general rule I don’t like to be still for long, and as an administrator if you are spending a lot of time in your office behind your desk it’s hard to be very effective; in my opinion! ;0) I’ve been tinkering with ways I could redesign my office at St. Paul High School; I am looking to do 3 separate things 1) Provide multiple functional areas for working, learning , & conferencing 2) Be more attractive to visitors (students, teachers/staff, parents, community) & myself  3) Provide…

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