Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Professional Development Money Needed for a Small School

I havenʻt written anything in awhile but here goes!  Last school year, things were a bit chaotic but this year things seem to be falling in place for us!

We are a small school consisting of 74 students in grades PreK-6. We are Title 1 school.   93% of our schoolʻs budget goes towards paying for school personnel.  I write numerous grants throughout the school year and try to establish community partnerships.  We may not have a lot but we try to give our students the best!  We are a 1:1 school where students in Grades K-1 have access to ipads during the school day and students in Grades 2-6 have access to chromebooks.  This school year, we have written grants for students to have opportunities to participate in taiko drumming and work with an artist.  We also were awarded a Legacy grant to help us makeover our library to a makerspace for our students!  (We are willing to partner with organizations to test out materials!  So far we have a ozobot, ollie, Dash & Dot, and more!  We would love a 3D printer!)

If I could only win the lottery, my money worries would all be over and I wouldnʻt have to worry about finding money to sustain school initiatives and travel to mainland conferences for the summer! However, I probably wonʻt win the lottery so I have to settle for trying to find money all over the place!

If you are reading my blog, do you know of any resources where I can find "free money" to take a school team traveling to two summer conferences?  I REALLY want to send a school team to the following training this summer:

  • Annual Visible Learning Conference - July 9-12, 2017 (2 school staff)
  • Safe & Civil Schools National Conference - July 16-20, 2017 (5 school staff)

Do you know of any resources out there to help us make this a reality?  These conferences are vital to our school improvement process and will help to continue to address the academic, social and emotional learning of our students!  Our students deserve the very BEST!  Help us participate in summer professional development this summer!  Send me a message or comment with resources for me to follow up!  #waiaholees #smallschoolbigheart #VLConference #Safe&CivilSchools #PBIS #5Rs #passionateschoolleader

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dash Robot

We are looking to purchase a few Dash robots for our MakerSpace!  From now until the end of March, there is a $50 discount which is limited to the first 1,000.  The redemption code is CODE1389M*  I'm hoping someone out there can grant this wish to Waiahole Elementary School!  Help our students learn about coding!    

Planning for SY 2016-2017

It has been awhile since my last post!  This school year has been really busy and seems to be going by really quickly!  I thought I would be able to keep up with my blog but it hasn't been easy!  A year and 2 months on the job and I can't say that the job has gotten any easier! We haven't even finished this school year and the academic plan for school year 2016-2017 was already submitted!  I want to say I have a better understanding of the process and how it works but it is a complicated process!  I get that data drives everything!  We are inundated with so much data!  It is hard to digest all the data and make sure that what we do on a day-to-day basis is what is truly best for our students!  As a small school, we are still trying to make sure that we are collecting and reviewing data that will show progress.  So while the plan is submitted and we are waiting to hear if we will get any additional funding, planning for next school year continues!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

One Year as a Principal

As of December 1, I celebrated one year as a principal!  I can't believe how quickly one year goes by!  It has definitely been an interesting ride!  I still don't feel like I have my "feet beneath me!"  All I can do is take one day at a time!  Being at a small school has been a challenge all in itself!  I need to be creative and "think outside the box" when it comes to funding positions and finding alternate means of funding so that we can provide our students with opportunities!  I try to celebrate the successes not matter how small they are!  So here's to another year!  

Opening of Our MakerSpace

We finally got to open our MakerSpace!  Our MakerSpace is a work in progress!  It was awesome to get to see how excited the students were about the space!    I am still hoping for some donations or that I will find some grant money to purchase a couple more wish list items! 

Here are some pictures of our MakerSpace:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Planning for SY 2016-2017

It has been awhile since I last posted!Balance seems to be the word of the year for me! This year has definitely been an overwhelming year for me!  I'm trying to remind myself that I can't fix everything and we definitely can't do everything!  At some point, something will have to give!  I've also been reminding myself that we need to go "slow to go fast!"  This year will be about laying the foundation!

This school year seems crazier than last year!  The pace is going to pick up even more if that is possible!  I haven't quite figured out how to start planning for next school year when we are still carrying out our academic plan for this school year but we have our deadlines to submit our plans (financial and academic) for next school year!  We are such a small school (102 students, 9 classroom teachers, 1 Counselor/SSC) that the process for planing for next year begins with applying for supplemental funds.  Of course, the application was sent to me this week and is due next week so it is a quick turnaround!  I believe in being transparent as a leader so I took sometime to explain how much funding we are getting next school year. Can you believe that 93% of our base funding (weighted student formula) goes towards paying for personnel?  This is a blog post for a later date!  The remainder (if you can call it that) goes toward operational expenses which is not a whole lot of money!  I am really looking for grant opportunities, donations and partnerships!  We are a small school with a big heart and we do what we do for our students!  Stay tuned as I blog about planning for next school year and other first year principal issues!  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


(Picture taken from wetnachee.org)

Have you ever had one of those weeks where everything seemed overwhelming and frustrating?  As a new principal of a small school, it has been challenging to keep and find balance between work and my personal life!  I feel like I'm always planning for professional development opportunities, meetings, substitute days or I'm always writing progress reports, agendas, applications and more! (I don't have a Curriculum Coordinator or Academic Coach or a Vice Principal.) 

Last week, we got our StriveHI report (showing our state assessment scores based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment).  I thought I had a plan at the beginning of the school year until I saw our scores!  After reviewing our scores, I was at a complete lost as to what direction we needed to head in order to show improvement in our test scores. Talk about frustration but today is a brand new day filled with new learning opportunities and I'm committed to finding my balance between work and my personal life!  

I would love to hear from other administrators how you ensure that you find balance between school and your personal life!