Monthly Archives: October 2018

PMP:129 Why School Culture Matters – Interview with Heather Shaffery

This time of year, I’m on the road a lot visiting schools across my state.

Photo by Philippe Put – Creative Commons Attribution License https://www.flickr.com/photos/34547181@N00


As I drive across Oklahoma, trees and fields have been brushed with the red and orange hues of fall. Rivers are swollen with much needed rains. And you can feel the first hints of winter’s chill in the strong prairie winds. The change in weather also brings along a change in expectations too. Teachers and students are talking about fall break, Thanksgiving, and even Christmas.

Just as our physical environment influences our feelings and attitudes, our school cultures also affect they way we feel about school. And as I visit with school leaders, I am hearing a lot of conversations about the importance of their school culture. Building strong school culture is a tall order but one that more and more school leaders realize is the foundation for building a community of learning. Continue reading

PMP:128 Integrating Technology School-wide with Janalyn Taylor

How can schools integrate technology across all classrooms?

Photo by Patricia Prudente – Creative Commons No known copyright restrictions https://unsplash.com/@apsprudente?utm_source=haikudeck&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit


Janalyn Taylor, Principal of Nance Elementary in Clinton, Oklahoma, believes that school leaders must be willing to model learning and teaching with technology in order to see teachers and students embracing its innovative uses.

In a recent webinar conversation, Ms. Taylor explains how her school has embedded technology into learning, and how parents and community members are engaged with the lessons, activities, and products students are creating and sharing.

Janalyn Taylor is Oklahoma’s 2018 National Distinguished Principal.

She holds B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. She has spent the last 11 years of her 36-year career as principal of Nance Elementary School, a rural school serving a diverse population of pre-K through first grade students. With 83% of students participating in the free- and reduced-price meals program and 29% classified as English Language Learners, Taylor’s leadership is driven by a fierce commitment to equity and her ability to rally teachers and staff to ensure her vision is realized.

She will be recognized at the 2018 National Distinguished Principals Program Oct. 11 – 12, 2018 in Washington, D.C., To see her entire biography, visit the National Association of Elementary School Principal website list of National Distinguished Principals.

In our webinar conversation, she shares lessons for principals who want to integrate technologies for student-learning in every classroom. You can watch the webinar here, or listen to the podcast version of the presentation. Continue reading

PMP:Encore053 How Do You Respond Under Pressure?

When I was in high school and college, my brothers and I worked part-time diving for mussel shells in the Kentucky Lake area.

We would sell them by the pound at local markets, and those shells would in turn be sold to Japanese markets. Apparently, the pearly-white cuts from those shells are unique implants for growing cultured pearls in oysters.

One day I was climbing across the bottom of an area that was ten to twelve feet deep. The only sounds I could hear were the hissing breaths from my regulator. As I found shells, I placed them in a net-bag I had clipped to one side of my weight belt.

Because of low visibility, we didn’t swim with tanks on our backs. Instead my compressor, tank, and filtered line all connected to my boat. I was connected to a 50-foot air hose taped together with a 50-foot line of rope, and my regulator line was connected by a clip-on-hook to my weight belt at one end and attached to the boat and compressor at the other end. As I worked along an even stretch of clay and mud, I swept the surface with my hands while pulling the boat along with me.

Suddenly, I came up to a trotline. Continue reading