Education is the Key

(318/365) American Education Week

"Education is the key to success in life and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of students." - Solomon Ortiz


“Opening the door to each child’s future.” - The Pewaukee School District

Wooden Boats

August 18, 2018 (230/365)

"Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy; Easy, you know the way it's supposed to be..."

- Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

The X Factor

July 28, 2018 (209/365) • ILYA X Championship Regatta hosted by the Pewaukee Yacht Club

"Sailing a boat calls for quick action, a blending of feeling with the wind and water as well as with the very heart and soul of the boat itself. Sailing teaches alertness and courage, and gives in return a joyousness and peace that but few sports afford." - George Matthew Adams

Little Bits of Good

March 15, 2018 (074/365)

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world."

- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The day after our schools were closed due to a security threat, students' lockers display little bits of good.


December 18, 2017 (351/365) “Sleep is good and books are better.” - George R.R. Martin

And I intend to enjoy plenty of both over winter break. But first, here's a look back at the books I read in 2017. What did you read this year? What are you looking forward to reading?

  • Book Goal: Initially 20, but reset to 30 in August

  • Books Read: 30

  • Books Set in/About Paris: 12

  • Books Borrowed from the Library: 19

  • Favorite Book(s): All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and, of course, Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  • Least Favorite(s): Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and the work-related books

  • Longest Book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (531 pages)

  • Shortest Book: I'd Rather Be Reading by Guinevere de la Mar (96 pages)

  • Funniest Book: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Tools of the Trade

November 13, 2017 (317/365)

"Opening the door to each child's future." - Mission of the Pewaukee School District

Steve Jobs famously stated, "Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them." And so I begin another week of helping to provide tools to the very good and very smart colleagues with whom I work, so that together we can "open the door to each child's future." 

Bacon's Back!

October 11, 2017 (285/365)

"The things that make me different are the things that make me." - Piglet, Winnie the Pooh

You know it's going to be a good day when it starts with a pig in a pumpkin! Welcome back to PHS, Bacon

🐷 + 🎃 = 💛

Back to the Drawing Board

August 28, 2017 (240/365)

This morning as faculty and staff gathered to begin the 2017-2018 school year, we watched Most Likely to Succeed, a documentary "examining education in America and inspiring school communities to re-imagine what students and teachers are capable of doing" (IMDb). The film explores the challenge of providing students with the tools to be successful in the 21st Century and beyond. The Pewaukee School District has identified Personalized Learning Guiding Principles "to create an environment that supports and challenges students on their individual pathways towards maximizing their knowledge and skills based on individual interest, motivation, and readiness." These principles include standards-based instruction and assessment, focusing on higher order thinking and student agency, authentic and relevant learning experiences that are digitally rich and tech-infused, and flexible learning spaces and structures.

As I begin my twenty-fourth year in the Pewaukee School District and my fifth year as an instructional coach, I have been reflecting on the idea of iteration. Merriam-Webster defines iteration as "a process of iterating or repeating, such as a procedure in which repetition of a sequence of operations yields results successively closer to a desired result or the repetition of a sequence of instructions until a condition is met." Each new school year, each new day, each new lesson is an iteration, an opportunity to get closer to our desired result -- the District's mission to "Opening the Door to Each Child's Future." 

At the end of each academic year we gather again to celebrate our successes. Yet, as school begins again in the fall, we also examine what we could do differently to prepare students to be successful beyond our doors. An iteration isn't merely a do-over of what's been done before. It requires thoughtful reflection, critical evaluation, and a spirit of innovation to create a new, even better version of the learning experiences that we provide. Iteration also requires perseverance; to use educational buzzwords, iteration requires a growth mindset and grit. As I watched Most Likely to Succeed, I was most impressed by Brian and the High Tech High educators who worked with him. Despite a lot of hard work, time, and determination, Brian's project was not ready for the showcase at the end of the school year. While the other students reflected on their successes, Brian and his teachers continued to work well into the summer until he finally met his goal. What an authentic, lasting lesson for both students and educators! 

Learning should not be confined within the walls of an institution. It isn't time-bound or even summative. So, it is with determination and excitement that I begin yet another iteration -- another attempt at helping teachers leverage technology to maximize student engagement and achievement, another opportunity to make mistakes, to learn from successes as well as failures, to grow as an educator and a person. This is my WHY!

Summer Reading

May 31, 2017 (152/365)

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." - Cicero, To Varro, Ad Familiares IX, 4

In the 1st century BC, Cicero wrote, "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." Over two thousand years later, even in our high-tech society, these essentials still ring true for me. I don't have any big plans this summer. I'm simply content spending time outside, losing myself in a good book. This year's Pewaukee High School summer reading list is shorter, yet there's something for everyone. What are you reading this summer?

A Pirate Looks at Fifty

March 6, 2017 (065/365)

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.” - Walt Disney

My week in Paris was priceless. I treasured the time, the experiences, the beauty, the memories. One of my favorite moments was spent on Saturday afternoon watching the children sail little boats in the grand basin of the Luxembourg Gardens. Today, I must return to port, but I continue to have a trove of books, knowledge, ideas, friendships, and experiences ahead of me as this Pewaukee Pirate looks at fifty.