Friday, May 15, 2015

A Revisit on First of the Year Goals

I wrote in January about my hopes and dreams for the new year.  As the school year is coming to an end, I felt like it was time to reflect upon where I am with those goals. I am pretty excited about a couple of things that are on the horizon as a result of my goal setting.

So, as a review,  two personal, professional goals that I set for myself in January were:
1) Complete the application to become a Raise Your Hand Texas attendee at Harvard this summer.  I would like to attend the leadership sessions to increase my capacity to be a leader who helps others achieve goals.
This application is due January 18th, so check in on me with my progress towards this goal.  It has to be completed in one session, so if my door is closed this week, that is hopefully what I am working on finishing!

2)  Be selected as the inaugural group of principals who are selected to be a part of the Plano Principals Visioning Institute.  I quietly submitted my application in December, so I hope that I am approved and notified soon.  Your affirmations are welcomed as I wait it out!

So, goal number one was to apply and become an attendee in the Harvard series for principals:  The Art of Leadership.  I have read about this program for years, but the timing was not right to submit an application. Naturally, the year I apply, the application process changes!  I submitted my essay as the first step.  In late March (yes, it took that long for step 2!), I found out that I had been moved into the next round of the application process.  I had a critical thinking activity to attack online with an hour deadline from the moment I clicked the link.  I was only given a week window to complete that exercise, so I waited until I was alone at home to write without distraction.  I submitted and waited to see what would happen next.  In early April, I was invited to participate in rounds three and four of the application process:  a group collaboration activity to be observed in and scored, then a personal interview.  That round occurred on Saturday, April 18th.  I don't think I have been through a more thorough vetting out than this process.  With each step of the process, I knew that this opportunity would not only impact me professionally, but my school.  I really, really, wanted to be picked.  I tried to not get over anxious, as there were hundreds of applicants across the state and they were narrowing their focus to 50-75 to participate in several of the program offerings that Harvard has for principals in the summer.  I am still not sure how many were trying for the Art of Leadership program, but they did interview all over the state for two weeks for the final placement selections.  On Monday, May 11, 2015, I received my invitation to participate in the Art of Leadership at Harvard.  I am going to study AT HARVARD in June!!!  I am tremendously humbled and so excited for June 21st to get here.  Here's a link to the program that I am attending:  https://www.gse.harvard.edu/ppe/program/improving-schools-art-leadership   .

Goal number two for the year was to be selected as the inaugural group of principals to participate in my school district's Visioning Institute.  That invitation has also come forward and we've already held two meetings of the institute.  Currently, our work is focused upon developing our definition of organizational transformation.  I am helping refine the work of the group and we've just about landed on our final attempt on what we hope will drive the rest of our work together.  I have already made many new connections with principals across the district that I previously have not had the opportunity to talk with much less discuss such big philosophical ideas.  I am invigorated by the principals and district leaders that are a part of our group.  It is going to be an exciting time in our district for this group and the new superintendent taking the helm in July.

These two opportunities present a lot more need for reflection. I am really hoping that this will kick start, again, my blogging.  I find it very difficult to find quiet time to write without interruption.  That is one of the biggest challenges that I have to overcome.  I know that my future learning in the institute and at Harvard will need reflection, so I am again, putting this on the list of goals as I refine my goal list for the remainder of this calendar year.

As far as goals set for McCall through our SBIC; the jury is still out as far as that data goes.  We are in the midst of our end of the year testing as I type.  I have heard a lot of celebrations; in particular with a younger student that many of us were extremely concerned about and an older student who is meeting huge success in his last year with us.  I am very proud of all the teachers that have worked so hard to make growth in the children happen this year.  I am holding data meetings with all my teachers before they depart for the summer.  I cannot wait to hear their individual celebrations in the upcoming weeks.

What celebrations are you holding with your goals?