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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hiring Season

At NFV this year we have 11 teacher positions to fill.  Due to the TLC creating 4 new positions for Teacher Leadership Roles (TLC), retirements and resignations, we got involved in hiring early, and I am glad we did.  The quality of applicants we found and have been able to interview thus far has been phenomenal.

All of these bright young (or experienced) minds challenge us to think deeply about 3 questions; Why we do what we do,  what skills do we really want from a new employee, and who is most likely to fill our specific expectations?   When we get 2, 3 or 4 excellent educators who want to work at NFV I am thrilled that we have to make a very tough decision.  So lets consider my three questions:

Why do we do what we do?  It personal, its local to NFV and our schools' direction and Core Values.  These values are considered for all of our decisions.  When it comes to hiring they lay the foundation for the characteristics we want from our future employees.  We are hiring assuming someone will be here for the duration and so we consider it a potential 30 year decision.

What do we really want from a new employee?  This is job specific, its a definition of  of what job we need filled, which credentials, experiences and skills are necessary to do this job well?  Credentials are the easy part, screen for the licenses and endorsements required for the position and consider additional credentials
that may add value to our district in the future.

Who is most likely to to fill our specific expectations?  This

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Personalizing Learning

Personalized Learning is becoming an ubiquitous focus in our education settings.  After all we are entering into an era of personalized consumption.  We can shop at thousands of stores through our keyboard, scan and compare 13 versions of that next new thing, be it a cell phone, shoes, golf clubs or even journalists.  I can sit here are read the New York Times as easily as I can the Des Moines Register or the Union.

We have lots of choices in our lives that allow us to buy and consume exactly what we want.  We can all be unique, just like everyone else.  (At one point early in my administrative career that's how a MS principal defined what teenagers want to be.)  But what does it mean to have Personalized Learning?   In an EdWeek article they determine some characteristics of personalization, and its defined best by Susan D. Patrick of iNACOL
Personalized learning in today's schools essentially amounts to the "differentiation" of lessons for students of different skill levels, or efforts to help students move at their own pace. . . and that  personalized learning must also promote "student agency"—basically, giving students more power through either digital tools or other means, accounting for how they learn best, what motivates them, and their academic goals.
 With all the online resources available today, students have a myriad of learning resources to help them navigate their desired path.  As NFV is preparing for a new school year,