A Principal’s First Steps

Jen 1Following the DEN Summer Institute Principal Summit, I had the privilege of connecting with several of our attendees  to discuss their goals for their individual sites and district. Jennifer Bourgeois, principal of West Orange Elementary in Orange Unified School District, wanted to brainstorm ways she can help bring awareness to other principals of Discovery Education’s resources and the DEN community.  Here’s the first step in her journey.

From the Desk of Jennifer Bourgeois:

Upon returning from the Summer Principal’s Institute, I was inspired to go out and share what I had learned with my colleagues back in my district. As an instructional leader, I had to remember, just like our students, we have schools that are in different places in this digital literacy transformation journey. I wanted to make sure the order and information I shared was going to support their efforts on this journey. I was able to collaborate with Jannita and develop a three-part series on how to help other principals learn about and experience what potential Discovery Education could have on their campuses. In addition to the three-part series, we are forming our own cohort of principals in our district interested in collaborating about digital integration. My DENmazing supervisor approved the ideas I presented. I was super excited and couldn’t wait to share!

The hardest part was determining what to present, what order and overall how much information to give at one time to support and inspire the other principals. I knew the first part needed to be the “why.” I wanted the group to really understand why they should bring this information back to their sites and help their teachers see Discovery Education as a tool and community to help them improve teaching and learning.

At my first event, I used Kahoot, a tool I learned at the summer institute. After each question, we discussed the implications of the research and set the stage of what we can leverage in this technology age to engage our students. I followed this with the S.O.S., to give them simple examples of how their educators can get started. I listened to my colleagues talk about how and why they might see these strategies used in their school. As our time came to a close, I was able to show them briefly how to begin navigating through the website, in particular using the “blank” search to point out the extra ordinary number of media files available to their teachers. At the end of the meeting I challenged my colleagues to find a way to share the Spotlight on Strategies (S.O.S.) with their teachers and to introduce Digital Integration. When they return in for the second part of the series, they will be sharing their stories on how they have been able to bring this information back to their schools.

The most valuable part of going through this activity has been the opportunity to talk with colleagues about what they are doing and learn from each other. I am looking forward to working with cohort of principals and connecting them with the other principals I met at the Principal Summit.

I was able to pop in and watch Jennifer in action. The way in which she guided her colleagues through the activities and engaged them in rich dynamic conversations of the implications of this information to their school sites, teachers, and students was stellar.  She gave me the biggest smile when she pulled out her folder from the summer institute.  Just reminded me the importance of staying connected and filling each others notebooks (and minds) with resources and strategies that we can carry with us.   Looking forward to hearing more about Jennifer’s journey throughout the year!



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