Along with that, I was always the kind of person who strongly believed that great things were happening in schools everyday and those needed to be celebrated. I would say to my staff, "if we don't tell our story, somebody else will." So why not find all the great things kids were doing and recognize them? I would get them to give me things about kids that I could send letters home about, celebrate at assemblies or just congratulate a child about one-on-one. Then one day, I came across a post from Principal Chris Wejr on the Kent Elementary Facebook Page called "10 Good Things Happening At Kent" and something clicked. Using the blog format to celebrate what was happening at our school seemed like a great way to share with the entire community how amazing West Langley was. And so our weekly 5 Things To ROAR About was born.
1. Parents were given the opportunity to really see what learning looks like in our school. So many of our parents work during the day and sometimes the only perspective they get on what happens is around the dinner table. The blog has given us the chance to celebrate what positive, successful learning looks like. We have been able to inadvertently educate our community about "the system" and now we now have much deeper conversations about what we are doing well and how we can improve.
2. It creates a "pedagogical narration" for West Langley. Now I have to admit, when a colleague first used that phrase in a conversation we had a few months ago, it totally confused me. But the more I dissected that expression, the more sense it made. The 5 Things To ROAR About had created our story. Our digital footprint will allow others to really get a sense of what it means to be a West Langley Lion.
3. Staff pride in their students and classrooms was definitely increased. When I first started our 5 Things To ROAR About, I went around each week sticking my head into classrooms to look for things to blog about. In fact, the first several posts were strictly from me. But quickly teachers would come to me, asking me to come to their classroom and see what they were doing with students "so I could put it on that bloggy thing." Now, I actually have to limit it to five, even though there are many more in any given week, most recommended to me by teachers AND students. As an educational leader, having my staff and students seek me out to celebrate what is going on is heart warming. I look forward to actually have our students write as guest bloggers for the 5 Things To ROAR About.
I know there are many more peripheral benefits to simply celebrating success at West Langley through our blog. But at the end of the day, it is a relatively easy process (given all the blogging tools available) with a tremendous return on sense of community at our school. I would encourage an educator to think about a success blog for their situation. Whether it's for a school club, classroom, or an entire school, the great things occurring everyday must be shared.
Your feedback and thoughts are always appreciated. Please comment on the ways you celebrate success at your school and how you tell your story.