Chromebooks for every student!

We are 4 days into the school year and there are many exciting things happening at Elm Place School.

First and foremost, we are now a 1-1 Chromebook school, with each student using a machine throughout the school day. 

Credit to our technology and teaching teams for organizing the machines and preparing them for student use.

Be sure to check out our teacher web pages for how each class is integrating technology into student learning.

Here is a link for how we organized Google Drive for our teachers and students.

Teacher Tech


Camp 6th Grade!

Today Elm Place held our 2nd annual Camp 6th Grade, a transition day for our incoming sixth grade class.

The events included:

Schedules and lockers.  Practice with combinations and organizing of materials in lockers for the first day.

Team building with our social workers and a PE teacher.

Math and Science activities.

And a chance to walk the halls of school to figure out where everything is located.

The best part-we had over 25 staff volunteers and many student mentors helping our new class.

Overall, an ideal way to start the school year-three days early!



The fun thing about summer-recruiting, hiring, and developing new staff members!

Some would say that summer months for a middle school principal are relaxing and quiet. 

Some may say that the summer is a time to catch up on things that may have gone by the wayside during the school year.

I agree.  

However, sometimes things come up that require a lot of time related to the success of students and the building of a great team.

Consider the interview process and the selection of candidates.

This year, we are filling openings from Associate Principal to half-time admin. assistant.  Each of our openings affords and opportunity-to bring the best and brightest candidates to Elm Place in hopes in improving student learning.  These is little doubt that recruiting, hiring, and developing high quality staff is one of the most important functions of a building leader.

Consider this article.

The interview process is one that directly impacts students, though the summer months make the school year seem far away.  

However, staff decisions made in June, July, and August are of primary importance when planning for the continued success of our students.



Innovation Days at Elm Place

I’m writing this blog post to relay news about a pretty engaging and cool activity that we are doing this week.  A group of our teachers, our Innovation Team, developed a series of experiences for our students to do on the afternoons of our IL Standards Testing days.  

They call the week Innovation Days, which provide time for students to work in groups on a learning activity of their choice.  7th and 8th graders are participating in a Shark Tank activity, which asks them to develop a product and develop a business model for the product’s production.  6th graders are engaged in a “Fed-Ex Day” type of experience as they investigate an topic of their choice.  

If you think about the concept of GRR (Gradual Release of Responsibility), this is the idea situation.

Stronger in Priorties

I’m sitting at church this Sunday listening to a message about being stronger in priorities.  The idea is pretty simple-your priorities should be reflected in your calendar and the time you spend each day.  For me, one of my main roles in life is being an instructional leader of a school community.  The question-how is that role reflected in my calendar?  

This year, I became a SAM (School Administration Manager) principal and Elm Place became a SAM building.  The process is dedicated to focusing the school leader’s time on instruction, setting specific goals for the amount of time spent on instruction each day.  I can’t begin to explain how transformational the SAM process is for any school leader.  My time each day now reflects my priorities, to the point where my SAM team (AP, School Psychologist, Social Worker) plan my days/weeks according to our specific goals.