Massachusetts Elementary School Principals' Association
MESPA Monday Memo
May 15, 2017
From The MESPA Blog:
Deeper Connections Through Virtual Reality
By Cindy Emerson, Principal – Vero Beach Elementary School, Vero Beach, Florida
This week’s post comes by way of Florida. Principal Cindy Emerson shares her goal to make stronger connections with her students. After a failed attempt to read aloud in classrooms, she came upon on a new idea:  virtual reality field trips. After purchasing Google Expedition Virtual Reality Kits, she modeled risk-taking and dove in to lead these trips in several classrooms in her school.   

To read more (including a cool short video of students engaged in this experience), go to the MESPA blog at:  https://mespa2016.wordpress.com/  
From the Executive Director:
A Shining Light on Leadership  
The May issue of Educational Leadership focuses on the hopeful theme of “Lifting School Leadership.”   And there’s no doubt that teachers and principals can benefit from a “lift” this time of year, as we saw in last week’s Twitter chat with Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf.  

I would like to highlight a column in this issue by Carol Ann Tomlinson called, “ One to Grow On: Shining A Light on Leadership.”   Best known for her work on differentiated instruction, Tomlinson is Professor and Chair of Educational Leadership at the University of Virginia.   

In her succinct, but powerful, two-pager, Tomlinson highlights three attributes shared by teachers and principals who lead effectively:
  • Leading from A Vision:  Leaders focus on why that vision matters.   Tomlinson cites the work of Thomas Sergiovanni, who argues that  schools would be better served by leadership drawn from moral authority or “forming communities around shared values and norms based on mutual commitment and a sense of interdependence.”
  • Minding the Process - Leaders need to tend to the vision through planning, awareness of details, and persistent reflection in the work we do every day.
  • Servant Leadership – Drawing on Sergiovanni’s notion of leadership in service to others, Tomlinson quotes another leadership expert Simon Sinek, who suggests, “Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of the people in your charge.”
For a lift right now, read this short piece on leadership.  Interested in exploring this topic in more depth? Consider adding Sergiovanni’s classic Moral Leadership (1992) to your summer reading list.  Shine on!  

Rick Rogers
#mespachat
Last Week's Twitter Chat
Was A Lively One!
Last week’s Twitter chat saw a lively and thoughtful exchange with guest moderators Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf, authors of “Lead Like A Pirate: Make School Amazing for Your Students and Staff.”   

Shelley and Beth posed six questions over the course of an hour that touched on how to make our schools positive places for students and teachers, build trust, and do our most important work.  One question challenged us to think about trust as a two-way street: “What deliberate actions do you take to either earn the trust of your crew or to give your trust to them?”   

A stimulating hour with an impressive level of participation and energy for an evening in May!  To review the exchange, go to: https://storify.com/PrincipalDodge1/mespachat-5913b9937a32e60d1fcfaf10 .