With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I am taking some time to reflect on just how very fortunate I am. Since becoming a connected educator in 2011, my learning world has expanded beyond my expectations and then some. I know that many of the successes our school is experiencing would not have been realized without this support.

Here are a few people and groups that have recently made an impact on my professional and personal life.

Who are you grateful for?

Who are you grateful for?

I am grateful for my All Things PLC (#atplc) Voxer group. This community of practice has provided expertise, honesty, humor, and support since Tom Whitford included me a couple of months ago. What I love about this group is we have a nice balance of both teachers and administrators. Despite our differences in roles, we are all focused on the same thing – learner achievement and engagement. Our conversations are propelling us toward this ultimate goal.

I am grateful for Kathy Cassidy and Marsha Ratzel. These two expert teachers joined me in a webinar in October, on the topic of connected formative assessment. What they shared with the participants that evening was so impressive. How they find the time to be such selfless contributors with their already busy schedules is beyond me. The parents of their students must be so happy to have Kathy and Marsha as their child’s teacher this year.

I am grateful for Clare Landrigan. She is one of the authors of Assessment in Perspective (Stenhouse, 2013). Several of my teachers have decided to do a book study on her title. They created a Google+ Community to share their thinking and collaborate in this online space. Clare has graciously agreed to participate in this learning community.

I am grateful for the staff and students at Howe Elementary School, where I work. The enthusiasm they consistently display for literacy and learning keeps me going as a principal. Just recently, I encouraged all of our students to recommend a book to me while I camped out in the library. Over 90 students came down to suggest their favorite title. I documented their recommendations and took a picture of them with their book to display in the hallways. Their love for literature is a direct result of the learning community their teachers create in the classrooms.

I am grateful for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. They have created a Title I program, Spotlight Schools, that awards funds toward schools that are showing student achievement success. You read that right: Dollars are being allocated for buildings that are experiencing success. We are expected to host other schools and share best practice, as well as invest in professional and student learning resources. With disagreements at the federal level over budgets, our Title I dollars were vastly reduced. The effort that the consultants have put into keeping this effective program running for our state deserves recognition.

Most of all, I am grateful for my family and friends. They read what I write and respond honestly to what I share. Any successes I might experience can usually be traced back to the time and resources they provide. I hope you find yourself just as fortunate this Thanksgiving.

Who inspires you most?

SmartBlog on Education this year launched a monthly Editor’s Choice Content Award, which recognizes content written by educators, for educators that inspires readers to engage, innovate and discuss. SmartBrief Education editors and writers sift through thousands of sources, reading a variety of content, including blogs and commentaries written by you and your peers. SmartBlog’s editors selected the two best original content pieces each month and posted them on their blog. Now they’re honoring the SmartBrief Educators Choice Content Award for 2014. I’m honored to be among this list of amazing educators. SmartBlog needs your input – please vote for the educator-blogger that inspires you most by December 10 if you’d like to share your opinion.

A wonderful Thanksgiving to you and your family from all of us at Powerful Learning Practice!

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Matt Renwick

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