Archives for the month of: June, 2012

Connecting with the community is one of the greatest challenges of every school that I’ve worked in.  Too often, we settle for the excuse of “That’s just the way it is in (fill in any town in America)”.   I would argue that communities that are the most difficult to engage are the communities that most desperately need to be heard from in order to improve our schools.

In the coming school year, we will be using Celly to connect with parents.

Cell is a free service that allows users to create “Cells” or groups of users that can engaged in a text message dialogue.   Cells can be set up for classes, teams, clubs, PTO, or the entire school.

How it works;

Users create accounts, then sets up Cell.

Other users can set up an account using their cell phone, then join the cell that was created. Once they join, they will be able to participate in the text dialogue.

Celly can be used to deliver announcements to all group members such as;

“Report cards going home today, make sure you ask your child and celebrate their hard work!”.

It can also be used to poll participants to get feedback.  This will make for an easy way to get community feedback on school decisions.

For someone who doesn’t like the sound of his voice, Celly is a much preferred option.  When I record a message using our Alertnow system, I record and rerecord the message at least 4 times.  I would much rather send a text alert.

This will be a great resource for connecting with families and ensuring a two way dialogue.


Bullying is a problem in every school.  School leaders must take proactive measures to ensure the safety and comfort of every student in the building.  Students will not learn if they are not comfortable.

Picture taken from

As much as we encourage every student to come to administration with reports of wrongdoing, it doesn’t always happen.  After a meeting with my principal, we decided to add another resource to our fight against bullying.  We want students to be able to text message us directly to report anything that they would not be comfortable doing in person.

Using Google Voice, we were able to set up a free account.  This will allow students to report discipline violations through text messaging.  While we just established the service, I believe it will be a great resource to our school’s fight against bullying.
Google Voice is a free service that has a ton of great features.  If you’d like to learn more, be sure to visit their sight.  Our school district uses Google email services, but the feature of Google Voice was blocked.  I had to set up an alternate email address for our school.  This wasn’t a problem because I was able to forward all received texts to my work email.

I’m toying with the idea of using the website to inspire learning in my school.
Within the past few weeks, there have been many articles published on the success of Teachers Pay Teachers.  As a teacher, I came across the website many times while looking for ideas for my classroom.   I never could justify spending money on a lesson, but apparently others do.  To date, the site has processed over $7,000,000 in sales.  Most of that money goes directly to the teachers that produce the content.

I’d like teachers in my school to start using the site to sell their lessons.  If this were to happen, I believe, it would increase student achievement at my school.

Bad lessons don’t sell.  Not that any of my teachers create bad lessons, but there is always room to grow.  With the extra incentive of possibly earning revenue, teachers would put a little more effort into making original and content specific lessons.

Not only would money motivate, but if teachers have an audience outside of their students and administration, they might spend more time to perfect their product.
I know that it isn’t a guaranteed thing, but I think that it would challenge our teachers to spend more time in the planning stages of teaching, and possibly earn them extra income.