From the Field

Topics: Pandemic Leadership

How have your professional learning goals shifted since the start of COVID?

It’s safety first. In order to operate safely, some of the ways we provide learning opportunities have had to change. I am lucky to have such excellent teachers to pick up the slack.

—Jason Leforgee (@JLeforgee), Eagle Hills Elementary School, Eagle, Idaho

I’m seeking balance. I have admittedly become more reactive than proactive. I have adjusted my professional learning goals to find a new balance between instructional leadership and the management necessary to prioritize health and safety.

—Amy Denney (@AmyADenney), Perry Creek Elementary School, Sioux City, Iowa

By emphasizing service. My greater goals have not changed, but the ways in which I reach them have shifted. Relationships are critical—[I am] assisting others in creating a sense of hope and serving daily.

—Stacey Green (@usd271sgs), Stockton Grade School, Stockton, Kansas

I’m preserving my poise. I understand that the most important leadership qualities one can possess are poise during turbulent times, the courage to advocate for oneself, and intentionality in empowering others to be their authentic selves.

—Howard E. Fields III (@hefields3), Kirkwood School District, Kirkwood, Missouri

I’m focused on support. I am more focused on the social-emotional well-being of the students, my staff, parents, and the school community, and less focused on test scores.

—Ashlee Bruggenschmidt (@AshleeBruggen), Sharon Elementary School, Newburgh, Indiana

I’m sustaining old goals. I typically set goals for areas in which I want to extend myself, but this year is more about thinking of those things I want to intentionally sustain in a year when every part of us is extended already.

—Jessica Hutchison (@jesshutchisonAW), Avoca West Elementary School, Glenview, Illinois

I’m using my voice. I realize that I must continue to be a member of local, state, and national conversations about the well-being and growth of our students, especially as we look for ways to address the learning losses and health challenges caused by COVID.

—Dilhani Uswatte (@DilUswatte), Rocky Ridge Elementary School, Hoover, Alabama

I’m concentrating on support. Rather than worrying about observations and evaluation data, I have decided I need to put my focus on providing support, support, support! If my teachers are not feeling supported, it will be hard for them to provide support to their students.

—Amie McCaw (@TLiMPrincipal), Sunset Lake Elementary School, Vicksburg, Michigan

I’m focused on instructional leadership. My professional learning goals continue to be focused on instructional leadership, with a better understanding of how to engage learners through remote means and how to help our teachers adapt to the changing landscape.

—Rachel Roberts (@robertsleads), Columbia Elementary School, Palm Bay, Florida

I’m deemphasizing the data. Relationships and the mental health of staff and students matter MORE than data and achievement.

—Kati Mann (@BCSDMemorial), Memorial Elementary School, Cleveland, Ohio

I’m going virtual. I have shifted to learning about how to communicate, support, and innovate in a 100 percent virtual setting.

—Matthew Moyer (@MoyerMatthewD), Rupert Elementary School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania

I’m emphasizing wellness. I’ve devoted more time to staff and student wellness, including resiliency, mindfulness, and the reduction of stress and anxiety. In preparation, I enrolled in an Applied Educational Neuroscience Certification Program.

—Christian J. Paskalides (@CJayP12), Middle Township Elementary School No. 1, Cape May Court House, New Jersey

I have broadened my horizons. There are so many quality online learning opportunities now. It’s just a matter of choosing the ones that resonate with you the most. The focus has been on learning the tools needed for online instruction, [but] I have found that book studies have helped us stay connected to colleagues.

—Christopher Wooleyhand, Ph.D. (@principal64), Pershing Hill Elementary School, Fort Meade, Maryland

I’m taking on tech. With all of the new platforms our students, teachers, and families are using, I need to learn them, too. [My goal is] to provide my staff with opportunities for more professional development and share new knowledge about concurrent teaching.

—Susan K. Danielson (@susan_danielson), Rosa Parks Elementary School, Woodbridge, Virginia

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