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Posts Tagged ‘superintendent blogging’

This post is a duplicate of the article in the  AASA – February 2021 School Administrator Magazine.  

The issue (here) is dedicated to the shift to remote schooling.

It was mid-March, and suddenly everything around us was closing. Our school district had entered spring break with a foreboding sense we might not come back in two weeks, but it was still a little surreal. 

Suddenly everything was moving quickly – national borders were closing, toilet paper was flying off the store shelves and general panic was setting in. People kept asking, what about schools? I knew I needed to say something. I thought writing about curriculum reform or budget planning seemed poorly timed and I didn’t have any certainty to bring to the fate of schools after spring break.

So, instead, I wrote a blog post about my cancelled Hawaiian vacation. I shared a more personal story about how we were trying to take a rare family vacation in our oldest daughter’s 12th-grade year before she left for college. In the end, we tried to salvage some sense of festiveness as we enjoyed pineapple and macadamia nuts on our rainy back patio.  

 

Human Touch

Thousands of people read the post and dozens commented and then shared their stories, empathized with our family’s challenges, and otherwise just connected. It was a reminder that people do not just read our blogs to learn about education. At its core our blogs are about connection. And in times of uncertainty, district superintendents are among those people in our communities look toward for guidance, advice and reassurance.    

 In the hundreds of posts I have written, two of the most common responses I get from colleagues are “how do you find the time?” and “that seems like a lot of work.” And even as you have read dozens of articles over the last decade in School Administrator magazine and elsewhere, the number of superintendent bloggers is relatively low.

As we look to a post-pandemic world that will differ from our world before, it finally might be the right time to start.  

 

Time to Proceed

Let me suggest five reasons why now is the time for a superintendent to be blogging.  

  • People are looking to connect on a human level. Our families are “Zoomed” out. Many of our students and families have spent large parts of their lives over the past 10 months in their homes and with limited contacts. Our blogging as school district leaders can humanize us and our work. We are facing the same challenges as our families and doing our best to make decisions that are unprecedented. 

 

  • Old communication channels have disappeared. Before last March, I could speak to parents at a school or to the Rotary Club or various other venues. Large gatherings do not exist right now, and they may never come back in the same way. We need to have our channels of communication to connect directly with our community.

 

  • Our school system is changing fast. Regardless of your delivery model this fall and winter, we have made changes in weeks or months that would normally take years. Constant communication with our parents is crucial to understand the what, the why and the how of all the different ways learning is continuing.

 

  • We can offer certainty in a world of uncertainty. With so much confusion and change in our world, superintendents are looked to by the community to be honest brokers of information. We can use our social capital to keep our community onside with how school changes fit into larger global changes.

 

  • Our kids need models, so why not us? I am pretty sure all students across North America are writing more online than they were one year ago. This is probably not going to change anytime soon. If we say we want our children to be learning to engage in this world, we can help model the way.

 

Digital Presence

When I started blogging 10 years ago, it was a bit of a novelty. Now as we start 2021, the urgency seems greater. The world is changing, and the tools we use are changing. What a great time for us to lead the way in this digital space.

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