Thursday, June 28, 2012

Its a Whole New World

June 28, 2012


Today, I realized - I know very - very -very little about this "tech" stuff. Sure, I know more than most superintendents - no offense gang, but the truth is the positions of administrator and superintendent have evolved into something none of us anticipated.

For example, who could have known the impact Tony Orsini's decision would have when the Ridgewood, NJ principal attempted to 'ban social media' Reaction to Principal Banning Social Networking. The news media outlets pounced because, well simply that is what they do - they do recognize the impact a stand like Tony's would have in creating controversy. Sure in hindsight it is apparent that the decision was probably one he'd like to have back, but as a former middle school principal - I understand what he was trying to do.

When all of the social networks were first creeping into our lives, like anything new can often be, they were scary. Not to mention, principals were traditionally educated and trained in a much different environment. Many of us thought, "I did not sign on for this", when confronted with irate parents with a 100 page printout from Facebook where some individual(s) chose to do terrible things to another human being. In the beginning, we (principals) went to seminars where we were flat out told to push those types of complaints to the police department. We were instructed to tell the parents things like "that happened on your time" or "we can't get involved with online bullying". Fast forward to July 2012, like Disney's Aladin theme song in 1992 "Its a Whole New World" Anyone nostalgic for 1992
We have cyber bulling laws, guidelines, best practices, worst practices, mandatory trainings, and yes thankfully - we gained a loose handle on how to address the negative issues created by social media.

Today, it isn't enough to only have guidance on how to respond to the negative side of social media and technology tools - we need to figure out how to best maximize them to enhance the learning. I am not a supporter of using any of these things just to use them. There are amazing resources and examples of people doing this well. Many feel that although we might know now how to handle the misuse of technology and social media it is too risky to embrace these platforms to unlock the positive potential they have. This mindset would simply 'throw the baby out with the bath water' and turn off social media tools in our buildings. If we do, we risk not only turning off our students but we limit our own growth. As Tony Robbins says, "if you don't grow - you die". Perhaps you won't die literally, but you will miss out on the excitement of new adventures and people.

Just today, I learned that a "Flipped Classroom" Flipped Classroom 101 is not a vandalized school. And I have met amazing people - from all over - @web20classroom (thanks again Steve) that are very willing to share what they have learned. The PLN, or PPLN as I call it, the Personal [professional] learning network provides a person with resources to the infinite degree...

Lastly, I want to support Tony Orsini (whom I have never met). What I believe his actions did to elevate the conversation was of critical importance. We needed to argue both sides of the coin. Ultimately, I feel we learned that it is our job to educate the students (and parents if necessary) on how to use these powerful tools properly. For the administrators, it means we must also teach our staff members right from wrong - and hold them accountable for misuse while carefully keeping the window open for those who are using them properly.

For any superintendents who are still not embracing social media and connecting...time is ticking...the world [our world] changes more drastically each second. Plug in, open your mind- and explore the possibilities!

Dr. G

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Distinguished 4 EE4NJ & Beyond"

I am proud to announce a great pd experience coming September 2012 for teachers 

Caution - This is a sales pitch - I want you to sign up for my upcoming PD series... Stop reading if you are not interested in high quality, low cost, professional development certain to ensure you are recognized for your excellence under the EE4NJ Era & Beyond...no, really stop reading...I am about to try to sell you on my training series.....well, ok if you insist on reading this....keep going.....after this brief disclaimer:

I can't stand presentations that are "one hit wonders"! They leave the participant momentarily energized, but then 'hung-over' the next day as they try to figure out exactly what was it the presenter said I should implement...Therefore, the EE4NJ & Beyond is unlike any of those yuckified experiences - if you complete this series you will leave with multiple "take-aways" and a concrete action plan that is tailored to guaranteeing you (and more importantly) your students succeed. 


You will become "Super Distinguished Awesome Teacher" 
cape and superhero costume not included with purchase.

Once Upon a Time

I was engaged in a discussion about all things education with one of the good people at the EIRC (South), Mark Stanwood. We started to conceptualize an experience for the great teachers... those who will surely want to be identified as distinguished under the newest framework released by the NJDOE. We pondered, "wouldn't it be great if we could develop an experience tailored primarily for those teachers who demand excellence"...like all great things, they usually come from a conversation like this.

I am really-really-really excited about the program that was born out of this dialogue.  My hope is that you will be too. While we are still working on the dates for September of 2012 (for the one-day  session) and continued dates for the full series (we are trying not to interfere with testing, holidays etc...) I wanted to get this out now. As a teacher, you are likely limited to how many professional development experiences you can chose - and the earlier notice the better. So, if you want a great experience at a fraction of the cost (because I am partnering with EIRC we can keep the costs down) start talking to your principal now. If this appeals to you, it is obvious that you should be rated "Distinguished" under the future teacher evaluation models aligned with EE4NJ - sign up for this course to get an edge. We will be holding sessions in the North, Central, and Southern Regions of NJ for your convenience. I am so excited about this chance to meet and work with the talented educators in our great state. I respect that you can chose to get your professional development from multiple sources, which is why I worked to the extreme to account for every detail of this experience. You will not walk away disappointed!

Overview

We will dismantle the EE4NJ model so you can see exactly what the DOE was thinking when they created it, and from there, you and I will tailor your plan to achieve excellence. Experience the latest instructional tools (including technology that works) as well as the old standards which simply can't be replaced. Learn what your leaders will be looking for and actually go far beyond them by becoming fluent in things like Six Sigma, Systems Thinking...YOU will thrive in this ACCOUNTABILITY ERA in ways you never thought possible. Oh, and we will have fun! Not like a few bad jokes by the presenter fun, (you will endure those too) but I am talking about high level enjoyment that comes from working with like minded driven educators who want what you want - EXCELLENCE, nothing short will do. Generational Sensitive Presenter on board, don't worry if you are a Millennial or from the GI generation...we will learn what each is all about so that we can all enjoy our experience.

Imagine hitting next school year with a detailed action plan that ensures your students will achieve your learning objectives and your principal will easily be able to acknowledge your efforts as - "Distinguished".

One of the many awesome Google Chrome tools that is out there for teachers (and yes they even let superintendents use them) is "Present.me". Below, just for fun, I recorded a very short presentation (took less than 5 minutes start to finish) using that tool to give you an overview of the course. Feel free to watch it at the link below

EE4NJ & Beyond

As a teacher, you could pre-record your anticipatory sets for the week for your students who are anxious to see what you have planned next. Present.me and others allows you to put your creative touch on the Common Core. Maybe you like music, add music, art, upload your work, bottom line - meet the students at their digital level and the rest, is well, simple.

"I hope you can get your district to support you in signing up for this experience. As a superintendent, any teacher who completes this course would be easy to hire!"


Dr. G

PS- Don't just take my word, ask around... I have run this program by Principals, Superintendents, District Administrators alike before feeling that it reached the level of excellence I would want if I were a teacher signing up for a course or a leader approving one for one of my teachers.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Social Media for Administrators and Becoming an Effective Social Leader

 NJASA Regional Workshops

21st Century Communication Districts:  
Social Media for Administrators and Becoming an 
Effective Social Leader

Central
MONDAY, JULY 23 – North Brunswick Township High School 
 (8:30am – 12:00pm) / Deadline to register for this location is Monday, July 16, 2012

South
MONDAY, AUGUST 6 – Education Information and Resource Center (EIRC) 
(8:30am – 12:00pm) / Deadline to register for this location is Monday, July 30, 2012

North
FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 – River Dell Regional High School 
(8:30am – 12:00pm) / Deadline to register for this location is Friday, August 10, 2012

AGENDA

8:30am – 9:00am Registration, Refreshments and Networking

9:00am – 12:00pm        21st Century Communication Districts:  
Social Media for Administrators and Becoming an         Effective Social Leader

Social media is here to stay. While it potentially holds great promise, it is important to get a firm understanding of what it is and what it can do. The session is designed for leaders with a novice skill level using social media tools. Attendees must bring a device with wireless capability and an interest in establishing a personal learning network using social media tools. Participants will leave the session as a connected educator, exposed to systems thinking tools to foster improvement, along with examples of best practices and issues that might arise. The presenters will provide participants with the tools to evolve into an effective social leader prepared for the future.

Presenters:
Central:  Dr. David Gentile, Superintendent - Millville
Mr. Steven Engravalle, Superintendent - Fort Lee

South: Dr. David Gentile, Superintendent - Millville
Mr. Steven Engravalle, Superintendent - Fort Lee

North: Dr. Adam Fried, Superintendent - Harrington Park
Dr. Matthew Murphy, Superintendent - River Vale

See Registration on Reverse Side
        


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Commencement MSHS 2012

Millville Senior High School
Commencement Address by Dr. David N. Gentile, Superintendent



OPENING REMARKS:
Good evening parents, distinguished guests, faculty, and students.

Ok, students, the good news is I am the last person standing between you and your diploma; the bad news is I am going to give a speech too.


Improvised remarks regarding the student’s speech which referenced “YOLO” - translated to you only live once (a popular trend with the youth).

“YOLO”, before I start, I would like to address the little flaw with that little trend. YOLO, come on…you only live once…it should be YLOO, you live only once – YLOO, one lifetime…but not one moment to live! If you only live once in your life, one time, that is just sad. Ok, here we go…

During Monday night’s senior award ceremony, I could not help but be impressed by the achievements of many of the students seated behind me – there were amazing scholars – like our valedictorian – Sabrina Sutton, all-star athletes – like Shaq Lee, accomplished musicians – like Jessica Rathgeb, aspiring political leaders – like our class president – Josh Postalwaite. There were students recognized for their aptitude with a world-language, or with skills in a trade – our auto mechanics are top notch. Yet, as wonderful as Monday night’s award ceremony was, there were many students not recognized - I could not help but wonder about all of the other students who did not attend or receive an award. Aren’t they special too? You know, if I am going to be honest, adlib “and since most of you out there either knew me then or were there with me, I guess I have to” when I graduated from the Orange and Blue, I don’t recall hearing my name multiple times during our award ceremony – so if you are like I was then, I have a message for you… adlibsee there is hope, you will find employment too…for how long…well…that’s another story, I guess for as long as all of you will have me, so if you didn’t get an award listen up” And for all of my award recipients from Monday night, you probably don’t need my advice but you might as well listen too.

Education should be for the simple thrill of learning something new-not for an award. I urge all of you, to do, whatever you do, for no reason other than you love it, and believe in its importance! Starting right now, decide you are going to pursue your passion – define the things you love to do, and work at them – perfect them- put in your 10,000 hours of practice (which is what the experts say it takes to truly master something) Resist the comforts of complacency, get out of your comfort zone at least twice a day, Read- Read – Read and then read some more, read for enjoyment, read to learn something new, READ simply because you can – and thank your teachers for that little gift.

Dream big, dream the impossible – be the next Mark Zuckerberg, but don’t drop out until you are sure you are the next Mark Zuckerberg! Develop moral character – know yourself well so that no one else can define you! Seize the day as if your hair was literally on fire because none of you – none of us – are promised any more time than we have right at this very moment. Enjoy your youth, although all of us old people know you won’t, enjoy it anyway. Gentlemen, enjoy having a full thick head of hair, while it lasts – but don’t mourn when it leaves you – odds are it will leave you, (don’t believe me? look around the next family function at all the bald guys) adlib “where do you think they all came from? That’s right, they started out like all of you” To the ladies, understand that you are beautiful no matter what they say – I promise all of you that someday you will look at the pictures taken today and think “wow”. Enjoy your youth, but look forward to slowly – willingly trading it for the wisdom that only comes from experience.

You may think these are the best of times – they are not – or at least I believe you have much better ahead. The great life, the fulfilling life is the consequence of hard work – it is an achievement. But, it will not just fall into your lap because you are a nice person – you cannot order a great life on EBay – adlibbelieve me, I tried” nor can anyone else make one for you.

Our founding fathers took pains to secure that you have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Not the right to a great life, that comes from the choices you make during your pursuit. Do not wait for inspiration to find you – get off the couch, get out there, explore the world and find it yourself – and once you find it - hold onto it like my 3 year old daughter around my leg when I try to drop her off at preschool.

Remember, the fulfilled life is a gratifying consequence of living for your passions. It happens while you are doing the things you love just because you love them. Despite whether you received awards Monday night or not, regardless of the journey you have taken so far, you can decide today to be whatever you want (within reason, my son heard me say that and said, “well, I want to be Batman”)

Here you sit, all wearing the same uniform and are about to receive a high school diploma – which aside from your name is exactly the same as the person sitting next to you. Think of this as a new starting point and this wonderful celebration a breather along your pursuit of happiness. For those award winners, [are you] still with me? Well done! But do not rest on the feeling of self-satisfaction as your journey continues!

Congratulations – make your own good luck, and live the life you were destined to live!

Now it is my pleasure to certify that each and every student assembled here this evening has fulfilled the requirements for graduation that were instituted by the Millville Board of Education and the State of New Jersey.

Therefore, I am honored to recommend this Class of 2012 for the awarding of diplomas.