Byron's Babbles

National Standards Day

Posted in Coaching, Education, Education Reform, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 30, 2014

IMG_0530.JPGYesterday was a great day at Hoosier Academies. We brought our entire staff together around the idea of making sure that all of our curriculum was aligned to the Indiana Academic Standards, we were teaching to the standards, and how we would use rigor, relevance, and relationships to be good stewards of our students’ achievement. Our teachers were very engaged and there was incredible collaboration all day.

As always, I am using my blog as a way to reflect on the day. For this post I am going to bullet point the top tweets that were done during the day using the hashtag #HoosierNSD. The tweets were great and so was the learning. Also, I have attached the powerpoint that I used to guide my introductory kickoff session to the day. Here is the link for the powerpoint: Ernest_NSD_k12_2014


Here are the top tweets from the day for you to think about and reflect on:
-21st Century Learners? That’s old school. #HoosierNSD is creating 21st&1/2 Century Learners!
-Push for best effort. With effort comes results.
-Acknowledge a student that reaches an expectation, praise a student that exceeds it.
-Assume every kid is your brightest and best!
-Focus on the now and move forward – not on what went wrong #teachlikeachampion
-Describe the next move, not what went wrong #teachlikeachampion
-Positive framing by modeling and narrating your workable goal! It isn’t impossible. #TeachLikeAChampion
-Relevance makes rigor possible; relationships make anything possible.
-Reviewing not repeating. That’s RIGOR.
-Rigor: ask higher level questions and push students to respond at a higher level.
-If they had to buy tickets to your class would they come?
-5 Steps to get to quadrant D. Reaching for the summit one step at a time.
-Less than 5% of high school lessons provide opportunity for student collaboration! This needs to change! We can do this Hoosier Academies.
-Was your lesson worthy of the student’s undivided attention???
-We have to bring the engagement up. Not just Hoosier, but all high school teachers.
-Teamwork makes the dreamwork
-Getting to know those you work with makes a difference
-Reflection is important. Why we are having #HoosierNSD.
-Thankful to have a minute to take a step back, learn the standards, and focus my instruction. #thirdgrade
-Make school work more like real work.
-Demonstrate the rigorous and relevant learning.
-My pillar of rigor would be action.
-Teachers have to make schoolwork more like real work.
-If you say it can’t be done, then you are doing it wrong the first time.
-Rigor and relevance and don’t forget motivation in our virtual environment.
-Great day! Real-world project based learning in HS English. How do literary themes connect with my students’ worlds?
-Real world application can only exist in the virtual world if strong relationships have been built for optimal engagement.
-Rigor and relevance and backwards planning are our best friends.
-Students need collaboration, critical thinking, oral and written communication
-Taking students to the 21st 1/2 Century and beyond
-We’ve been in the 21st Century for 15 year! We’re here. Think 21st 1/2 Century skills.
-As it relates to teaching, these three remain…rigor, relevance, and relationships. But the greatest of these is relationships.
-We’re spending a day breaking down standards.
-Teaching to one standard is not enough. You need to make them all connect together in a meaningful way with purpose.
-It is virtually impossible to make content relevant to students you don’t know – Carol Ann Tomlinson
-Key pieces of education: rigor, relevance and RELATIONSHIPS.

As you can see, some great learning went on. You can’t help but think about making education rigorous and relevant when you reflect on theses tweets. Additionally, the tweets reinforce the importance of building relationships with our students.


Just A KISS of Leadership!

Posted in Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 25, 2014

IMG_0524.JPG There was a lot of reflection that went into preparing for this blog post. I am writing this at 7:32pm and I have to admit I started thinking about this at around 6:00am this morning during my personal growth time. In fact I have to admit that the inspiration for this post was disappointment. Disappointment in myself! As I was reading Sally Hogshead’s book, How The World Sees You, I was disappointed on two fronts. Let me be clear, though, none of my disappointment was with Sally or the book – both are AWESOME! I was reading the part of the book that describes the different archetypes and after the description of each she gives famous examples. As a part of the How The World Sees You experience you take a personality test to reveal how you can immediately command attention by putting your personality’s top advantage to work for you. After reading about the “Rock Star” I was disappointed I did not have this designation instead of “The Change Agent.” Now, I know there are no right or wrong archetypes and the whole purpose of the book is to learn to be all the you you can be. But, when thinking about the anthem (something you create while reading the book) for a Rock Star, I really thought that described me! The anthem example created for this archetype was: “Unorthodox Bold and Brave!” Now, if that does not describe me, I do not know what does! I’ll come back to that thought in a minute.

My other disappointment was that Sally did not use Gene Simmons, KISS frontman and CEO, as the celebrity example. Great job Sally, because if you had, I would not have done all this quality reflecting (I know you were thinking of me). If Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley (also a KISS frontman and chief songwriter), are not the ideal of this archetype I do not know who is. With over 100 million albums sold worldwide, KISS is arguably one of the biggest and most successful bands on the planet. Led by the marketing genius that is Gene Simmons, they continue to reach new audiences while engaging lifelong fans. Gene Simmons may be best known as the fire-breathing, bass playing demon in one of the most influential rock bands in history, but he can also teach us a thing or two about leadership.

Really my disappointment was more from the fact that these guys were (and still are) my idols growing up. Even though I chose a different career (and lifestyle) path, I want to be the Gene Simmons and KISS of the education world. That means everything from being polarizing to delivering the education that I wanted as a kid and that every child in the world deserves. I remember watching Gene Simmons in interviews and he would say,”We wanted to be the band we never saw and wanted to go see.” Let me tell you, if you have never been to a KISS show you are missing a great thing. Their anthem says it all: “You wanted the best, you got the best: KISS!” If that is not inspiring I don’t know what is!

Gene Simmons truly is a “Rock Star” and great example of a leader. He is a key member of my personal Mount Rushmore, which also includes, Thomas Edison, Woodrow Wilson, and Patrick Henry. To give an example of the KISS leadership example I go back to an interview in April, 2014 during a great town hall interview on XM RADIO 39 HairNation following their induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where Gene said that he and Paul were always needing to try new “trepidatious” ways to perform! That’s what great leaders do! I promptly tweeted this (I’ve included an image of the tweet in this post). If you look up trepidatious you find the words: anxiety, anxious fear, and apprehension. So, that means they were being unorthodox, bold, and brave. Do you see the connection? Honestly, if you have not been to a KISS concert it will be hard for you to understand. Just suffice it to say, they were cutting edge. Heck, they redefined the edge…heck, there was no edge!

In fact that reminds me of another interview that KISS had with Jay Leno. Leno asked Gene Simmons where KISS got their edge. Without hesitation, Gene answered, “Edge starts with self.” Wow, that was several years ago, but is a perfect anthem for the great work that Sally Hogshead is doing and the great personal growth provided by the How The World Sees You learning experience. Let’s say that again: “Edge starts with self!” That gives me goose bumps!

I was in attendance at every KISS concert in Indiana. Yes I am a member of the KISS Army! I did not know it at the time growing up, but they were providing me with the greatest leadership lessons one could probably receive. The personal mission statement I have used for years has been: “I deliver wowful educational leadership!” I believe there is a little resemblance to “You wanted the best, you got the best!” don’t you? I have never had the honor of meeting Gene Simmons or Paul Stanley in person, but it is certainly on my bucket list! I would thank them for the leadership lessons I learned from them. Another inspiring quote from Gene Simmons is: “You have to understand that nothing appeals to everybody.” In other words you cannot be everything to everybody, but you must be the best you can be – another reason why Sally’s work is so important. KISS has always maintained a steady fan base by giving their fans what they wanted, and knew that they would never be able to please everyone. You are inevitably going to have critics; the important thing is to not let them derail your strategy. KISS has truly modeled for us how to be the greatest you, that you can be. There are none better at building a brand and trying bold and new ways to satisfy their customers. Think about if every child was as big a fan of their education as those of us in the KISS Army are of KISS. Watch out China and Finland!

Now, back to my archetype – The Change Agent. I was a little hard on Sally Hogshead at the beginning of this post, but really it was in respect for the way she made me reflect on my own archetype. I was falling in the trap she talks about in her book. I was trying to fit in another archetype and not my own. Again, I need to be all the me I can be. The Change Agent really perfectly describes me. Anyone who knows me, knows the adjectives that describe how the world sees me of Untraditional, Inventive, and Self-Propelled really fit me to a tee! My personal report (you all can get your own personal report when you get the book and do the assessment too) says that I am a creative thinker who thrives on reinventing, I am independent, witty, and sharp, I have a strong drive to come up with a different approach, and I bring alternative opinions to dull meetings, and fresh ideas to stale companies. I would say these are all the advantages that have enabled me to be a successful school, particularly turnaround schools, leader.

Then I went back and thought about wanting to be a “Rock Star.” In reflection I need to follow Sally’s advice and be all the me I can be. In my world as a public servant I cannot be as unorthodox as I would maybe like to be because I do have to worry about what the public thinks and desires. Context has to matter to me. Different contexts may require different strategies and maybe even different skill sets. Without context there is no meaning and then everything becomes unorthodox. In education I deal with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity on a daily basis. As a “Change Agent” I have to use hindsight, insight, and foresight on a daily basis to find creative, untraditional, and inventive ways to improve education for the staff and students I serve.

I am so excited to be a “Change Agent.” The anthem I created during the exercises of the book is: “Energetic Change Agent!” Pretty appropriate for a guy who believes that leaders make the future, don’t you think?

In closing, I want to give you all a personal challenge: Read Sally Hogshead’s book, How The World Sees You; and go to a KISS concert (or at least watch a video of one). It’s time for you to be all the you you can be, too!

Is Your Group Too Small?

Posted in Coaching, Education, Leadership by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 16, 2014

IMG_0516.JPG Yesterday I finished the great new book, You Can, You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner by Joel Osteen. If you have not read it; it needs to go on your “to read” bookshelf. One of the comments Osteen makes in the book is: “If your the smartest person in your group, your group is too small.” I loved this comment and tweeted @ByronErnest it. I found that many others loved the comment too because it was retweeted several times. The comment also hit home because I just wrote the post, “Are You The Smartest Person in The Room?” a couple of weeks ago.

When I heard Osteen make this comment (I listened to this book on Audible during my commute) I immediately thought about the advice of always surrounding yourself with the best people. How can your team be great if you are smarter than everyone around you? I’m reminded of my dad’s advice to me at a young age: “Always marry better than yourself!” That’s hard advice to understand, but now coming up on 29 years of marriage; I completely understand it. I certainly married better than myself. Hope is smarter, a better parent, better leader of a household, and the list goes on and on. As I always tell everyone, she is the primary parent! I fail in comparison. In fact I am reminded of a comment my son, Heath, made to his teacher when he was in the fourth grade when asked if he had done all of his reading the night before: “I’m not sure; my mom is out of town for work and dad and I have no adult supervision.” That really is a true story, and of course he had heard me make that comment jokingly before. But, really, there is some truth to it. So, if your still looking for that someone, make sure you marry better than yourself!

The real point that Osteen was making was, however, that we all need to be taking responsibility for our own personal growth to be the smartest, most skilled person in the room, but we need to also seek those who are talented in the areas we are not. The quote from Melanie Joy sums it up nicely: “Educating yourself does not mean that you were stupid in the first place; it means that you are intelligent enough to know that there is plenty left to learn.” We all need to make sure we are constantly taking advantage of any chance to learn that comes our way. For example, I am excited to be presenting at three conferences yet this fall and early winter. I am most excited because of the chance to learn from all the other conference attendees and the other presenters’ sessions. I am positive I will not be the smartest person in the group of attendees and presenters!

So, think about your own situation and find some ways to get yourself some personal professional growth. It may be reading a book (I am always amazed at how much I learn from every book I read), going to a conference, taking a course (I’m proof it’s never to late to start a doctoral program), or finding a coach, mentor, or sponsor. I loved another comment that Osteen made in his book: “While it may be a lot of fun to hang out with Mo, Larry, and Curly; you probably won’t be getting any smarter or experiencing any personal growth.” In other words, who you hang out with matters!

Finally, don’t forget to give of your “smarts” to others. I am always amazed to watch others in leadership positions who seem to want to hire “dumber” than themselves, suppress the learning of others, and just not provide growth opportunities to others. I guess they think this makes them look smarter – NOT! It has always been my personal mission to make sure that when those I have worked with reflect back that they say, “My life is better and I grew personally and professionally because of being around Byron.” Actually, a pretty good epitaph, don’t you think?

Go forth and make your group big enough that you are not the smartest!

Behavior is…

Posted in Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 10, 2014

IMG_0514.JPG We had a leadership retreat yesterday and today for Hoosier Academies Leadership Team. To start off with we had done some pre-work by doing a personal DISC evaluation. It is important to note that this evaluation is really about one’s communication style. It is no secret that I am a very high “I.” This means I am an influencer. I want a sociable, talkative, and open environment. To this end, I will bring enthusiasm and energy to the team. As an “I” can also be persuasive and spontaneous. In my test results have me labeled as a “Stimulator.” As a leader, I am totally comfortable with this label!

All of that being said I would like to share seven bullet point themes that I wrote down during our retreat as important leadership and team thoughts. I really think they are self explanatory and will cause you to do self reflection.

Here they are:

+Behavior is…observable, flexible, dynamic, and based on thoughts and beliefs.
+When you focus on the light; there are no shadows!
+There is a domino effect to positiveness.
+Don’t be so sensitive! Take feedback as constructive.
+There is no “They” in the Hoosier Way!
+Consider the impact of your lane on others’ lanes – what you do affects what everyone else does.
+Make decisions based on the goals and strategic plan of the organization
+Make sure that every member of the organization understands their role in the mission, vision, goals, and action plan of the organization.

Also, as a part of this post I have a picture of an activity we did where we put all of the descriptors that would be used to describe our team and organization success in 2016. The idea was to visualize what success will look like. Take a minute to check out the picture.

I hope these bullets and visual give you some things to reflect on in your own organization.

What Is Your Organization’s Microclimate?

Posted in Education, Education Reform, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 5, 2014

IMG_0511.JPG While flying into Denver, Colorado today to get my connecting flight to Indianapolis I noticed what appeared to be clouds stuck on one side of the Rocky Mountains. I have included pictures I took out the plane window here in this post. I then decided to do a little research on this because it really made me think about my journey with Hoosier Academies right now that we have themed, “Hoosier Climbs Everest.” To me, it looked like the clouds were clinging to mountains or stopped on one side. I compared this in my mind to the obstacles and storms that happen as a school system or any other organization is working very hard to put the culture, processes, and learning organization in place to be high achieving.

Mountains also experience more severe weather in the form of rain, sleet, and snow on their windward sides. Think about it, organizations that are in turnaround mode are on the windward side of the mountain. These landforms do not so much attract clouds as cause them to form, in a well documented meteorological phenomenon. They are, in fact, a very important factor in meteorology — without mountains, the Earth’s climate would be very different. To continue my analogy we must realize that the culture we are building will also build the climate of our organization.

Air currents are constantly traveling across the surface of the Earth, usually in patterns that remain consistent. In the United States, for example, the prevailing winds run West to East. As air travels, it picks up water molecules in vapor form, which remain vaporous in the higher pressure at low elevations. When the air encounters mountains, however, it is forced to rise.
In the same way that the air is forced to rise when it reaches the mountain, we know that as we climb the mountains of building and improving our organizations that storm clouds will develop. Just remember, these are a necessary part of the meteorology and climate building of our organization. And, just as certain weather patterns can be dangerous when climbing mountains (remember the Everest disaster of 1996), we must too watch the weather patterns on the organizational mountain climbs we are making with our teams.


With the Continental Divide running northwest to southeast though the center of the park, two distinct weather and climate patterns are created. Typical of the east — Estes Park — side is a dryer, semi-arid climate with annual percipitation of 13.10″. The west — Grand Lake — side is marked by a moister climate with 19.95″ of annual percipitation. I have been on both sides of the Rockies and both sides are beautiful. Therefore, we can use this analogy to realize that the different weather patterns will drive the climate of our organization. Therefore we must always understand how these climate patterns of our organization are developed.

Large mountains often form their own microclimates, with extreme variations in weather depending on whether the observer is on the windward or lee side and what the elevation is. Think about it, our organizations form their own microclimates as well. Improving an organization can be as daunting a task as climbing Mt. Everest and we must make sure we are balancing the weather patterns of the windward and lee sides of the mountain. We need to make sure we create a balanced microclimate of shared leadership and learning.

Education: Our Military Mission

Posted in Education, Education Reform, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 5, 2014

IMG_0509.JPG While flying home from Calgary, Alberta Canada today I had the chance to finish reading Tom Vander Ark’s amazing book Getting Smart. In his book he give vivid descriptions of the ‘digital revolution’ coming in our educational system. One part of the book really jumped out at me and reinforced the topic of using relevant contexts to improve student achievement and performance, and increase student motivation and engagement. Vander Ark tells the story in the book of how the U.K. ministry of defense has tapped Lockheed Martin to train all of its aircrew for the next 25 years. There are at least four things that K–12 education can learn from the military and specifically the relationship with Lockheed. First, they really understand how to differentiate. Something that education and specifically many teachers still struggle with. We should be using Lockheed Martin to help us understand how. In their model, Lockheed Martin creates rapid pathways to mastery and the flexibility to test ways to blend different components and types of learning for different types of students.

Secondly, some of the training is conducted to simulate the stress of realistic situations, but with the safety to fail. Our facilitation of learning needs to use more real-world-connected learning—more opportunities for students to see why learning matters and to experience the consequences of actions. It is why my own research in the effects of using agricultural science to teach biology concepts is so important. Students learn at a much high level when taught in relevant contexts with high rigor. Simulations, internships, lab experiences, inquiry based and problem based learning, can all help make learning real. This in turn has the students solving real world problems. Third, the military is really good at job training and preparation. We need to step up our game in the area of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the United States. The military takes a systematic approach to certification. As a former CTE I know the value of these programs. The problem is there is a great deal of variation in the quality of programs from school to school and state to state. These programs need to be leveraged to not only provide certifications, but also the relevant context for teaching the core subjects of math, English language arts, science, and social studies.

Finally, the military is an outstanding example of a learning organization. By learning organization I mean an organization that is constantly learning from others, the team members are learning from each other, is free from risk of failure, and is able to put lessons learned into play. The military has perfected the art of being a reflective practitioner; something we know is important as educators, but rarely take, or make, time to do. The military after action reviews are something that every teacher and school leader should take time to study and learn from. Additionally, the military is great at forming partnerships and have systems in place to learn at a high level from those partnerships.

In conclusion, we need to leverage the partnerships we have in our own states and communities to help us provide the four things we have learned will help us achieve Getting Smart!


Vander Ark, T. (2012). Getting smart. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA.

Learning To Lead Together

Posted in Coaching, Education, Education Reform, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 4, 2014

IMG_0506.JPG As is standard operating procedure for me after some type of professional development, I have written a post reflecting on my learning. The Kappa Delta Pi Learning, Leadership, and Practice: Educating Global Citizens International Research Conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada really caused me to reflect on my own leadership journey. Many of the presentations touched on environments, situations, and leadership that were in place, enabling me to get to where I am today. This post is a compilation of the thoughts I have had over the last couple of days and those of the presenters.

There are really five characteristics that great educational leaders that I have been associated with possess: Passion for learning, Supervisory intentionality, Reflective Conversations, Learning Culture, and High Expectations. Other Characteristics of exemplary leaders include moral purpose and interactive visibility (awareness). Great leaders then coach and mentor learning leaders who are “schooled by the system” so they are ready to move into all leadership positions. These all start at teacher leaders.

Highly effective schools with highly effective teachers promote environments where everyone can be “Learning Leaders.” Everyone in an organization fits into one of these three categories: Aspiring, Beginning, and Experienced Leaders. Because of this coherent and coordinated quality learning opportunities to support school leaders must be a part of career long professional learning. As a leader, we are a leader of learning. As such you have a responsibility to take part in career long learning.

Leadership Matters! School leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on student learning. High performing school leaders regularly lead, sponsor and participate in formal and informal teacher learning. Every person in the school shares the leadership for student success. Great school leaders build a strong connection between learning and the collective leadership. High performing schools have fatter decision making structures. This fatter, more effective structure comes from shared leadership. Shared leadership works through its motivational impact and the school staff works to create structures for collaborative decision making. The school then really becomes a shared learning school.

When a school becomes a shared learning school it can more effectively address three of the most important factors of a school: Learning, Well Being, and Engagement. There are four parts of effectively building a shared learning school and classroom: Setting Direction, Developing People, Redesigning the Organization, and Managing the Instructional Program.

Built correctly, a shared learning school has an instructional ethos where there is an an acute awareness of the instructional actions and an acute awareness of teaching and learning in the school. Then everyone in the school become designers of worthwhile tasks for students.

One Man’s Trash…Leadership is Art!

Posted in Coaching, Leadership, Learning Organization, Strategic Planning by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 3, 2014

IMG_2220I am writing this post while in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for a conference. I am always amazed at how the littlest of events will inspire posts for my blog. Allow me to tell a story of another one of those times. With a little free time I was doing what I do best – explore and be curious. As I was exploring the streets of Calgary I came across an interesting sculpture of a horse outside Saltlik A Rare Steakhouse (I am eating there tonight). I have posted a few pictures of it in this post. It is actually a major work of art in my opinion. Basically, the artist took metal pieces of farm equipment and tools and welded them into this great representation of a horse. Really, it is amazing enough that I probably looked at it and analyzed for about an hour. Now, as a farm boy, let me tell you it is awesome!IMG_2222

When I first viewed it, in awe, I first thought of the old phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” because all of these tools and parts would really be of no value to anyone today, from an agricultural industry point of view. Yet, these worthless pieces of metal were looked at by the keen eye of an artist who saw value and placed the pieces together in perfect harmony to form this magnificent representation of a draft horse.

The longer I gazed at the beast and identified the parts of metal (my dad would have been proud) two other thoughts came to mind. Some leaders, and I consider myself one of these, are artists. We take what we have, what we can find, and what we can develop – whether time, treasures, talent in the form of people, or other resources, and mold those into something amazing. Some call this visionary, but I prefer artist. A visionary is not necessarily an artist. A visionary person can see direction and predict what needs to be done, but can’t always see how to put it all together. Take a close look at the horse and imagine all those pieces lying on the ground. A visionary might say, “let’s make something,” but the artist starts taking the pieces and welding them together while seeing the horse the whole time in her mind. The artist says, let’s make a horse,” and then proceeds to do it. I strive everyday to hone my skills as an artistic leader providing wowful educational leadership.

Another thought I had while looking at the iron equine was all the different pieces that were welded together are like all of the different individuals that make up our teams or organizations. Every piece of metal that makes up this horse had a specific role to play. If you look closely there is a tractor seat, part of a sickle, plow shear, cultivator points, leaf springs, and the list goes on and on. Again, every piece had a role. Sound familiar? This imagery hit me so hard and reminded me how important it is to make sure that every person in your business, organization, or school understands his or her specific role in carrying out the vision, mission, and action plan of the organization. This then empowers your team members to work effectively on high achievement of the key performance indicators (KPI) for your organization.

Next time you are working with your team, take a little time to imagine them all as pieces that come together to build the artwork of a successful organization! If you do that you are not just horsing around!!!IMG_2221

Educating Global Citizens

Posted in Coaching, Education, Education Reform, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 2, 2014

As I write this post I am flying over the beautiful Canadian countryside on my way to Calgary, Alberta, Canada for the Kappa Delta Pi Educating Global Citizens International Research Conference. This will be my first time to Calgary and I just know it is going to be a breathtakingly beautiful place with lots to do. I am super excited to be able to attend this conference. I was turned on to Kappa Delta Pi when I was invited to membership as 2010 Indiana Teacher of the Year. I have even had the opportunity to make professional development videos with KDP on educational leadership, effective student engagement, and highly effective facilitation of learning using technology. Kappa Delta Pi has become an important part of my personal professional development. I am even more excited that I am a conference presenter on my research entitled, “The Impact of Agricultural Science on Student Achievement and Performance in a Biology Class.”

I cannot wait to share the impact that teaching in a relevant, real world context can have on student learning. I have shared the powerpoint and supporting documents as a blog post as well entitled, “#KDPLeads.” Click #KDPLeads to read that post. My goal is to effectively facilitate a discussion and planning session that helps teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders to use relevant contexts to facilitate highly effective learning. Really, shouldn’t that be the goal of the whole conference and all our schools?

Furthermore, I picked the sessions I am going to attend (Conference Program) with one simple goal in mind: I want to learn how to be a better leader of highly effective principals and teachers in our school corporation. To do this, I want to hone my personal call to action of: delivering wowful educational leadership! It is always exciting to go to an international conference. The chance to connect, interact, and learn from leaders all around the globe is exciting. As a believer, promoter, and practitioner of global connectivity and citizenship it is a chance for me to model asset based thinking. In other words, no matter where someone comes from or their cultural orientation, he or she brings assets to the table. And, I for one, want to learn from everyone in attendance at the conference.

With the goal of connecting with everyone, I have created the hashtag #KDPLeads to organize all of my tweets and hopefully others at the conference will tweet their learning and thoughts to this hashtag as well. I am always amazed at what a great professional development tool Twitter is. Even those not in attendance at this conference can follow along and even make comments. How cool is that? So, make sure you follow me at @ByronErnest and learn with me at #KDPLeads.

The great part about belonging to an organization like Kappa Delta Pi is the smorgasbord of professional development it has to offer. These opportunities are so important for teacher leaders and school leaders because your school’s circumstances will dictate the choices made for professional development. It is also important to note the advantage KDP brings to the market because of all the platforms they make available for members to choose from. These range from live, face to face conferences like I am on my way to, to recorded videos that members can watch on their time. This truly differentiates the learning for members. I am a huge believer that professional development must be differentiated for professionals the same way it is differentiated for student learners – both in modality and content.

It always amazes me when I here educational leaders talking about not having time for professional development. I change that to the question of, “There isn’t time to not take part in personal professional development.” The educational landscape changes so quickly that we must stay current and put ourselves in the best position to create learning organizations where we can learn from others. We must be learning from each other’s mistakes, failures, and successes. The bottom line is we must be sharing the knowledge we have created. There is such a sense of urgency that we must have whether turning schools around or moving high achieving schools to the next level. The students and families we serve are so valuable that we must do everything possible to develop our skills so we can perform at the highest level. Isn’t that what we expect from the professionals that serve us – doctors, lawyers, pilots, et cetera?

If you are not doing so, I challenge you to make time to take part in some personal professional development yet this fall!