Sunday, September 28, 2014


This week was an exciting week as I started meeting with and coaching educators.  The opportunity to have rich conversations revolving around best practice in the classroom and seeing it through are second to none.  I am incredibly excited about coaching and working with educators in Music, Art, PE and Health this year as part of the TLC grant.

Coaching this week included the following:
  • Discussion, observation and further discussion revolving around transitions in the classroom.
  • Discussion led to solutions for performance based formative assessment grading vs. behavior grading.
  • Helped an educator to better understand the new grading program Infinite Campus.  While working on this the discussion turned to standards based grading and placing the responsibility for learning on the students.  This will open up opportunities for the educator to work 1:1 with students.
  • Model Taught a lesson on a syncopated rhythm pattern which turned into rich discussion regarding teaching strategies and student engagement.

With the discussion and model teaching that I did this past week, I created a form and sent out to all PE, Art, and Music educators in our district K-12.  I am so excited about the opportunity to help our educators grow and reflect on their craft. 

Community Engagement: Music Ed Summit

 On Monday, September 22, 6 elementary music educators from the Sioux City School District, myself and 3 representatives from local districts, met with Ryan Haskins, and board members of the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra for the first ever Music Ed Summit.  Discussion points included:  the state of music education, performing ensembles from the Sioux City Symphony in the schools, performances that our 4th and 6th grade students attend at the Orpheum, and opportunities for families from our schools to attend the symphony concerts due in part to the Gilchrest grant.  We are incredibly thankful for the partnership that we have with the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra for our students.  We look forward to strengthening that partnership.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Observing Programs: Great Things are Happening

What an honor to be able to go to each building and see the great things that our educators and students are doing in the Sioux City Community School District.  Every day when I am out in the schools, I am absolutely amazed!  Here are only a few snapshots of what I have been able to observe this fall.  I have witnessed amazing education going on in our schools.

This past week, I was sitting in an elementary art class.  As one of the children colored on their paper while learning about colors, another child said, "you can't color one color over the other".  The educator walked over and encouraged the child to explore further.  It was amazing to see the dialogue, inquiry and amazement as the child discovered the two colors made a third.  Thank you to the educator in the classroom that helped coach not only that child, but every child in the room.

Professional Development: Standards Based Grading and Unwrapping the Standards

Over the past week I have enjoyed working with the Middle School Art, Music and PE educators in our district.  Each content area met for a full day this past week to better understand Standards Based Grading and to begin "Unwrapping" our new National Core Arts Standards, National PE Standards and aligning with the Iowa Core.  The discussions have been very rich revolving around student achievement and the whole child.   While "Unwrapping" our new standards we had some very candid discussions regarding the focus on students creating, guiding and applying their learning.  I cannot wait to continue these discussions over the course of this year!

MS Art Educators understanding the "Unwrapping" Process

Community Engagement: Partnership with the Sioux City Symphony

This past week we welcomed the String Quartet into three of our buildings and throughout the next couple of weeks they will have played for all of our 3-5th grade students in all of our elementary buildings.

What a fantastic way for our students to have a live performance brought to them.  This opportunity to connect with live musicians and music they have been studying in music class is second to none!  Here is a link to the segment KMEG did on our great partnership -

I look forward to continuing our partnership and providing our kids an opportunity to hear and experience live music.

Sioux City Symphony String Quartet Playing for Sioux City Students.

Arts and Community Engagement Program Coordinator Vision

What an incredible journey!  When I began this position, I was tasked with creating a vision of how I would provide key leadership and support to educators, principals and central office staff along with coordinating activities and engaging our community.   Through this position I am so fortunate to work with educators in the areas of Art, Music, Physical Education and Health, administrators, and members of our community.


As part of the Iowa Teacher Leadership Grant, the Sioux City Community School District was one of the first schools awarded this grant.  I am excited to share the work of my leadership position, Arts and Community Engagement Program Coordinator, through this blog.