The First Days of School


As author and speaker, Patrick Lencioni, shared, some things change and some things remain the same. 

Let's take a look.

Our purpose as educators remains constant. We are here to make a difference. In Konocti that means teaching and leading in a way that teaches content and character.

Due to Covid-19 and distance learning, some of the strategies and priorities have shifted. Training began to emphasize an increase in one's technology skillset.

 In terms of the needs that remain the same:

1. People want to belong

2. People want to contribute

3. People want to see and measure that contribution


As Victor Uribe shred by Diane, The Night Before Distance Learning.
       Twas the night before distance learning

and all through the town

everyone was thinking

how will this go down?

Students and parents and teachers all wonder.

Can I make this work? What if I blunder?

Passwords, logins - do I have it all ready?

Easy now, take a breath, remember to be steady.

There will be blips, there be unknowns, 

but we're in this together, you are not alone!

One day at a time, this is not a race, 

a new journey for all, so please give grace.

Grace to yourself and grace to each other.

We will get through this one way or another.

Students want to learn,

and teachers want to teach,

families need to work,

so it may be a reach.

But, patience and respect will guide us through

this strange experience that is new.

I'll say it again (and many more times), 

we'll work this out....things will be just fine.

Here we go folks, this could be a while.

Just remember to be kind, and of course......to smile

   Slow and steady and surely....................


Distance Learning in March

 As we figure out routines and as we make meaning of the new situation, I thought I would share some messages that I found to be inspiring.

Find important resources at the bottom of this page


Slow yet Steady and Sure

Sure and steady takes on multiple meanings.

1.) Personally, it meant building a schedule and getting used to a structured schedule from home. I find comfort and feel less "lost" when I have a schedule. So........
on Monday and Tuesday, I will be on campus
Since I am "on-call"  the remainder of the week, Wednesday - Friday, I  will try working from 8:30 - 2:30. I will try two hours of lesson planning, two hours of giving feedback and marking student work, and two hours of office time (answering and writing emails, answering and making phone calls. I have also set time aside to attend different scheduled virtual meetings as part of my weekly work schedule.

The week of March 30 will be my first full week at this schedule. I will keep you posted. As I imagine the transition to distance learning and sheltering in place will bring its ebb and flow of emotions for me.

2.) Professionally, it meant breathing, lots of breathing, as I figure out this distance learning thing. I was inundated with 100s of offers and supports regarding digital platforms and free online resources.  I felt obligated to design a central plan for instruction and develop a central plan for support - and two weeks ago.
I watched the staff at each site and in each department experience a similar set of tumultuous emotions.
I wanted to fix the situation for everyone instantaneously.
I wanted to have the answers for the staff right at the moment.
I wanted the students to feel the support and love.
I wanted to equip them with the internet and a device.
I wanted the students to find the instruction, the resources, and the necessary scaffolds to engage and succeed in their learning.

And you can imagine the trials and tribulations as I watched video after video and then tried to emulate the directions to successfully enter the world of Google Classroom......and to successfully run my first Google Meet or Zoom session.

You know like when I assigned all my assignments for students in the post and announcement sections.

Or when I loaded that video but none of my students could see the video link.

Or when I started my first Google Meet and I am talking away while no one can hear me but they can see my lips moving. Right, I forgot to unmute my sound.

It is okay to be laughing right now.

So in response to the above emotions, I am coming to terms with the situation in the following way:
  • We are building the plane as we fly.
  • We all have huge hearts and great intent to figure how how to continue to best serve our students academically and social-emotionally.
  • It is worth figuring "this" out together. Collaboration and working together is more paramount than ever.
  • I continue to be impressed with how the people of Konocti continue to rise to the challenge and join together.


  • Nearly 100% of the staff at LLHS have embraced learning and using Google Classroom as a viable and sustainable way to teach students while apart.
  • Instructional coaches continue to wrap their heads around supporting staff in their delivery of good instruction.
  • Site principals and staff show up every Monday for the face to face or virtual staff meeting.
  • Transportation and Food Services did not skip a bit in nourishing students each and every day.
  • Custodial staff maintain their unwavering commitment to ensuring the buildings are not only clean but safe and sanitary for staff, students, and families
  • Library Media Specialists upgrading the on-line resources and books through their website at destiny.konocti.org
  • The department office staff and site office staff who's presence and knowledge allow the essential daily business to continue each and every day. 
I could continue the highlights. This is not an exhaustive list. I want to paint the picture that every member of Konotic Unified is contributing to the well-being of our students, whether assisting in the distance learning and/or to the meal services. Konocti Unified = you are amazing!

What Else Am I Discovering? 

1. Collaboration. I think about all the structures that Konocti Unified already had established to support and collaborate.
For example, when school was in session, each site principal held site collaboration every other Thursday. The collaborative time was usually devoted to instructional practices and planning.  With school still session yet from afar, such conversations and planning can still happen through a virtual platform like Zoom or GoogleMeets

2Quality First Instruction

While instruction and learning maybe from afar now, principals and teachers are still striving to afford effective instruction and we are still striving for s student engagement.  For example, we know that with good instruction, we still need to arrange for some type of instruction explaining and showing students what is expected and how to succeed.......maybe it is to model reading the passage and the annotating for certain information...... or maybe it is to teach and show them how to solve two-step equations. 
For good instruction, we know then that we still need to let students practice that passage and annotation or practice solving those two-step questions. 
For good instruction, we know we still need to monitor the student learning and progress and respond accordingly and in a timely fashion.

3. Deep Student Learning and Well-being

Staff still want students to learn at deep levels. With success in their academics, well-being often also resides. 
We still want students to be engaged and actively participate in their own learning journeys.  
We still want students to have the “know-how” to be resourceful in tackling the work, to get unstuck if they hit a problem, and to accurately complete the assignments. 
As teachers, we still want to monitor student work and give feedback to their progress. Such attention and feedback not only improve the academics, but the attention and feedback can also foster a sense of belonging and importance,  and a sense of accomplishment.

Remember that many of the on-line resources are being updated and housed in one handy location.

Here is the link to the on-line resources for students and families http://konoctiusd.org/?p=10618
The students can find the information on the front page of the Konocti Website.

The staff can find their information under the tab "distance Learning" which is housed under the tab STAFF which can found at both the Konocti website and can be found at each of your school's respective sites.
Here is the link to the on-line resources for staff http://konoctiusd.org/?page_id=10610&preview=true

The Folder with staff resources is being updated weekly. 

In the Staff resources folder, you can also find incredible helpful information and how-to guides for some of the virtual platforms such as Google Classroom, Zoom, and Googe Meets, uTube Video.

Please continue to share your valuable resources and how-to information with me. I will work towards compiling the information into this one location so that it can be readily shared with all staff throughout Konocti.

"In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi


The Month of March and Spring is Here

As the flowers start to blossom, let the well-being and academic success also blossom here in Konocti   

The buzz in the classrooms and throughout the hallways ought to be about the noticeable gains students are making in their behavior, academics, and social-emotional well-being. 

As I travel around, I hear and see students:
  • Describing their grade level concept (ie. figuring our proportions and ratios)
  • Reading interesting and grade-level passages and answering questions that demonstrate their comprehension
  • Being intrigued by viruses and bacteria that their own bodies carry.
As I work with the instructional coaches and site principals, I see their excitement as they learn more about what Great First Instruction is, and I feel their renewed commitment to Great First Instruction that caused Deep Student Learning.

Remember your site leaders and your central office leaders commit to:
** Supporting the ability to plan and delivery Good First Instruction 
** Ensuring and monitoring of Quality First Instruction and Deep Student Learning

What do your daily actions say about your knowledge, your abilities, and your core beliefs?

I want my knowledge, skill, and actions to convey this about my core values:
- Let's "do whatever it takes"
- All students can learn and can learn at high levels
- Make decisions based on current literature and action research
- It will take a collaborative and collective effort


The Month of Love and Learning Here in Konocti

February 2020

In wanting to make a difference, Konocti resumed the 2020 school year focussing on key instructional practices that can highly help us in achieving our goal every student making one year's gain or more.

Instructional Focus
1. Teacher Clarity
2. Teacher-student relationships
3. Formative Assessment practices
4. Effective Feedback

This school year, Konocti is particularly focused on all of the strategies or ways for formative assessment practices. Such strategies that fall under formative assessment practices:
let the teacher can monitor and check for learning throughout the daily lesson.
get more students more involved in their learning journey.
let the student process and practice which is needed to cement their learning let teachers know how their students are progressing.

Some examples of the formative assessment practices are the following:
the use of whiteboards
table talk
the use of the non-volunteer selection

The Leadership support: to support this instructional focus, the principals, instructional coaches, and I made a commitment to:
1. Plan and/or participate in the necessary professional learning
2. Ensure effective implementation of the above instructional practices and strategies

How: To fulfill these commitments, the principals, coaches, and I meet every month to review the instructional focus, identify the leadership supports, review evidence of a relation between the support and the level of instruction and the level of student growth and achievement.

Some of the leadership supports may be the following:
1. Site workshop
2. After school workshop
3. Site collaboration
4. Grade level and department collaboration
5. Visiting classrooms and giving feedback
6. Modeling a lesson
7. Team planning a lesson
8. Team teaching a lesson

Evidence to monitor the effectiveness of leadership support based on instructional improvement and student growth:
1. Observe classrooms
2. Observe using the district walk-thru guide
3. Interview students
4. Interview staff
5. Star Renaissance reading results
6. IAB results
7. Math results on common assessments
8. writing samples
9. Other student work samples
10.Video clips of class instruction
11. Professional Development Training Days

The purpose of the Professional Learning on January 29:

1. Since it always takes a group of people working together with a common purpose in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration to get extraordinary things done, Konocti has designed and offered this all-day staff development day on January 29.
2. Continue to gain knowledge, skill, and confidence.
3. Utilize the new knowledge and skill in our daily work.
4. Hold a greater impact on the well-being and academic success for all of our students.

As such, people gained some new knowledge in the morning sessions. I know I did. People shared the following:
1. We learned or were reminded of six strategies to use when teaching math (let kids show their understanding in a concrete way, using a pictorial, using symbols, using academic vocabulary). Now I will incorporate one of the six strategies in my daily and weekly lessons.
2. We learned and revisited teh way you read a text three times. Now I will incorporate different questions to serve the purpose for each read.
3. We looked at the new requirements of our program. Now I will look to incorporate some of the new skills into my daily and weekly instruction.
4. I saw how I can use close read to unpack word problems in math. Now I will look to dissect the word problem with students using the close read technique.
5. I was reminded about the use of showing students what success looks like, Now I will look to bring in models for the students, and draw step by step with the students.

I look forward to seeing the new learning being tried in our classrooms and at our school sites. I am confident the students will respond well.

The common goals and the common instructional pillars, the leadership and teacher support, the monitoring of instructional growth and student learning, is all done out of love!


Happy Holiday Season

Tis the Season

    The Holiday Season can bring a mix of emotions. Some people may associate sadness with this time of year, and others may associate hope with the Holiday Season. The next 15 days of school in Konocti Unified can provide a consistent, stable and safe haven for adults and students. School and work can be a refuge where people connect. School and work can be that place where people feel accomplished as a thriving a student or as a quality teacher; as a skilled bus driver or as the gracious secretary.

School and work can be that joyous abode where we notice four strengths of a person before recognizing one way we can each grow. School and work can be a zone of challenge and complexity yet an area where efforts are appreciated, mistakes are honored, and improvement is galvanized.


All that I Want During the month of December Here in Konocti:

(A gift from the teacher to the student)

  1. My teacher to state the goal and recognize my efforts
  2. My teacher to say "great to see you".
  3. My teacher to stop at my desk and say "let's take a look 
  4. My teacher to see that I am "good" at something
  5. My teacher to say thank you for............

(A gift from the student to the teacher)

  1. My students to recognize my efforts and give the lesson/activity a try
  2. My students to complete the class assignment
  3. My students engage in the day's lecture, collaboration, and  practice
  4. My students to know that I do see them and that I do care
  5. My students to stop and say thank you for.............
(A gift from staff member to staff member)
  1. My colleagues to speak highly of each other.
  2. My principal to visit my classroom and give me some guidance
  3. My colleague or coach to sit and plan with me
  4. My colleague to highlight a recent accomplishment