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Dr. Goodin's Multimedia Blog

Blog EntryBlog: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Real Blessing

There are many aspects of my job that I love. Right up there near the top of things that I love are the opportunities I have to interact with students. After all, the reason I got into this business was to teach and work with children. As superintendent these opportunities don't come along as often as I would like, but when they do I am always blessed by the experience. Today, for example, I had the opportunity to read to some second graders from Ms. Dietrich's class at Limerick Elementary School. The students were so attentive as I read them a story titled 'Rocking Horse Land'. I had a great time!. After I finished reading to the students, Ms. Dietrich told me that the students decided to write a book for me. Each student contributed a picture along with a description of the picture. As I read through the book all the students excitedly stood around me and commented on each page. I thought I would bless them by reading to them but the real blessing was their gift to me. It will be one of those things I treasure for the rest of my career. Thank You boys and girls. I will never forget my afternoon in your classroom.

Posted by Dr. Goodin at 3:39 PM | 1 comment
Blog EntryBlog: Friday, February 7, 2014

Winter Tips

With many of our residents and those in neighboring districts without power due to the recent ice storm, I want to take a few moments to remind you of key safety measures when dealing with incidents of freezing temperatures and no heat.
First, if you can, stay with a family or friend with power. We have faced bitterly cold temperatures this winter, and in the next several days will continue to see those plunging numbers. Staying in a home without a heat source can be fatal.
Second, if you are at home with a secondary heat source, be sure to wear several dry layers of clothing. These layers can help you retain body heat and stay warm. If you start to sweat, remove one layer at a time.
Third, don’t leave open flames unattended. Even small candle flames can be the cause of major fires. Any open flame should be within view and away from any loose flammable material, such as curtains. Be sure to blow all flames out before sleeping or leaving your home. This is a good precaution any time of year.
In these difficult times where electricity is not available, great ways to pass the time with your children could include reading together or playing board games. In a world where everything is digital and family time gets shorter and shorter, these are bonding moments with our children that can often be overlooked.
I hope you and your family are staying warm during these cold days and nights.

Posted by Dr. Goodin at 11:45 AM | 0 comments
Blog EntryBlog: Monday, December 16, 2013

'Tis the Season

With the onset of winter comes the possibility of snow and ice. That may be great for skiing, sledding and building snowmen, but not so great for traveling. One of my tasks as a superintendent is to call school delays, early dismissals and cancellations. Sometimes this is an easy task but more often than not I am making an ‘educated’ guess. In the event of possible bad weather I consult with as many people as possible, as well as monitoring weather reports. I will always make the call as early as possible, keeping in mind the safety of students and staff. It would be great if I could make this decision in the evening, but that is often not possible. There have been too many situations when a weather event is ‘hyped’ on the evening news but fails to materialize or be as bad as predicted. When bad weather is anticipated I will get up at 4:30am and watch the local weather. I also receive a phone call from our bus contractor, Custers, and talk to area superintendents to ascertain what they are hearing. This is all happening before 5am. A weather decision is never taken lightly but is made using the best information available at the time. Thank you for your patience and understanding in these situations.

Posted by Dr. Goodin at 12:43 PM | 0 comments
Blog EntryBlog: Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Best Wishes

I have shared with staff many times before that Thanksgiving is certainly my favorite holiday. It is an opportunity to enjoy good food and to be with friends and family. But the reason I think it is my favorite holiday is because the purpose of the day is to simply pause, reflect and give thanks for our many blessings. Like you, I have many things to be thankful for. First and foremost on the list is my thankfulness for our children. Two of our children have returned home and are living with us for a while. There is something very peaceful about knowing where your children are at night and that they are safe. And while my oldest son is out of the military and he and his wife are settling into life in Ashville, North Carolina, my heart is heavy due to another son leaving this week for a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
This Thanksgiving I hope you will join me in giving thanks for those things in life that are precious beyond measure. Take time to mend broken relationships and renew old acquaintances. Take stock of what is really important in life and be thankful for your many blessings.
As I close, I also want to thank all of you for your support of and dedication to this thing that we do collectively called Spring-Ford Area School District. Each one of you adds value and meaning to our district and I thank you for making my time here with you rich and meaningful.
I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving holiday.
Dr. and Mrs. Goodin

Posted by Dr. Goodin | 1 comment
Blog EntryBlog: Friday, October 18, 2013

The Principal's Leadership

The role of the school principal has changed based upon evolving definitions of leadership and the application of these definitions in a school setting. Increased accountability for student learning has broadened the principal’s role from that of compliance monitor (McGeown, 1975) and conflict mediator (Wilcott, 1973) into that of an instructional leader who is primarily responsible for the way teaching and learning occurs. Variables such as teacher working conditions and nurturing interschool and community relations fall under the auspice of the principal who is now held accountable for school success. In effect, the principal is responsible for transforming and improving the entire school organization.
One way to look at the duties of a building principal is through the lens of a three-tiered model, known as developmentally responsive leadership (Anfara, 2006).  The model focuses on the activities of the building principal in relation to the needs of the students, the needs of the faculty, and the needs of the overall school organization. And while the model is specific to leaders in middle schools, the framework is applicable to leaders of elementary and high schools.  In general, principals must have a thorough understanding of the cognitive, emotional, and social development of their students. The second and third tier centers on the concept that due to the special needs of students at particular stages of development, the principal must select and support teachers who meet the needs of developing students. This takes place within an environment that recognizes the individual needs of the staff to be part of a secure community; a community that encourages team building and collegiality. To create this environment, the principal must take into consideration the social, emotional, and professional needs of teachers who are at various stages in their life cycle (Levinson, 1978).
There are several leadership models that can be applied to the activities of school principals. Some models focus on identifying specific traits or behaviors while others focus on the relationship between leaders and their subordinates. In some instances these interactions are transactional, in other, transformational in nature. Each model sheds light upon our overall understanding of educational practices that contribute to overall school achievement. It is important to also remember that a school administrator does not operate in isolation, nor can administrative tasks be examined apart from the rich social context in which these activities occur. Several studies suggest contextual factors have a significant impact upon the overall principal’s leadership style (Firestone & Herriott, 1982; Hallinger & Murphy, 1987; Herriott & Firestone, 1984, Sizer, 1992). Effective principals must be aware of contextual variables, such as poverty, poor health care and inadequate nutrition, to name a few, that can impact negatively upon their students and staff.
What is clear from the research is that the school principal has a significant impact on the overall quality of a school. Fulfilling roles that are complex and multi-faceted, school principals provide the leadership necessary to ensure student success. With that in mind, don’t forget to thank your child’s principal for all they do to promote individual student success, as well as creating a safe, secure and rewarding working environment for all.

Posted by Dr. Goodin at 11:59 AM | 1 comment
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