All posts by drewfrank

Father, Husband, Learner, Teacher, and Child at heart.

Daring Greatly


A new year brings forth abounding NEWs.  New students, new classes, new subjects, new roles, new learning and the NEWs (not to be confused with the news) keep coming, and they are personal to our own experiences.  One way that I love to embrace the NEWs that lay ahead is with a mantra or theme which will help me challenge myself and frame the year.

Two years ago I/we embraced Kid Presidents message shared in Pep Talk for the Heroes (LINK). We challenged each other to #BeMoreAwesome:

  • Be More AWESOME in Pursuit of Your Own Growth.
  • Be More AWESOME in Your Care for the Gifts We Have.
  • Be More AWESOME in Your Pride at Being a Davis Lion.
  • Be More Awesome in The Way We Treat the Members of Our Community.

Last year we used the powerful message delivered by Mark Bezos TED Talk (LINK) to focus on the theme #EVERYDAY acts of kindness and heroism.

  • EVERYDAY presents the opportunity to share kindness with a friend.
  • EVERYDAY presents the opportunity to stretch ourselves and learn something new.
  • EVERYDAY presents the opportunity to take pride in yourself and your surroundings by taking care of both.
  • EVERYDAY be and become the person you can be.
  • EVERYDAY know that I and the amazing team of teachers are here to nurture and support these achievements.

This year my inspiration comes from Brene’ Brown’s book Daring Greatly,  as well as the impetus for the title of the book,  Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” Speech (LINK).

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly”

This powerful message about continuing to grow and evolve is a perfect fit for our school as this year we will see the efforts of our Next Stage Campaign as we open the doors of our amazing new performing arts center, cafeteria, sanctuary, and adaptive learning spaces. Our students, teachers, parents, and our whole community are in the arena and are daring greatly each day to make this school the best it can be. Early in Brene Brown’s book she poses two powerful questions which I believe tie in directly to this speech and I plan to use as the key reflection tools behind our Daring Greatly theme.

  1. What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
  2. What’s worth doing even if you fail?

In a year during which our students and school community will undoubtedly meet “the triumph of high achievement”, I want to challenge all members of the community to answer these questions, embrace the lessons and learning that come from failure, and most importantly to Dare Greatly.

Fill Your Bucket



As a kid I loved the endless days and weeks of summer.  Camp, pool parties, family trips and very few rules or bed times.  These 10 weeks filled my joy meter, and set me on the path to a great successive year in school.

As a parent, I am enjoying watching my children immersed in this same ritual.  Though only a month in to their summer they are enjoying the freedom of activity and procedures to fill their joy meter.

As an educator, my view on the duration of summer is certainly a little more realistic (if not sometime cynical), though my desire to fill my meter (bucket) in order to best prepare for the successive year has not changed.  With that in mind, and the relaunch of #blogamonth (which I hope will be a sustaining force in my “bucket” level), I share my response to the July topic:

“What are you doing this summer to grow, refuel, and prepare for 2016-17?”


  1. Edcamps

I love Edcamp.  I love the format, discussions, passion, multiple perspectives, varied experience levels, and different functions and environments in which participants come to edcamp from.   I am a fan of any format that recognizes and embraces the idea that the smartest person in the room should always be the room.  Thus I am headed to 3 Edcamps this summer, and I would attend more if they were geographically convenient:

Edcamp Leadership Alabama

Edcamp Organizers Summit

Edcamp Fayette


  1. TedED Challenge

This is the second year that I will be participating in the July TedED challenge in which a 4-6 minute Ted video and lesson is delivered to my email each day.  I enjoyed the range of topics that were presented last year, and I always love finding great videos to use and share.  This year I am excited to have my son attempting the challenge with me.


  1. Reading

Reading over the summer is certainly not a new or different method of filling my bucket, but this year it has taken on a few special purposes to heighten the learning.  First, Stacy Brown (@21ststacy) and I will be hosting to parent book clubs during the upcoming year.  The two books (Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and The Circle by Dave Eggers) are a part of two different book club professional development strands (opportunities) that teacher may participate in as well.   Second, I will be writing a book review (Quiet Power by Susan Cain) for SAIS.  Hereto I am thrilled by the contrast in topics and styles of these three authors.  Lastly, and certainly ongoing, I am reading the fantastic blogs and articles of the PLN I learn from and with.


  1. Lastly but certainly not lastly

Nothing fills my bucket like spending time, playing cards and grilling out with my family and friends while trying to make the most of each day. The summer is blessedly full of time for our family to be and laugh together, to host and hang with friends, and time for a game of cards or two (J).


If you would like to join in the Edu-couragement? Join the #blogamonth group for monthly topics and tons of support!

The path back to reflection


Two years ago I was fortunate enough to be a part of a vibrant blogging PLN.

Welcome to #blogamonth – We are a diverse #PLN of teachers, administrators, coaches and more.  We connect to provide each member with some “edu-couragement” to write a blog and comment on a blog at least once a month.  We are always looking for new member to share in our growth and learning.

This commitment to my own reflection and growth and that of my PLN members was amazingly impactful.  Over the past few years, I have found my own posting, my commenting, and my saturation in this form learning waning.  While I have certainly filled this time with other work, life, and alternative learning avenues, I feel the loss of this collegial and reflective avenue.

Why blog?

Blogging is an inherently reflective activity that forces the author to examine their actions and emotions as they relate to events or ideas.  As teachers we need to be engaged in and model reflective practice so as to best meet the needs of all of our students.  Blogging allows us to share our thoughts, our challenges, and our successes with a global audience.  It offers transparency in to our humanity and fallibility, and it enables the potential for meaningful connection both internally with the community we serve and externally in to a larger community to we which we can both offer and receive support.

Recently I have been approached by a number of members of #blogamonth with the desire to recreate the PLN and the Edu-couragement/commitment that is associated with it.  I look forward to re-launching this effort and learning together.

I have cleared out our pre-existing list (except for participants who have been in touch with me and wanting to reinstate this effort), so as to include only those who want to participate.  If you would like to join or rejoin in the Edu-couragement? Join the #blogamonth group for monthly topics and tons of support!


The Network Sherpa Experience by Leah


My name is Leah. I am one of the Davis Network Sherpas. I remember the first meeting we had. I was the only girl out of five Sherpas. Being a Sherpa is really fun because it is a great learning experience. Every time we have a meeting, we learn something new. It is a great learning experience not only for the other Network Sherpas but also for the teachers that we help. Sometimes the teachers even learn from the kids! Today, we learned about servers. It was very interesting. We learned about where all of our documents go after the children at Davis save them. We learned about all the telephones in the school, which was also very interesting. Also, the Network Sherpas will be learning about imaging next Thursday. I am so excited for that subject. Even though I am the only girl, the boys are good to work with because they are really smart and really nice. At home, my dad and I love to build things together. For example, last year we made a menorah. It isn’t just your run of the mill menorah, however. He programmed each candlestick to light for a certain amount of time for each night. It was beautiful to look at and really easy to use. Even though being a Network Sherpa is fun, we still have to be at school before the doors open. We have our meetings before school starts. I don’t know how we learn so much in just thirty minutes! In my opinion, I think younger Davis students should grow up to love building robots and all the other gizmo gadgets that are out there. I think the younger students who would love to do what I do at Davis should sign up to be a Davis Network Sherpa. I have a little advice for the younger kids: never stop believing in yourself and don’t get frustrated when things don’t go your way. If you fail the first time, try try again. Thank you for learning a little bit about our Network Sherpa program and remember, never stop trying.

Faculty DEAR Time 2015


Each week I am fortunate to have time allocated to sit with each of my grade level teams to discuss our students, programs, and ideas for the future.  This week we used this collective time for our own enjoyment, learning, and sharing.  Instead of the normal agenda of topics which I raise and the questions which each team brings to share with me, I gathered a selection of articles/blogs from a diverse group of education sources and topics (jointly curated by myself and by recommendations of my team throughout the year), laid out sweets and snacks, and we all spent time in DEAR (drop everything and read) time.  Each teacher chose the articles (as many as they wanted) that interested them and we spent 20 silent minutes reading.  After this we engaged in a discussion about the items and the points the resonated with us.  While the meetings were tied together by the common titles shared, the organic discussions were unique to each grade level.  Further, that the reading and conversations evoked not only professional learning and sharing, but in a number of instances also inspired some personal sharing, benefited our community by creating a space and time where we could grow closer to each other as a result of such sharing. The discussions have been fabulous, and there have been many requests for more opportunities to repeat this process in the future.

Thank you to the amazing educators who share their passion with me regularly through their writings, and helped make this learning experience so positive for all of our teachers.


  1. 5 Ways to Lay the Foundation for Innovation #InnovatorsMindset by @gcouros
  2.  6 Truths about Technology in Education by @ajjuliani
  3.  10 myths undermining #education… by @justintarte
  4.  10 Questions We Should Ask Ourselves about Homework by @LitCoachLady
  5.  (Digital) Identity in a World that No Longer Forgets by @courosa & @kbhildebrandt
  6.  For Students, the Importance of Doing Work That Matters by @willrich45
  7.  Manifesto 15 Evolving Learning by @manifesto_15
  8.  Social Consequences of Food Allergy by @creativitypost
  9.  The 4 Properties of Powerful Teachers by @chronicle
  10.  The Gutenberg Pause is almost over by @prmurphy
  11.  The Open Door Isn’t Always Open by @chrislehmann
  12.  The Opportunities for Empathy in the Classroom by @terryheick
  13.  Want to keep your new middle-schooler out of trouble? Then let them take risks by @michelleicard
  14. When Schools Overlook Introverts by @TheMrGodsey
  15. Write, Erase, Do It Over: On Failure, Risk and Writing Outside Yourself by @MsToniMorrison