In Mark’s powerful TEDTalk, A Life Lesson from a Volunteer Firefighter, he states, “Not every day is going to give us the chance to save somebody’s life, but every day gives us the opportunity to affect one”.

This message is the basis for this year’s Davis Middle School theme, #EVERYDAY.

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.


6th Grade – EVERYDAY Explore

Explore yourself and your passions.  The Davis Academy Middle School offers a myriad of outlets for self-exploration.  Whether you shine on the stage, thrive on the soccer field, dig deep into the works of ancient and current literature, or create amazing digital and tactile art, make sure that EVERYDAY you explore.  In a few short weeks, we will board kayaks with friends to journey in Charleston’s harbor and in a blink of an eye we will be boarding rafts with your brothers and sisters to raft down the Jordan River.  EVERYDAY Explore.

7th Grade – EVERYDAY Commit

Commit to yourself.  Seventh grade is a year of higher expectations both spiritually and academically.  In Judaism, for most, this will be the year of the Bnai Mitzvot.  Seventh graders will make a commitment to the Jewish people to embody the history, values, and lessons of the Torah.  This is a year of commitment to school as well.  A commitment to higher expectations and higher stakes, as this year will help shape both high school decisions and acceptances.  EVERYDAY Commit to being the best you.

8th Grade – EVERYDAY Cherish

Cherish the last lap in the journey.  Whether this is year two or year ten at The Davis Academy, cherish the relationships that have been created between friends, teachers, and with oneself.  Cherish the opportunity to be leaders, both at The Davis Academy and in the larger community.  Cherish the memories that have been made and the unbelievable ones ahead as we experience our Kehillah on Kallah at Coleman, through community service with our Marist peers, and in our homeland. EVERYDAY Cherish.


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.



#EduLS #Oneword #blogamonth – Lions, and Tigers, and Bears OH MY!!!


As the New Year begins and the students return to school there is amazing energy and enthusiasm for the learning, growing and possibilities to come. So too are the professional growth possibilities that I find in my inbox, twitter stream, feedly list, voxer…etc.  While I am thrilled and eager to dive right in to this learning, I am cautious and conscious of the struggle I had the last few months to maintain the pace and engagement level in all of these learning spaces.   I am not planning on vacating any of these learning spaces, but I am aware that I need to find the right balance between the wind sprints of learning that occur at the start of a new idea and the marathon that is a lifetime of professional and personal growth.

I am thrilled to see that Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd) has brought the #summerls learning series back in the form of a year round learning series #eduLS. Moreover, I am thankful to the many members of my 2014 #blogamonth PLN and to those that reached out and asked us to continue it into 2015.  And thus I set out on 2015 with my first post responding to both of these great learning communities.

My one word for 2015 is FUEL.

  1. Fuel to empower my thirst for learning and growing.
  2. Fuel to encourage the amazing team I work with to reach for (and sometimes fail) in their own growth, secure in the knowledge of my support.
  3. Fuel to inspire students to become what they can be and not settle for “good enough”.
  4. And most importantly, fuel to be the best husband and father I can be.

To all who will be learning with me in 2015, I thank you for contributing Fuel to my learning and growth and I hope to be able to return the gesture in kind.

Faculty DEAR Time



5 People by Dennis Schug @DJrSchug

5 Things Parents and Teachers Need to Know About the New American Dream by AJ Juliani @ajjuliani

A Soft Answer by Terry Dobson

And I Keep Going by Krissy Venosdale @venspired

Channeling Springsteen: Teachers As Performers by Gabrielle Emanuel @nprnews

Growing up gifted with ADHD by Dana Olney-Bell @greatschools

Identity, Love, and Catfishing by Alec Couros @courosa

It’s Us, Not Them: How Student Failure May Reflect You by @ValeriaBrownEdu

My 10 Dreams for My Son’s Education by Justin Tarte @justintarte

No One Prepared Me for This by Amanda Kruysman @coachhkay

Patience for Learning by George Couros @gcouros

Schools Should be Like Netflix, Not Blockbuster by AJ Juliani @ajjuliani

Snags and Jagged Edges by Traci Logue @Fearless_Teach


Keeping the Fire Blazing!!!



How do we maintain enthusiasm and engagement that is inherent in the beginning of the year throughout the first few months?  How do we prolong first-week excitement?  How do we sustain wonder once newness starts to lose its shiny sheen?   How do we sustain our own energy as we become cognizant of the marathon rather than the sprint that we are engaged in?  These questions are at the heart of our September #blogamonth topic.


To start a fire we must have spark.  The flint in a learning community is passion.  Passionate teachers who are dedicated to not only their students learning but their continued growth and development.  At the beginning of the year, enthusiasm for the year ahead may masquerades as passion, but the spark that this enthusiasm offers is often short lived and time constrained.   True passion, is a near constant source of spark that can be called again and tapped into again and again throughout the year.


Even with a great fire starting tool and successful ignition sparks, there will be no fire without tinder.  The quality of your fire is at least equally reliant if not more reliant on the quality and fire receptivity of the tinder you have as it is to the igniter.  In our setting, the tinder is the learning culture.  How receptive are the students, teachers, administrators, and parents to the great passions presented by other stakeholders?  How quickly are we ignited by the power of a wonderful idea or conversely how quickly are these passionate sparks extinguished?


Oxygen is the life source of fire.  Deprive the fire from “breathing” and its light and heat will smolder.   For schools, the community must serve as the oxygen by which the passions are fed, maintained and spread.

How do we keep the fire going, growing, and creating a new?

Similar to a fire we must combine all three components to keep the engagement and investment in our schools.

Flint – We must offer opportunities for all members of the school community to have opportunities to share their passion and have the voice heard.

Tinder – We must create and maintain collaborative cultures of learning in which individual teacher’s passions are supported, appreciated, and received by others in the community.

Oxygen – We must support the great passions of our stakeholders by community investment.  This investment is not inherently one of finances, though it can be, rather it is an implication that we must honor the passions of our stakeholders by moving from idea to action as a community.

The intersection of these three components enables a school to maintain the first week excitement throughout the year; affords all stakeholders the opportunity to learn, grow, and dream with support; provides for a dynamic and engaging student experience; and always provides a source for a good roasted marshmallow.


Reenactment of 2nd Continental Congress


What:  8th Grade Reenactment of 2nd Continental Congress

56 delegates from 13 colonies meet in Philadelphia to determine whether the actions of the British Parliament and Crown are justified.  It’s May 1775 and the Battles of Lexington and Concord have taken place and our natural rights have been violated. We’ll meet to determine “where to go from here”…

 When:   Friday, October 3rd from 8:30–11:30 EST

Connect?: follow and ask questions of moderator and delegates

Twitter – #davis8

GHO – (if you would like your class to join live and engage with the delegates, please email me dfrank@davisacademy.org and I will invite you to the GHO)

Moderator will be tweeting live updates to hashtag #davis8 please feel free to follow along and ask questions of the moderator (@mrbarry628) or of the delegates (8th grade students)



On Monday, (@steinatdavis) will be engaging the (@davis_academy) students in a social inequality activity. The students will be connecting the lessons and learning from their summer reading of “Watsons go to Birmingham” with the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.

“As we are currently evaluating the characters in the book, the PTSD that the main character endures, and how the bombing changes everyone we will talk about (a) what has and has not changed since 1963? (b) Do we have enough facts to take a ‘side’ in the Missouri case? (c) How do we examine this situation with our lens of righteousness (this is one of our 5 core school values)?”

Students will tweet throughout the lesson and day using the hashtag #togetherwecanchange, and we will end the day connecting with Bob Dillon (@ideaguy42) and some of his colleagues who work in the school system in and around Ferguson via google hangouts for firsthand accounts.

Please join with us in the learning by following and contributing to  #togetherwecanchange!!!


Life, Learning, and Laughter Enthusiast

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