Yes. A secondary school guy can learn.

Our Teaching-Learning-Innovation department will be doing a book study with our primary school teachers, at their request.  Teachers of PK1 students.  We’re reading Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky A. Bailey.  I enjoyed 31 years in schools before moving to our district office.  Grades 6-12.  No clue about PK1 kids other than my own children.

So I was thinking, “What can I possibly learn from this book study?” With the I being the emphasis. How could I possibly relate to a book about little kids, having spent all my career with older kids and teachers of older kids.

What a knucklehead.  The emphasis in my thinking should have been on the word LEARN.  Of course I can LEARN from this book.  And it took about a half page to bang that into my head.

Here are a couple pictures of the book as I began my assault.  I learned a whole bunch about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).  I’m learning about Emotional States, STAR, Pausing, Survival, Emotional, Executive.  All of which apply to older kids.  All of which apply to adults.


The point was driven home when I watched this video.  About a kid who was a gang leader and a senior in high school.  And I was reminded that, “Relationships are the most important thing in education, they were 50 years ago and they will be 50 years from now. ” .

We start our book study next Monday.  We can’t wait.  In our district, our book studies and professional learning are driven by teacher needs, input, and requests.  Note I said we were invited to lead this book study.  We didn’t decide that this school needed this learning.  They did.  We’re not experts at Conscious Discipline, but we can run great professional learning sessions.  We get to learn right along with the teachers.  The principal and assistant principal get to learn along with their teachers.

This group of educators noticed that the number of kids coming to them were coming with an increased number of ACES.  And they want to learn more about how to better support them, their families, and their learning.

Reminds me of this great quote, “We can’t change who we serve but we can change how we serve them.” @KatieMTLC,  @gcouros

We are changing how we learn.  We are changing how we determine what we learn.

We are changing how we serve them.


Author: Jnelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years.

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