So, this is Christmas (14 personal and professional gifts I received in 2014)

So, this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun -John Lennon

In these last few days and moments of 2014, my thoughts have swirled around how blessed I have been. So without further ado, I present the 14 personal and professional gifts I have recieved in 2014.

  1. Family: I am truly blessed to spend every day with my lovely wife and two adorable daughters. Our house is full of laughter, hugs, and kisses.
  2. Friends: I have more (and better) than anyone deserves.
  3. Health: I feel good.
  4. My basic needs (and my family’s) are not only met, but exceeded.
  5. Comforts: From musical instruments, to tech and toys… I’m spoiled.
  6. Perfect job for me: I took a leap of faith to leave the school where I spent nearly my entire career for an incredible opportunity. I joined the lowest performing school in our district as part of a turnaround effort. I miss my former colleagues, but PB is where I am meant to be.
  7. Work with great administration: I’m so lucky to work for an administration team who have both their heads and hearts in the right place.
  8. Work with great faculty: Our faculty (the vast majority of whom are new to our school) are positive and energetic. We have a tough job ahead of us, but we can do it!
  9. Work with a coaching team: So pleased to work every day with my coaching colleagues, Donna and Lisa. Every day is difficult, but so fun and so worth it.
  10. Our students: While challenging and sometimes frustrating, our students are special and inspire our work every day.
  11. My PLN: Twitter and LinkedIn have both introduced and deepened my understanding of many issues in education and, more importantly, have connected me to hundreds of intelligent, friendly people.
  12. This blog: As I write my posts, this blog has provided me an outlet for reflection, fostered new connections, and pushed my thinking about coaching.
  13. Working with outside folks: I’ve had the privelige of doing good work with some great people from outside my school district. Many thanks to the folks at TeachBoost, the MQI Coaching Research Team at Harvard University, and REACH Associates.
  14. The future: All of this looking back has me excited for all the good to come in 2015!

Take it, John…

So, this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Lets hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

John Lennon – Happy Christmas (war is over)


I think we’re alone now!

“I think we’re alone now
There doesn’t seem to be anyone around”-Tommy James and the Shondells


I was recently at a meeting of instructional coaches and was reminded of one of the hardest parts of our job: Working alone.

It might seem odd. Coaching is a role in education where, unlike many of your colleagues, you actually get to talk to adults in the school. But most coaches feel alone in their school.

Some coaches are fortunate to work in a coaching team.  At my school, I am one of the lucky ones and greatly enjoy the conversations, colleaguial planing, and camaraderie.

For those of you who feel all alone, a few suggested strategies to fight the loneliness:

  • Partner with someone in your school in a similar role. Plan to meet on a regular basis.
  • Take advantage of your district coaches meetings (formal or informal)
  • Journal: Write for reflection, write for planning, just write.
  • Twitter: Search and follow other coaches (@ecsandberg11 perhaps) or join in on a weekly twitter chat. #educoach is one of the best!
  • Blog: read one and join the conversation with comments or write one of your own!
  • Critical Friend: Make a plan with a trusted colleague to communicate and problemsolve on a regular basis. Agree that all that is said or written will be confidential. Meet in a format the works for you, face to face, by phone or Skype, even by email

These are just a few suggestions.  I would love to hear your ideas. You can submit them through the comments button below. In the meantime, take care of your self and remember that you are not alone!

I wanna get it through to you,

You’re not alone.

I’m gonna get it through to you,

You’re not alone  -Mavis Staples