Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Importance of Professional Development

How do you strive to make improvements in your classroom? When I first started as a teacher, I greatly valued Scholastic's New Teacher website. I loved their calendars of fun activities and their forums that provided me a place to ask questions to improve as a teacher.

After a few years, I was blessed with the opportunity to develop a 1:1 technology program. I joined Twitter and other social networks to develop my personal learning network. I learned from some of the best in Lutheran schools regarding the implementation of a technology program. I am so thankful for those that collaborate and discuss in #luthed each week.

Most recently, I have been working on my master's degree in educational leadership and administration. I enjoy the rigor of the program as well as the experience with educators in public schools. Their knowledge and experience in a setting different than Lutheran schools is of high value to me. Yet, the Christian university still allows me to present my research from a Lutheran perspective.

Now, I am blessed to serve on the Lutheran Educators Association (LEA) elementary leadership team. The LEA organization has long been something that I have valued. While there are many professional learning organizations, LEA provides connections and ideas that are distinctly Lutheran. Shaping the Future discusses topics that are relevant to Lutheran schools and their communities. The forums provide a place for us to seek advice and concepts with other Lutheran teachers.

What form of professional development are you currently using? Consider making a New Year's resolution of 15 minutes per day or 30 minutes per week to grow as an educator. God's blessings on your time of renewal and relaxation during the Christmas season!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Is Your Website Ready for Enrollment Season?

Are you preparing for enrollment season? It is an exciting time of the year - one anticipates all of the new students that may join the school. Teachers eagerly await the students that will rejoin their classes. We are eager for students to know their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

According to Nielson (2011), users often leave Web pages in 10-20 seconds, but pages with a clear plan of action can hold people's attention for much longer. As you are reviewing your school's website, how does your content connect your perspective families to your school? Does the website offer the following:
  1. A form to book a tour on-line.
  2. Contact information for the admissions counselor, principal, or director.
  3. Clearly identify the sections that are for parents, students, and alumni.
  4. Pictures of school spirit and opportunities.
  5. Clear application process for future students.
  6. Donor support forms.
  7. Contact information for other groups in the school community - athletics, music, etc.
  8. Interaction with social networks.
  9. Links that are easy to navigate
  10. A clear message proclaiming Christ
If users have a positive experience with your website, they are more likely to judge it favorably in the future and continuing using it. On the other hand, if they have a poor experience, they will make judgements and be less likely to return. Even if the website is redesigned, the users will still carry that negative expectation with them. What does that mean for schools? A good website can simplify and transfer a great deal of the admissions workload from the office staff to on-line communication. It is also important to be aware of the effects of a poor website on perspective and current families. The school may need to provide additional guidance and encouragement to use the website after a poor experience.

I will also add a shameless plus to join us for #luthed this evening! Vote for the topic at http://luthedchats.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/luthed-twitter-chat-poll-for-1282014/

God's blessings to all of you on your week!

Nielsen, J. (2011). How long do users stay on web pages? http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-long-do-users-stay-on-web-pages/