Sunday, May 20, 2018

Region 5 Conference

Plant it!  On April 19th, NCAEE Region 5 educators came together for fun, food, and fellowship all centered around planting a growth mindset in our classrooms.  Breakout sessions included topics such as establishing a growth mindset in the content area classroom and growing teacher leaders. Bruce Carroll and Aaron Burr, Davidson County administrators, presented on teacher leadership and said the conference had “energetic participants that clearly cared about self growth and building their capacity to affect the students in their care.” Going along with the growth mindset theme, attendee Janell Willard said the workshop she joined “emphasized the ‘power of yet,’ the key to our students' success in everyday problem solving and STEM activities.”

Keynote Michael Beadle wowed the crowd with an interactive poetic presentation.  In celebration of April being National Poetry Month, Michael performed the poem, “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll with the assistance of audience members.  The audience volunteers hilariously put their spin on Michael’s recommended character movements, which reinforced how interactive poetry is engaging for children and adults. As one attendee said, “something simple like a poem… can turn into a dynamic experience for your students.” Michael’s enthusiasm for poetry was a refreshing reminder of the power of poetry for many struggling students.

Another takeaway was Michael’s explanation of “amateur.”  The root word for “amateur” is “amor” which means love.  As a teacher, it is an important reminder that we must work within our passion to educate students. Having a growth mindset is not only significant in the classroom, but also across our careers.

5 Fantastic Facts about Michael:
-       A+ Schools Fellow
-       Author of 5 poetry books, a poetry CD, and 3 historic photograph books
-       Former journalist
-       Touring writer-in-residence
-       Emcee for the N.C. Poetry Out Loud state finals

Michael personally inspired me with his “vowels” for the classroom.
Adapt
Engage
Invent
Observe
Understand



Our diverse population of attendees provided a glimpse into what our conference was like.



Parent/ Classroom Paraprofessional
“I was curious to learn all about the power of YET! I learned some techniques that would help foster a growth mindset to use in all aspects of life.” – Carolyn Pack

Salem College Professor
“From engaging and informative presentations, a delicious dinner, time of networking, and door prize drawings, to the closing keynote by award-winning performing poet, participants were motivated and inspired to return to their classrooms and sow the seeds of a growth mindset!” – Debbie Linville

Principal Intern
“The conference definitely provided a space for us to explore the true meaning behind ‘growth mindset’ and made me think about how I can better convey this message to my teachers.” – Chris Terzigni

5th Grade Teacher
“The sessions led conversations on how to best reinforce growth mindset in the classroom in order to ensure that students recognize the impacts of hard work and effort.” - Becky Koza

Regional Advisory Council Member
"Our conference has always been a great way to network with other teachers and administrators in the area.” – Alysha Christian

High Point University Student Teacher
"As a new teacher, I especially appreciate any chance to hear from others, so I can evaluate my practices and hone them for my own classroom." – Courtney Hedgecock



About the Author
Leni Fragakis is the Region 5 Director of NCAEE. She currently teaches 5th grade at The Arts Based School. Leni has her BA (Elementary Education, minor Special Education), MEd (Literacy), and administration add-on from High Point University.  She is working toward her EdD in cultural foundations and leadership from UNCG.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Mindfulness Matters

I was first introduced to the concept of mindfulness in 2014 as a Teaching Fellow.  I was part of the Charlotte Teaching Fellows Institute and they brought an expert speaker to share these strategies and ideas.  Dr. Amy Saltzman shared her expertise with our group.  Mindfulness was something that was new and interesting and I loved the idea of using it with students.   I was excited to begin using it.
The idea of using mindfulness began to catch on and I felt knowledgeable because of my Teaching Fellows Institute experience but I still wasn’t really implementing it with my students.  I felt like it was something that was to be added.  It wasn’t until I changed my perspective to look at it as part of our everyday learning that I began to use it with my students and to truly see the benefits.
Mindfulness can be practiced as little as five to ten minutes a day with your students. On a daily basis I have my students stop and reflect on their day and their goals. They take five minutes to focus on themselves.  They are then able to work better on the projects at hand.   It is a chance for them  to reflect.  As Mindful Schools co-founder Laurie Grossman says, mindfulness is “to pay attention, on purpose, to the present moment.”  It is not letting the little moments go by unnoticed. 

This year I also had my 4th and 5th grade students chose one word to guide them. Some of the words they chose were peace, determination and challenge.   Each student has a copy of their word in their notebook.  I also hung them in the hall to inspire other students.  They use their word to help them when they are feeling unfocused.   It helps them be mindful of their goals and of how they want to live their lives. 

Our speaker as well as the other materials that I have read on mindfulness shows that there are many positive benefits of teaching mindfulness.  As teachers use the strategies and incorporate them into the daily activity students are having reduced stress and anxiety, increased concentration and engagement, improved social skills and better problem solving and decision making skills. 
A resource that I have used is Mindfulness for Teachers by Patricia Jennings.  In her book she states that mindfulness can help us to be more effective at reducing conflict and developing more positive way of relating in the classroom.  This in turn helps us as teachers feel more job satisfaction.  I have used her book so much that another NCAEE Board member, Megan Charlton, and I used it as a resource for our recent #NCAEEChat on Twitter. 
Another resource that I like is the Teach Starter website.  They have many ideas and strategies on their site. (The items that I have used have been free but they do have a paid portion to their site.)  It is a great tool that is easy to use. They also have their materials set up in such a way that it is user friendly and something that every teacher can do with their students.
The experience that I had as a Charlotte Teaching Fellow set me up for my journey to using mindfulness as it allowed me the chance to be exposed and learn more.  I feel that mindfulness makes all the difference in my day.  It is something that teachers can use and definitely see the benefit of with their students. 

Dr. Nancy Betler is a Talent Development Teacher at Eastover Elementary and primarily works with gifted and high-ability students in grades K-5.  As a National Board Certified Teacher, she fully embraces life-long learning and has recently earned her doctorate degree.  Nancy is also heavily involved with the North Carolina Association of Elementary Educators (NCAEE) and serves as a Board Member. She looks forward to connecting with you on Twitter @nbetler and being a part of your PLN!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

HOT TOPIC: Emotional and Social Development

My kids recently taught me how to download and use Bitmoji. 
Bitmoji is designed for you to create a virtual version of yourself that you can use to share a reaction (emotion) and to empathize with others during virtual communications, like text messages or email. I’ve been experimenting with it and like that it bridges the use of text (word only) formats and enhances communication. For example, in situations where I would usually add a smiley or sad face emoji, there is now an opportunity for more sophisticated interaction using words, facial expression, and body language together. This allows for a higher-order level of emotional literacy and a novel pathway to grow in and express our social competence. Emotional and social development matters, according to researchers (Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015), beginning as early as kindergarten! It’s also quite a bit of fun!


Why focus on Emotional and Social Development?

Emotional Literacy Impact
Children who can identify and express their emotions are better able to manage strong emotions. Therefore, they often have better relationships with children in their classroom and have better social skills. These are important competencies in school.
Emotion Regulation Impact
When children regulate emotions, they can work in collaborative groups, play with other students, and engage in behaviors such as asking questions, offering ideas to a group, and investigating an idea that supports academic success and positive relationships. Learning to regulate one’s emotions involves learning skills over time that are essential for doing well in school and in relationships.


Did you know? 
Emotional and social development in kindergarten has a lasting impact for our students. According to a 20-year study (Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015) conducted in Durham, Nashville, Seattle and central Pennsylvania, teacher-rated social competence was a significant indicator of both positive and negative future outcomes for children.


A few highlights from the study by Jones and colleagues, 2015:
For every one-point increase on the 5-point scale in a child’s social competence score in kindergarten, he/she was:
Twice as likely to attain a college degree in early adulthood;
54% more likely to earn a high school diploma; and
46% more likely to have a full-time job at the age of 25.

For every one-point decrease in a child’s social competence score in kindergarten, he/she had:
67% higher chance of having been arrested by early adulthood;
82% higher rate of recent marijuana usage; and
82% higher chance of being in or on a waiting list for public housing.


Three things to try in your classroom now!



 A Safe Place
Create a safe place in your classroom.
Notice that the teacher has activities and rules posted in this safe place.
Children will need opportunities to practice learning how to use a safe place. Teachers model and demonstrate how to use a safe place as an effective strategy for regulating emotions and supporting the development of social competence.






Calm Down Tools
A great example of a calm down tool is a calm down bottle. It can be homemade by adding glitter glue, warm water, and regular glitter to a bottle with a leak-proof lid. Then, students can use the calm down bottle as a hands-on strategy for regulating emotions by shaking up the bottle and watching the glitter settle to the bottom.
Children will require practice to learn to use a tool like this, and teachers can model and demonstrate in-the-moment and over time to promote successful use. To see a YouTube demonstration about how to make a calm down bottle, see the YouTube link provided. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7617mlDKqfo



Breathing or Counting Strategies
A simple way to help students regulate emotions is to teach them to count slowly to five and/or
take deep breaths. They will need practice to use this strategy when they are faced with a need to regulate their emotions. Teachers can model in-the-moment and scaffold the use of these strategies in an ongoing way. It is helpful to provide prompts as you demonstrate, “Let’s count like we’re in slow motion together” or “Let’s take a big breath together.”

Additional resources from the NCDPI Office of Early Learning:
Emotional Literacy Quick Guide
Emotion Regulation Quick Guide


Reference
Jones, D. E., Greenberg, M., & Crowley, M. (2015). Early social-emotional functioning and public health: The relationship between kindergarten social competence and future wellness. American Journal of Public Health, 105(11), p 283-290. Retrieved November 17, 2017: https://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/2015/rwjf421663



Join the #NCAEEchat on Thursday, January 11th from 8:00-9:00 on Twitter as we discuss Emotional and Social Development. 


About the Author:
Dr. Cindy Dewey serves on the Board of Directors for NCAEE as the NCDPI At-Large Director. At NCDPI, Cindy serves as an education consultant in the Office of Early Learning on the K-3 Formative Assessment Team. Cindy’s teaching experiences span several states and include elementary, middle, high school, and university levels. This is Cindy’s fifth year serving NCAEE.

This is the second blog post on this topic by Dr. Dewey, click here for the first blog: http://ncaee.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-impact-of-social-and-emotional.html

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Anchors Away…Anchor Charts 101

You’ve seen them on Pinterest, on teacher blogs, hanging in classrooms, but how do you create the most effective ones?  Anchor Charts are one of the hottest teacher topics today. However, the what, why, when, where, and how of creating and using anchor charts in your classroom to enhance your instruction and student learning experiences is sometimes elusive.

I have always been a visual learner and so the idea of creating and displaying posters/anchor charts to reflect student learning has always appealed to me. Thus, I spent many hours outside the classroom creating these anchor charts to help my student learn and retain information. After many hours laboring on just the right wording and colors, I would take my charts in and post them in my classroom. Certainly, my students would recognize and appreciate my hard work.  I would proudly display them prominently in the front of the room and periodically made reference to them during my instruction. I thought my students would be just as excited about them as I was- boy, was I wrong…  So where did I go wrong?

Through professional reading about anchor charts (not to mention years of experience), I finally learned what I was doing wrong:  I was essentially replacing purchased posters with handmade ones and there was no difference in their effect- why?  It hit me like a ton of bricks- they were just serving as classroom wallpaper.  The students looked at them, once, maybe twice (if I was lucky) and that was basically it.  There was no reason for them to want to reference these masterpieces/ anchor charts, there was no ownership or engagement on behalf of my students.  Once the proverbial lightbulb went off in my head, did I realize that I had to find a way to change my thinking about the what, why, when, where, and how of creating and using anchor charts in my classroom.

Once I changed my own mindset and took a different approach, I soon discovered what I was searching for all along- tools that would engage my students in the learning process along with documenting their thinking and learning in a visual format.  I now spend my passion for anchor charts by conducting professional development workshops with teachers on some of the lessons I have learned.

Some teachers in McDowell County Schools have begun creating and using these anchor charts with their students in their classrooms. Let’s take a peek at a few of the many anchor charts that have been created by teachers at Eastfield Global Magnet School:

Many thanks to Stella Brewer, Academic Facilitator- Eastfield Global Magnet School, Marion, NC for the photos.

Can you see differences in these anchor charts than more traditional anchor charts that you may have created and/or seen?  In the professional development workshops I conduct, I teach and encourage teachers to consider including the following components on anchor charts:
1. Standard/Objective
2. Teaching Section- where teacher provides skill/content instruction to students (from standard)
3. Student Section- students contribute ideas/learning to the anchor chart either through the use of sticky notes, writing on the poster, etc.  Students also keep notes in a learning journal/notebook.

Anchor charts in the twenty-first century classroom should serve as concrete representations of what has been taught, evidence of student learning and serve as visual reminders of what has taught over the course of time.  Anchor charts can be considered the artifacts of collective learning within a classroom and just as an anchor stabilizes and secures something such as a boat in place, these classroom tools provide secure and stabile student learning environments.

If you are interested in learning more about the research behind these types of anchor charts, I encourage you to pick up the following professional books or contact me for additional information.


About the Author
Dr. Lora Drum, currently serves as the Region 7 Director for the North Carolina Association of Elementary Educators.  She retired from North Carolina Public Schools in June of this year.  Her educational career included teaching middle school, ESL in elementary, middle, and high school,  and serving as a district level curriculum specialist.  Dr. Drum conducts professional development workshops for teachers in school districts, local community colleges, and at regional educational alliances.  She is fulfilling her dream of beginning her second career as the assistant director of the Lenoir-Rhyne Teaching Scholars Program and an adjunct instructor.  If you have questions about this article or would like additional information, please contact her at loradrum@gmail.com.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Empowering & Engaging Educators: Our 14th Elementary Conference in Review

Our 14th Elementary Conference theme was Engaging & Empowering Educators and we believe we did just that! Hundreds of elementary educators traveled to Concord, North Carolina to participate in three days of high quality professional development and collaboration.
This was one of our best conferences yet!


We were thrilled to have Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin,  Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction join us! Dr. Pitre-Martin kicked off a full day of learning on Monday morning with educational updates from our state, and words of gratitude for our educators that motivated everyone to continue working hard to do what is best for our students!


Our luncheon featured  Dr. John Hodge as our keynote speaker. He challenged everyone to “Be the One” who makes the difference in the life of a child and use the S.A.M.E. Pathway to override the effects of poverty in that child’s life. The Social, Academic,and Moral Environment of a child impacts a child’s behavior, learning, and beliefs. He further suggested that we as teachers must be what we want our students to become. We should teach our students that they need to SLANT (Sit up front, Lean forward, Ask questions, Nod their heads, and Talk to the teacher) to be successful in school and life. Distributive Leadership states that all of the kids belong to all of us and we should respond to all students, not just the ones in our class, with this thought in mind.

Breakout sessions were facilitated by educational leaders from our state and beyond. It was exciting to hear participants share their takeaways with one another in between sessions and swap ideas. There was great energy throughout the conference; it is always powerful when you are able to  bring passionate, enthusiastic educators together in the same place!

Our featured speakers were a mix of NCAEE returning favorites, such as Kathy Bumgardner, The Bag Ladies, and Justin Ashley, and NCAEE newcomers, Rick Jetter, North Carolina Teacher of the Year Lisa Godwin, and Kyle Greene. Each of these speakers brought great energy, passion, and delivered powerful sessions that left our participants begging for more!

Justin Ashley closed out our conference by sharing his personal story through The Balanced Teacher Path: How to Teach, Live, and Be Happy. With equal parts humor and wisdom, Justin analyzed four key aspects of every teacher's life—career, social, physical/emotional, and financial—and offered practical advice to bring these areas into sync, reigniting a passion for teaching in the process! It was the perfect way to end an amazing three days of learning, connecting, and fun.

Thank you to all of our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and featured speakers who made this conference so wonderful! Our Board is still going through the feedback forms and reflecting on the overall conference experience. Though this year's conference was excellent, we will strive to make our 15th Elementary Conference even better! Planning will begin soon. In the meantime, please save the dates of October 28th-30th, 2018 and stay tuned for more information!

Experience Our Conference Through Tweets!

Couldn't make it to our conference OR just want to relive all of the conference goodness?! Check out the Storify below to experience it through tweets!

What Are Your Thoughts?


 What were your favorite sessions? What were the best parts of the 14th Elementary Conference for you? How will you engage and empower your students as a result of participating in this unique professional development opportunity? Share your thoughts below and let the learning and collaboration continue!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

How to Be a Happier Teacher This School Year

By Justin Ashley

We are now a few weeks into the school year.

The back to school excitement has fizzled out and the realization of high expectations has kicked in, once again-the meetings, the lessons, the grading. As the paperwork piles up, here’s 17 little things you can do this week to fight against depression, anxiety, and burnout this school year.

1. Plan a family field trip for the fall.

During a quick break or while eating lunch, plan out an out-of-town adventure for an upcoming weekend this fall, maybe you could go pumpkin picking, to Tweetsie Railroad, Scarowinds, or visit a family farm. Once you pick one out, immediately put it on your calendar.

A research study showed that just planning and thinking about your next family vacay can raise your endorphin levels by 27 percent.

2. Buy your custodian or cafeteria lady a soda from the teacher’s lounge.
Research has proven that buying stuff doesn't make a lasting difference on our mood, with one exception-buying stuff for other people. This makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. Tis’ better to give than to receive.

3. Tell your class a funny story.
Your kids don’t want to just hear about the curriculum. They want to learn about you! Think of a story from your past that’s gotten laughs before. Tell them a silly story about yourself to get them giggling and lighten the mood in the room.

My middle schoolers like hearing about the day I proposed to my wife. We both threw a penny in a fountain and made a wish. My wish-her hand in marriage. Her wish-A raise at work.

When I taught elementary school, my kids loved to hear about my 1st visit to the zoo as a 5 year old boy, where I got too close to a fence and was attacked by a monkey, after I smiled at him. Never smile at monkeys. Never.

4. Start your lesson off with an inspirational video.
Find a Youtube video that’s motivating. Something that lights your fire and gives you chill bumps. Here’s one of my favorites…
40 speeches in 2 minutes

5. Leave your phone in your purse or workbag. 

It’s no secret that compulsive phone checking is damaging. It moves you away from your present environment and even further from each present moment. Check your phone between blocks, on breaks, or at lunch.

6. Meditate with Headspace.

Before the morning bell rings or during your planning, set aside a few minutes to get your mind right and meditate.

Don’t know where or how to start? Try downloading this free app, Headspace. This chill dude with a British accent will walk you through it. All you have to do is put your headphones in, turn off the lights, and find a chair. It’s that easy.

7. Make a list of 10 things you’re grateful for. 
Write them down and read them aloud. Here’s 3 of mine:
I’m grateful to have a job that’s also a calling, where I get paid to do something I enjoy doing.
I’m grateful to live in a democratic country, where I have guaranteed rights listed in my country’s constitution.
I’m grateful to pay my taxes, because this money makes better roads, better emergency services, better schools, and a better community. (*This last one’s a stretch. I know.)

8. Try a simple breathing technique periodically throughout the day.
A recent study showed that war veterans who suffer from PTSD could significantly reduce their cortisol levels (stress hormones) simply by using deep, slow breathing techniques. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is the easiest, most effective one I’ve found:
Inhale for 4 seconds
Hold your breath for 7 seconds
Exhale for 8 seconds
Try this a few times when you feel stressed and see if it helps.

9. Put motivational quotes cards on your desk. 
Use some index cards and google inspirational quotes or order some off Amazon and put them on your desk. Verses of scripture could also work. Read a few at a time for encouragement.

10. Write thank you cards to students or compliment them with a sticky note.
Pick out a kid or two in class, students who are working really hard, and write them a little note of recognition. We have a tendency to instinctively spot the negative, but make it a point to point out the positives, too.

11. Smile when you greet and talk with students. 
Smiles are infectious (mirror neurons), so smile when you they come into your room. Positive classroom culture starts and ends with you.

12. Set a fun short-term goal. 
Come up with a small goal. Not a SMART goal or some big resolution, just something simple, but exciting. It should take 13 weeks or less, so you can finish it around the New Year. After tomorrow, continue doing one thing each day to reach it. That’s what I did with my kids to make  STRAIGHT INTTA OREGON, a music video about Westward Expansion that went viral. Check it out!

13. Thank your principal.
Drop in their office or stop them in the hallway and tell them thank you for something they did recently. Maybe they helped you out with a resource, or stuck up for you when a parent complained. You might be a little down that summer is over and school is back in session, but they were probably working through the whole summer. Thank them for what they do behind the scenes on the daily.

14. Exercise with kids at recess.
Join in on in the fun outside. You deserve a break, too. Walk the track with your students. Kick or throw a ball with them. Jump rope with them. Connect with kids while you are working out on the playground.

15. Do some fall cleaning. 
Purge some of your school files. Get rid of old resources. Set up a new filing system. Minimalism is a really neat documentary on Netflix that shows how liberating it can be to simplify your environment.

16. Dress super nice. 
Professional attire means more respect. Kids notice that you take the job seriously. It also feels good to get hat-tips from teachers and administrators.

17. Find your 30 minute thing.
You work ridiculously hard serving others each week, so you need to carve out 30 minutes each day to serve yourself.

Take this time to move. It could be jogging around your neighborhood, doing yoga, or playing soccer with your kid. For me, it’s boxing. Every day after school, I box for 30 minutes before I pick up my kids. That’s my ‘me’ time. It’s something I look forward to each day.

And research shows that just 30 minutes of exercise uplifts your mood for the next 3-4 hours, improves your quality of sleep, and has a similar impact on your brain as the strongest anti-depressants on the market, without the negative side effects.
____________________________________________________________________________
***Bottom Line-There are small things we can do to live healthier, happier lives today and tomorrow. Some are about the external (changing our actions and environment), others internal (changing our thought patterns). We don’t have to wait until the summertime to be happy. We don’t have to count down the  school days to each Friday.

We can be happier now.

References
Happiness Advantage
The Happiness Track

Justin Ashley is a teacher, author, and motivational speaker.  He will be facilitating a breakout session and will lead us in a closing celebration at this year's Elementary Conference! You won't want to miss him or his purple cows!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Can Elementary Teachers Explicitly Teach the Concept of “Adversity” to their Students?

By Rick Jetter, Ph.D.

     What if I told you that there is a gap in Character Education programs that have historically been administered to students in schools across the nation?  What if I told you that there is also a gap in the Emotional Intelligence (EI/EQ) research that is currently in the field of psychology and education and how we apply adversity training to student learning today?
     So, why is adversity important and what types of adversity exist in our students’ lives that you can help them tackle or cope with while also preparing them to proactively deal with any adverse situation no matter what age they are?  Think about your own life right now.  What adversities existed in your life since you were 5 years old?  10 years old?  16 years old?  21 years old?  And NOW?
     Take a look at this video and can you honestly say that YOUR students would know how to handle this kind of adversity without FREAKING out like the woman whose car was vandalized did?


Maybe this will help even more:

Adversity training is needed for students to learn how to deal with the following 6 kinds of adversity, including (but not limited to):
1.  Physical Adversity
2.  Mental Adversity
3.  Emotional Adversity
4.  Social Adversity
5.  Spiritual Adversity
6.  Financial Adversity

From those types of adversities, there are event subgroupings that are often neglected and are often experienced by not only our youth, but by adults no matter their age:
1.  Loss of a pet or loved one.
2.  Not achieving what they thought they would.
3.  Financial loss.
4.  Job loss.
5.  Illness/disease.
6.  Dealing with others when they suffer adversity (many do not know how to continue being friends or supportive of others during their time of adversity).
7.  Stress as a result of opposition or conflict.
8.  Addiction.
9.  Dealing with geographical disasters.
10.  Dealing with accidents.

From there, we can certainly “prevail” as human beings under pressure by living gracefully, living with gratitudes, living mindfully, and living with skills that emotionally healthy human beings possess--especially when we see how this weather man deals with adversity due to technical malfunctions within his meteorological newscast in Arizona:


Adversity training = grace under pressure for your students for the rest of their lives.

See you at NCAEE 2017 for Dr. Rick Jetter’s presentation: Teaching Adversity in Our Schools where you can learn more about how to not only prepare students for the next grade level, but how you can prepare students for life!

Rick Jetter, Ph.D., is currently a national educational consultant, author, speaker, trainer, and partner at Pushing Boundaries Consulting: http://www.pushboundconsulting.com 

Rick previously worked as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent of schools prior to becoming the Director of K-12 Education for the AEP Group which can be found at www.aepk12.com.  You can also find out more information about Rick by visiting www.rickjetter.com.  On Twitter, you will find him at @RickJetter.