Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Opportunities and Exciting Changes Ahead!

This has been quite a busy week.  I spent two days moving out of my classroom and another day signing paperwork and having conversations...
Goodbye to my classroom for 7 of the last 8 years!
That's right, I'm exploring new ventures next year.  I am moving schools - and moving districts.  And, the biggest change is that I will no longer be a classroom teacher.

My one and only school (I even student taught here!) ... until now!
My journey has led me to become a "Digital Learning Coach" at a nearby high school that is going 1-to-1 with laptops across the district at the high school level next year.  My role will be in working with, supporting, and coaching teachers in effectively integrating technology in their classroom to improve and deepen student learning.  This will range from simply helping teachers to be more efficient and effective by using tech tools (gathering formative assessment data, soliciting student feedback, etc) to supporting them in completely transforming their classrooms to more student-centered, higher-order thinking, active learning environment by utilizing the power of technology.  I will be working closely with a selected group of "fellows" (teachers who have elected to be "coached") as well as supporting the entire staff as needed.

Being a "coach" takes me back to my actual coaching days, when I was the girls JV basketball coach at my high school for 3 years.  My job as a coach was to work with and support my players in furthering their skills both as individuals and as a team... to take them from where they were and model for them, provide them opportunities for practice, and celebrate their successes as they improved and saw growth.  My players were all at different levels when they came to me, and it was important to meet each player at their level and build them from that point - not expect them to all start as high-caliber players, but knowing and believing that each of them could get to that point with hard work, dedication, and desire.  It was also about building a collaborative team environment, where my players trusted each other, pushed each other, encouraged one another, and wanted each other to be successful.  Good coaching was also about building relationships and trust - my players knowing that I asked a lot of them and always pushed them to be better, but that I was always 100% supportive of them and there for them in whatever ways they needed.

Here is an article about the new positions... this makes me so excited!

It is bittersweet leaving the classroom, leaving my students, and leaving the only school and district I have ever worked for.   However, I am so incredibly thrilled for this new opportunity!

I received a really uplifting email from one of my students a few days after I let them know I wouldn't be back (I had already left for the year, so I did not get to tell them in person)... I asked her if I could share it on my blog as I shared with all of you my transition:

Hope you've been having a great summer! Everyone is so sad that you're leaving us. It's been a fantastic year, full of fond memories and lots of fun...sorry i'm not very good at this sort of sentimental stuff. We hope you all the best luck for the future and that you'll remember all of us. I'm sure everyone will be spamming you next year for help in AP Calc and begging you to come back. I think everyone has been affected by your enthusiastic personality, your obvious passion for teaching and math, along with your lessons on integrity and your integration of technology in the classroom. You are one of the best and favorite math teachers that I have ever had, even if I had to go through the torture of climbing up Kirch mountain everyday. (And when no one laughed at your jokes, it was just because we were all too tired to, not because the jokes weren't funny)

So, what is my plan for this blog?  Well, it will definitely always be here and I hope it continues to remain helpful. I haven't decided if I am going to continue updating it or if I am going to start a new blog for my Coaching Reflections.  I will definitely post here if I decide to make a new blog so you can follow my new adventures.

I want to thank all of you for joining me on this amazing journey of transformation.  I could never have envisioned where a simple decision to start "Flip 101" would have taken me and the amazing people I would encounter and deep relationships I would form due to our common passions.  I know my transformation is not over, but is just taking a different road for the time being where I will be able to take my experiences and knowledge a step further.


  1. Congrats Crystal and best of luck in the new position! Great discussion about coaching as well, "It was also about building a collaborative team environment, where my players trusted each other, pushed each other, encouraged one another, and wanted each other to be successful." That's what I loved about coaching HS basketball as well, creating this type of supportive environment. However, this concept seems so rare in the professional learning that goes on in most schools, hopefully the great coaching work that you will do there can eventually be replicated in most districts.

    PS - We should organize a #Flipcon15 pickup basketball game next year...

    1. Hi Tom,
      Thanks for the congrats :) I'm very hopeful and excited for the future. And yes, #flipcon15 pickup game definitely needs to be on the schedule...

  2. Congratulations Crystal, I am looking forward to hearing about your experiences in your new position. I am moving much more in this direction as well lately, just not (yet) in an official capacity.

    1. Thanks Ken, I'm looking forward to getting started and learning the ropes in my new position. I'm glad we were able to meet at FlipCon and look forward to continuing to share with each other :)


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