About a New Year: My “One Word” for 2015

Not sure who started it but I’m going to give credit to my good friends, incredible middle school principals, Lisa Meade and Tim Dawkins, for inspiring me to respond to the 2015 “One Word Challenge”.  Bzlh9xHCcAEVxLt

Like Lisa, I’ve never been very good at New Year’s resolutions.  I still can’t ballroom dance, play the piano or run a marathon so I have limited faith in resolutions for “Don Renewal”.  But I think there’s something to the laser-like focus engendered by a “one word challenge” — that might just work! (maybe I just wanted to write “laser-like” hehehehe).


But what is my word?


Since I completed my doctoral studies in August, I’ve been floundering as a learner.  I worked so hard to complete my study, it dominated my learning pursuits to the exclusion of everything else.  This kind of “tunnel-vision” is a necessity in order to complete a dissertation.  And as someone who was ABD (“all but dissertation”) for three years, I speak from experience.  But now that I am done I am eager to pursue learning that is important to me professionally and personally rewarding as well


So that’s my one word for 2015…





What better word for an educator right?  But I really mean it.  I have so much to learn.  There is so much I want and need to know more about…


Response to Intervention (RtI).  I participated in an RtI Institute led by Solution Tree in November and I left energized and primed to learn all I can about this critically important area of school reform.  Along with this, I need to dive into Differentiated Instruction (DI).  What are strategies to employ because we know that kids learn differently from one another and some are more ready than others?  What are the strategies that we should use as preventatives because we know that some kids won’t get it the way we’re teaching it?  What do we do for the students who “need a little help”?


Spanish. I want to learn to speak Spanish.  It would help my growth in so many ways to dive into a second language.  It seems the ideal learning pursuit now that I am finished with my doctoral studies.  I have so many people, adults and kids, with whom  I can practice.


Classical music.  Consider Kurt Vonnegut’s epitaph: “The only proof he needed of the existence of God was music.” I sincerely believe this.  I love all kinds of music.  Of course I grew up with Rock and later I discovered Jazz — but really — I  love all music.     A genre I appreciate but am woefully uninformed about and underexposed to is Classical music.  I owe it to myself to listen to and pursue this passion.


Here’s the thing – my one word is LEARN.  Not succeed — not win — but LEARN.  So no matter what, if i dedicate myself to learning, then I will be successful with my one word challenge.


What’s your word?


Happy New Year!

About dfgately

Middle School Principal Jericho, NY
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4 Responses to About a New Year: My “One Word” for 2015

  1. Thanks for sharing your word and journey. I look forward to the updates. It’s a great word. My word is love–I’m charting the journey with a daily post. It’s a challenging word to unearth, but a positive direction like your word. Enjoy the journey.

  2. jsprfox says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! Kudos to you for putting everything else aside and focusing on the learning itself. What impresses me the most about your writing is the fact that you are willing to forgo the accolades and recognition and instead have your sights on the things that captivate your interest and you have deemed important. This is so refreshing to me in that so many strive soley for awards and ranking. Thank you for being so courageous to identify and focus on what I view as one of the central features of humanity which is to learn.

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