Author Archives: dfgately

About dfgately

Middle School Principal Jericho, NY

Middle-Level Leaders Collaborative: Who’s your “go-to” person?

This post is a collaboration between a group of middle school leaders from across the country.  Periodically, these passionate and dedicated middle school principals share their thoughts on issues of relevance for those “in the middle”.   Working at the middle-level … Continue reading

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Middle School Principals’ Collaborative: Beginning of the Year Essentials

This post is a collaboration between a group of middle school leaders from across the country.  Periodically, these passionate and dedicated middle school principals share their thoughts on issues of relevance for those “in the middle”. Topic: The 2019-20 school … Continue reading

Posted in adolescence, Best Practice, Educational Focus, Inside the Middle School, Leadership, learning, Teaching/Learning | Tagged | Leave a comment

About learning: You’re not always saving lives

You would think that we could have mastered these techniques even with horrible teachers, in a lousy environment, with no videos and no opportunities to practice on dummies.  But this isn’t true. If none of these factors were in place, we likely would not have successfully re-certified in first aid procedures.   Continue reading

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About Learning: “Hey, you had the lighter one”

When mom came back with the bottles,  she took Ryan first. Feeling the difference between the weight of the two when I handed Harper to Danielle, my wife said, “Hey, you had the lighter one.” So funny.  Continue reading

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About our legacy: What details will be remembered

Whenever you ask young adolescents about the adults in their lives, their teachers, administrators, their bus driver, the lunch ladies, they always focus on some quirky detail that is the part that becomes the whole. Continue reading

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About parenting: You’re not so bad

For years I’ve had a sneaky suspicion that I was a horrible parent.  It wasn’t anything obvious. I never left my children in a car with the windows rolled up on a hot day.  My kids always have money in their lunch accounts at school. We have a pool in our backyard, that’s something.  We’ve even driven to Disney with them, in Florida, twice. Nevertheless, I have a nagging thought in the back of my mind, or in my horribly dark soul, that I’m really not cutting it as a parent.  Fortunately for me, I have discovered a book that has helped me to understand that I actually am a horrible parent. Continue reading

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Stories: About a boy

Amazing educators, when you ask them, “What do you teach?”, they reply, “I teach kids!”  Great teachers love kids. They love the students in front of them and they understand the sacred nature of their professional responsibility to nurture the academic and personal development of kids.  Great teachers know that relationships are the most important thing; not homework, not tests, not awesome lesson plans, but relationships. Continue reading

Posted in adolescence, Best Practice, edcamp, Educational Focus, Inside the Middle School, Personal Best, Teaching/Learning

About kids and devices: Trying to find the answers

Are there areas of your practice as a leader or teacher that you haven’t figured out?   How are you modelling your learning? How can we be transparent about the process as we learn new things and try to find answers to life’s essential questions? Continue reading

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About school: We can make it special

rincipals and teachers can create singular moments for kids everyday.  Like the Brooklyn Nets, these are our schools, classrooms, hallways, gyms, and cafeterias. We are in charge of these settings.  We can do extraordinary things to create lifelong fans of learning and of our schools. Continue reading

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About Work / Life Balance: So much to learn

It can be difficult to describe the magic of the Ed camp model.  It’s liberating to cast off the formalities, restrictions, and passivity of conventional educational contexts (read: SCHOOL) and embrace a mode of learning that elevates choice, participation and sharing.  When I’m asked to give an example of the power of EdCamp, I will describe the amazing session that took place this past Saturday on the topic of Work / Life balance. We wish you were there! Continue reading

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