Learning Isn't Just for the Kids

Posted by Lindsay Harris on 7/17/2017

It’s the middle of July, and the parking lots and my shoulders (thanks to some 4th of July sun) are not the only things cooking! We have accomplished a lot since my last post, and I am going to do my best to fill you in on the highlights, particularly those that include the learning Team Wagner is accomplishing this summer.

I am going to start with Wagner Academy because it has been the highlight of my summer. If I am honest, I think it has been the highlight of my entire year as the principal of Wagner Middle School! We brought the entire professional staff of WMS together June 19-22 for four days of team building, gaining momentum around our vision and mission, and learning. It was AMAZING. The content of those days together was intended to be a natural progression from what we believe and who we want to be as a team to how we are going to accomplish something special for students. The days were so much more than that, though -- we each shared why we take on the hard work of educating our community’s children, we explored what an engaged student really is, we played games and ate snow cones, we came to consensus on beliefs, we learned about Project-Based Learning, and we grew together as a team. It was incredible. I walked away feeling so lucky that I get to be a part of such a special team and opportunity!



The theme for Wagner Academy was FROM THE GROUND UP. You know it’s going to be a good week when there’s a photo booth, right?


 Learner Profile

Spending some time working with our district’s Learner Profile.



We see our vision statement a lot .. what does it really mean? How will we know when we have accomplished it?


 Learner Profile Presentation

Ms. Trowbridge (Asst. Band Director) and Coach Kenyon (PLP/Athletics) present to the team about their group’s representation of our Learner Profile.


 Dr. Brent

Dr. Brent started our second day by sharing his vision for our team and campus.


 Knows Chart

We moved over to GHS and began our focus on Project-Based Learning. We used the Learner Profile (are you seeing a theme here?) as an opportunity to practice Knows and Need-to-Knows.


 PBL Discussion

Mrs. Cruz (6th grade Math), Mrs. Gaylor (6th grade Science) and Mrs. Gage (6th grade ELAR) share their group’s questions as part of our PBL process.


 Snow Cones

Snow Cone break with Mrs. Dalton (Special Education), Mrs. Heil (Librarian, and Mrs. Rawson (7th grade Science)!



Straws + M&Ms + TeamWork = Fun


 Project Collaboration

The Fine Arts Team works and collaborates on their respective project ideas.


 Critical Friends

We ended our learning with a Critical Friends Circle -- where team members can present their project ideas and listen to feedback!


If you haven’t had the chance to follow us on Twitter, head over to @WagnerMS_GISD and check us out! There are some great tweets from our staff there, and  you can get their perspective on the week as they experienced it. We ended the week with asking each Wagner Teammate to choose one word to describe their week, and the responses ranged from “motivated” to “privileged” to “possibilities” … all words that I would use myself to describe the week and the opportunity to serve students and the community at Wagner Middle School!

 Twitter Feed

If you don’t already, follow us on Twitter @WagnerMS_GISD!


In other adult learning news, many of our team have spent two days this summer attending Capturing Kids’ Hearts training. I believe that relationships are the foundation to a successful school -- relationships between students and adults are critical, but relationships among the students are equally important, as are the relationships among the adults. We all need to feel connected to each other to thrive, and Capturing Kids’ Hearts is an amazing resource for giving groups methods of connecting to and supporting each other. You’ll see Team Wagner use the strategies every, single day in classrooms and in meetings. Our entire teaching staff will be trained by the time school starts, and one of my goals for Wagner Middle School is that we become a National ShowCase campus for Capturing Kids’ Hearts. It will happen!



One last way that Team Wagner is learning together this Summer is through our Wagner Book Club. We selected five books that are varied in topic, but all connect to our mission of inspiring and empowering every learner to lead, grow, and serve and reflect our committed to the GISD Learner Profile … and each staff member selected one of the books to read this Summer. When we return in August, we will be doing activities to collaborate with people that read the same book and that also teach our teammates that didn’t read the same book some of the basics that we learned. Should be a fun learning opportunity for the team!

Book Study

Which one would be your summer reading?


The summer has been full of all kinds of other things -- cheerleader camp, making decisions about the Wagner Way of doing things, hiring more staff, and planning events that are coming soon! (Looking at you, Camp Wagner and Williams move-in!)


Wagner Cheer

Wagner Cheerleaders at their first camp!


It’s a great time to be a Wagner Wolf!


Until Next Time,

 Lindsay Harris

Lindsay Harris

Principal, Wagner Middle School