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Hello!  Welcome to my blog.  My name is Chet Jackson and I am an Assistant Principal at North Andover High School in Massachusetts.  I draw my inspiration from my amazing wife Colleen and I’m the proud father of Janelle (7), Jake (5), and Cole (1). I managed to figure out how to put a couple of pictures on my blog that are favorites of mine.  I hope to blog from time to time about educational and personal topics that interest me.  I learn so much from others by reading and listening to their thoughts and hope to inspire meaningful conversation by sharing my thoughts.

My retired Superintendent Chris Hottel asked all the Principals a year ago to start a blog and explore with social media.  One of his strengths was using the social media to communicate with stakeholders.  It took a year but I finally created a blog.

I have been debating for the last two weeks what I should write about “In My Own Words”.  Today, one day after my ninth wedding anniversary to my lovely wife Colleen it finally came to me.  I remembered that I had these similar feelings before.  I had feelings of anxiety.  I asked myself questions like who on earth would want to read something I write in a blog?  What if someone takes something the wrong way? Or the right way?  What if I offend someone?  What if I sound stupid?  I recalled it was approximately one year ago when I was preparing to go to our annual MSSAA conference in Falmouth, MA.  I saw that there was a presentation on Social Media 101: Tools for Administrators by Pat Larkin @patrickmlarkin, then Principal of Burlington High School. I knew that most of our students were on twitter and to continue to evolve as a leader I needed to learn more about the twitter world.  So, I made sure I packed my laptop and headed over Ballroom one at the Seacrest on Friday 7/29 at 10:05AM to see what I could learn.  The rest is history! I am 528 Tweets strong and now have an professional leaning network (PLN) that is worldwide.

I like to thank Patrick Larkin @patrickmlarkin for the personal touch and the positive nature that he uses when teaching people about social media and twitter.  Although you can be overloaded with information often, twitter is a fantastic tool that has transformed how I learn as a school leader, read the news, follow sports, and have fun!

Another must follow for me is Bill Burkhead @northeagles.  He is a fellow Assistant Principal and has a great way of being humble while looking for ways to support student learning.  His post on Twitter Ethics 101 is outstanding.  I have picked up many people to follow from his PLN.

As of today, we have at least ten educators from NAHS that are on twitter.  I say at least because there could be many that are using twitter that I don’t know about.  I have picked up many NAHS student followers and in the fall hope to pick up many more.  Over the last year, twitter has helped me keep an open mind to ideas from all stakeholders.  I am inspired by the amount of people that care about student learning first and that have research to support their beliefs.

Our active twitter users at NAHS include our AD Jon Longley @NA_Athletics.  We learned twitter together over most of the last year and he has used twitter to control the voice that comes out of the athletic department.  Students and programs are highlighted in a positive way.  The students and the community seem to like the recognition and the constant communication about what is going on.  He has over 450 followers (many students) and is a gracious retweeter when we are trying to get information to students.  I have learned regularly from Megan Pinksten @mpink45 and Andy Vanhorn @vanhornNA @KnightsSpeedStr @NA_Football.  We share the same values and they have knowledge in many areas.  I look forward to learning more from them and watching them grow as leaders.  I hope to share more of what I have learned from my PLN in future posts.

Reflecting on my first year on twitter makes me want to make more of a positive impact for student learning at NAHS.  I decided weeks ago to take the advice from Patrick Larkin and use some time on a social media project.  My Social Media Summer Project is to create an environment (#NAHSchat) where our leadership team and educators can get feedback directly from the students.  My goal is for this blog to be used to store twitter led chats that we will have at NAHS next year.  Thanks to Paul Viera @ebhsprincipal2 for the recommendation on wordpress.  It has been easy to use. Thanks to Joe Mazza @Joe_Mazza for passing along the information on using storify to archive a chat.  I look forward to working with our student council advisor Conor Meehan and the student council to see how we can gather meaningful data from our students in a safe environment.  I’m going to use some time the rest of the summer to plan for my meeting with the class of 2014 and 2016 on the first day.  The goal will be to improve the student voice at NAHS.

Chet Jackson