Happy New Year!!  I hope you had a lovely holiday season and were able to enjoy some down time with family and friends.  Like most, I spend quite a bit of time reflecting this time of year.  I take time to review successes, failures, goals, both personally & professionally.  I am fortunate enough to say that 2018 was good to me, please don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of sadness, frustrations and failures, but overall I will look back on the past year as one with many learning challenges and success!

One aspect of my year that differed from years past was that I spent quite a bit of time traveling for my career.  Throughout 2018 I was blessed to travel throughout Illinois as I presented at and coached many districts statewide.  While I hated being away from my family as much as I was, I loved the opportunity to help districts implement technology in meaningful ways, utilize social media to maximize learning and help districts tell their stories, implement 1:1 initiatives with blended learning & personalized learning as a focus as well as help districts utilize Canvas efficiently and effectively.  Phew – it was a busy year but so rewarding!  Not just because I know I am making an impact on student learning statewide, but because within each presentation, every district/school visit I, too, learn something new!

During a training I was facilitating on Leadership in Personalized and Digital Learning we were doing a grounding activity (if you aren’t aware of what a grounding activity is hold tight….I have a blog coming up in the next few weeks on Adaptive Schools that will answer all your questions!!) where we created a resource list in which everyone responded to the prompts, “What are you reading? Where do you go to learn? And Who are the people you learn from?” I love doing this activity as it is a great way to share resources, Twitter handles, and ideas.  Most of the resources during this activity I had heard about or read myself but Principal of Southeast Elementary School in Sycamore School District 427, Mark Ekstrom, shared “The Marshall Memo”.

Apparently Kim Marshall has been writing his weekly memos since August 2003!  I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this resource before.  What Kim does for all educators is truly a gift, he subscribes to more than 60 different educational subscriptions for teachers, principals, coaches, superintendents, central office administrators, counselors, etc. PreK-12th grade,  this resource is honestly for anyone in education!!  Every Sunday he sits down and reads the articles from the week and and chooses about 10 different articles and writes a summary of all 10. Magically, on Tuesday mornings in my inbox I find my “Marshall Memo”.  The summary of the 10 articles summarized nicely in a succinct, easy to understand format.

This has proven to be a HUGE time saver for me!!  I personally don’t have time to sit down each week and read 10 articles, much less 60 articles to find the ones with the most potential to improve student learning, climate and culture, teaching, & learning…thank you Kim Marshall.  What has been even more helpful to me is that you can listen to podcasts of the articles so you can take advantage of the “Automobile University” when you are on the go!! Additionally, if there is a past memo that has additional information on the same topic, he will reference the memo number and name of the article in case you want to read further on a particular subject matter.  Did I mention that if you are a member of “The Marshall Memo” you also have access to the full archive? That is 50 memos a year since August 2003, I went back and read through a few of his memos from 2003…it really is amazing what in education has changed, hasn’t changed, and what has come full circle since then!

Maybe you have been a follower of Kim Marshall for years, maybe you had a subscription to his memo but forgot to renew it, or maybe, like me, you are new to Marshall Memos…either way I have a gift for you.  The first 5 people to leave a reply to this blog post, by January 15th will win themselves a year subscription to The Monday Memo.  Here is what is needed in the reply to qualify, please state:

  • What are you reading?
  • Where do you go to learn?
  • And Who are the people you learn from?
  • Name
  • Email

If you are uncomfortable leaving a reply to the blog please feel free to email me at the email below, again only the first 5 to comment or email will win!
Good luck and Happy New Year!!!

(We have already received our five winners! Thank you to all who participated!)


Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning

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