31.

I celebrated my 31st birthday on Monday. 30 was so good to me. School. Running. Travel. Family. I couldn’t have asked for a better year. There’s a lot of pressure for 31 to live up to 30. The final days of 30 weren’t particularly balanced. So far 31 has been a little crazy too. You know my life is a little out of whack when I’m not blogging on Sundays. I love taking the time to reflect on the previous week, and if I don’t make time for that it’s a good sign I’m taking too much on. But August is a busy time in the ed world, and I know calm is coming. Probably not till October. But it’s coming! And I love spending time at EQ3. I enjoy the process of gearing up for a school year. Check out our growing team 🙂

Summer Professional Development is now officially over. Our teachers participated in dozens of sessions. I felt a little hypocritical leading the work-life balance session. Balance means sometimes you swing in one direction, right? Last week was especially booked with a Neighborhood Council Meeting Monday night for our permanent building approval process and Parent Orientation on the evenings of  Wednesday and Thursday. I didn’t get what I need to be balanced. A nice post-work run, cooking dinner and having dinner with Brent, and some time to unwind on the couch. This week was pretty insane too. School starts Tuesday, and we had to finish moving into our new location while preparing lessons and content for our new grade-level.

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Oh, back to my birthday, check out the beautiful cake they got Cecilia our new yoga teacher and I from JJ Bakery. We’re birthday twins 🙂

Here are a few shots from some of our sessions this summer. Here we are book studying at a staff. This summer we read Helping Children Succeed. Highly recommended.

More team building. I had challenges in ziploc bags and a bunch of materials. As a team they had to build something. Here is the first grade team building a fashion accessory .

Coleen came to Equitas to lead us in Dynamic Mindfulness training.

We also spent a lot of time physically moving into our new site. Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 8.57.03 PM.png

And coming up with logistics and transition plans. IMG_4988.JPG

Summer has been a lot of work, but play too!

Last weekend I went to Michigan to see the family before school starts. When in Michigan you have to stock up on Zingerman’s.

Colby and Miles 🙂

We did an early birthday celebration at Bestia. Check out this lobster toast!

I always go with cocktails at Bestia.

And the new carpool which now includes Cecilia, our new Playa buddy, means more morning coffee dates.

Summer in LA means time at the beach. Brent loves his boogie board. 

Marta, Brent, and I went to Gjelina on the night of my birthday.

And this mushroom toast. Oh my goodness it had chunks of garlic and the bread was so crispy and it was smothered in mushrooms. Gotta love the Jonathan Gold spots.

We had our Growing Greatness launch the school year party on Thursday. Here we are invading the photo booth.FullSizeRender.jpg

2 days until the 2016-2017 school year officially begins. I can’t wait to welcome our scholars back. And I love spending time with these lovely ladies…

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Yup, we’re the unicorn and fairy school.

Oh, and because this is a running blog I should probably throw something in running. Got my photos back from San Fran. Here I am getting to the finish. race_2167_photo_40233316.jpg

Here we are with Nike Run Club in Santa Monica. Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 6.53.38 PM.png

Didn’t really expect to have a photographer on my Saturday morning run.
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So my intentions for 31. This year I hope to focus on taking time for rest and practicing mindfulness. I love being restless and being on the go, but I really need to learn to slow down and relax. I’m going to try to do something daily that is calming and specify it in my passion planner. Yesterday Cecilia, Alaina, and I got massages. Today I’m going to church. I’ve recruited teachers to join in on mindful mornings on Wednesdays for some meditation. We’ll see how this goes, I just know I need it. Especially this time of year.

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

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Notes from Long Run #1+ First Week at Equitas!

It’s been a while since I’ve run more than 13.1 miles. Today I ran 15 miles, my first Boston training long run. Shout out to Brittany for providing me with the B.A.A. training plan! She is such a strong runner, I hope to learn a lot from her. Runners always tell you not to do anything new on race day. They’re right, but in order to know what to do on race day, you need a strong understanding of what works for you. Little tweeks in your routine can make a difference over 26.2 miles. I have a solid pre-race eating plan, but during this training season I really want to solidify my entire routine, rather than leaving it up to chance.

Over the years I’ve discovered thick socks make my feet sweat. I learned that in the first few miles of the LA Marathon in 2008. I got excited at the expo and bought new tech socks rather than sticking to the cheapos I’d been running with. It sucks to think about your sweaty gross feet the entire marathon. Although my feet were the least of my issues during that race.  Gatorade also apparently makes me throw up. A lot. I though that if I trained on water and raced with gatorade I would magically be faster on race day. Not so much. The truth is the marathon isn’t terribly exciting as far as race times go. You kinda have to stick to a range. You’re never going to expect a 3:45 and magically run a 3:15 because you took a few swigs of gatorade. I’ve also learned fueling with sugar only makes me gag after the race. Because I am not a crazy marathoner and don’t run them very often, I still don’t have a solid plan that works for me.  Below you’ll find my first attempt to be diligent about my long run strategy.

Friday Dinner: Orzo with Marinara and Goat Cheese, 1 Golden Monkey (snobby beer), Zingerman’s Chocolate Marshmallows.

Friday Sleep: 8 Hours. Slept like a rock.

Saturday Breakfast: 1/2 a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while I was driving. Half a glass of water, no coffee.

Long Run Fuel: A swedish fish and pretzels around mile 5 and 10. I didn’t really fuel much. Felt fine but I need to be better about practicing my fuel plan regardless so I get into a routine and know what won’t hurt my stomach.

Long Run Hydration: Water fountains and bought a bottle of water on San Vicente & 26th. I want to try sipping nuun. (Or sipping in general. Had a little slooshing for about ten minutes after the water bottle.)

Long Run Outfit: Lululemon shorts, lululemon long sleeve, target sports bra, lululemon socks, headband. I promise I don’t only wear lulu.

Post-Run Snack: The other 1/2 of the PB&J on my drive home. I tend to not crave food right after, but I want to be better about eating right away in hopes that it helps recovery and keeps me strong.

How Did It Feel: I felt good! No stomach issues. No sudden bathroom breaks. I had fun with Lauren and Ellen. My legs felt a little tired around 13 miles, which makes sense. I stretched a little before jumping in the car to drive home. When I got out of the car walking up the stairs to my apartment my hamstrings felt a little tight so I foam rolled and stretched them out a bit. A little bit of chaffing from the sports bra, which doesn’t usually happen.

Other Notes: I love running with friends! We need to bring our yoga mats and stretch out after long runs. Today Ellen had to rush to work, but next week for sure. I’m excited to get back into training. Was feeling a little blah about training, but today made me feel more positive.

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Great running weather!

In other news…

I finished my first week at Equitas. I am so impressed with the program and so excited to be opening the second elementary school in the fall. I spent the week observing, sitting in on meetings, and researching instructional programs and models. I’m really trying to understand what makes Equitas Academy different so that I can replicate it at Equitas Elementary #2. Here is where I am at right now.

1. The staff pays attention to even the tinniest details. For example, a designated teacher has the role of monitoring the bathroom line during snack and there is tape right outside the door where the students are to wait. While waiting for their turn she has them practice math flashcards and gives them high fives for their correct answers. Another example, on Friday at 5:30 PM the School Culture Coordinator was still at school updating her bulletin board with new award winners from that morning’s assembly. She wanted them to be recognized and see their photos Monday when they return from the weekend.

2. Commitment to excellence from ALL staff. Teachers don’t show up late. Lessons are fun and engaging. Operations and logistics make the school run like a well-oiled machine and makes it seamless across classrooms. Everyone is also constantly asking for feedback on how to get better. Nobody complains about meetings or professional development. People participate enthusiastically.

3. Pride in the success of the school vs. individual classroom goals. During our Friday professional development meeting we studied reading level data and MAP data. Goals were not set for classrooms, rather for grade-levels and the entire school. There was no “My class is doing better than yours.” Everyone was sharing ideas on how to help the school as a whole.

4. Humble leadership. This kinda goes along with my third point. There isn’t that feel of “I want to be the rockstar teacher.” There is no competition to be the best or be the most engaging. This is true for network leadership and teachers. It’s really about creating a great school for our families and our community, not about being individually great. That’s not what education is about. I think the entire school is incredibly humble. They’re aren’t out bragging about how incredible their program is. Parents know, the results speak for themselves, and that’s why they don’t have to recruit students and currently have a waitlist of 1000.

I absolutely adored working with the elementary kids after 8 years with middle schoolers. As much as I love middle schoolers, I’m definitely an elementary school person. I can’t wait to hire teachers and have a team!

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I ate the marshmallow on Friday night.

A bunch of us went to Perch in Downtown for Happy Hour on Thursday. Check out the picture Alaina took from the rooftop restaurant!

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I’m almost done with Rafe Equith’s There Are No Shortcuts. That man has GRIT and has made incredible gains over the years with his students. I’m taking it with a grain of salt though. As committed as I am to my students and their success, I think balance is important so that I can be my best self for my students. Nobody needs a tired, cranky, overworked Mrs. Lowry. I’ve been sticking with my 30 minutes of reading and podcasting on the way to work.

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