About

Thank you for visiting my blog!

I am blessed to Bluffton Middle School’s first principal and the Bluffton community has my commitment that I will do all I can to create a trusting, caring, and supportive educational environment at BLMS. My hope is that Bluffton Middle School will earn a reputation as a school with strong academics and a safe environment. I look forward to leading the creation of an outstanding school experience for BLMS students. Together we can create success for our students at Bluffton Middle School.

In addition to my undergraduate degree, I hold two master degrees and a doctorate in educational administration, policy and leadership. I consider myself a “life long learner,” and I approach each day as a chance to make a positive difference as I learn and work alongside staff and students. I believe each individual child deserves the best opportunity to learn. Educational research clearly indicates that schools and communities must work together to support students to take full advantage of their educational opportunities. I love being a principal and I am honored to be an educator.

My personal philosophy of education has continued to develop over the seventeen years of my experience as an educator. I believe that the purpose of schooling is to teach all children what it means to be a functioning member of a society. Schools must prepare students by teaching them not only to be productive citizens in the country in which they live, but in the Global community as well. However, parents cannot let the school system raise their children. I believe school alone cannot prepare students. Rather, parents must provide and be accountable for their children’s early education and continue to supply support and guidance throughout their child’s educational career and lives. Schools and parents must work together to do what is in the best interest of the child. I believe in developing strong home-school alliances.

I believe each individual child deserves the best opportunity to learn that the school can provide. Every child is capable of learning, and it is the responsibility of the school to help each child find success. As a principal, I believe teacher appraisal systems should promote sound educational principles, fulfillment of the school mission, and focus on student achievement so that the educational needs of students and the larger society are met.

I believe effective schools have curriculum documents that clearly identify learning targets for what students should know and be able to do at the completion of each course or grade level. Teachers should use the curriculum documents to deliberately plan for instruction. Teachers should adopt instructional strategies that are research-proven to help learners retain, use, and apply information. A teacher should come to school with a smile and be ready to help children learn.

I believe teachers will improve student achievement when they track student progress according to identified learning targets. Once the curriculum has been established and the instruction is planned, teachers should design tasks to gain evidence of student understanding and keep records to document how well the students are performing. Once the teachers are tracking student data, teachers can use the data to correlate classroom data with external test data, to make program changes, and to make individual student recommendations.

All teachers must set clear, challenging, and reachable goals for all students. By setting high expectations for all students, students will rise to the level of expectations that are set. Students should be actively involved in their learning and teachers should use a variety of assessment tools. I believe students should understand and be able to demonstrate the safe, ethical, and effective use of technology. I believe in allowing opportunities for students to do enrichment activities. I believe that students develop as people when given the opportunity to interact in different situations and discover what interests and talents they posses.

Through others, we become ourselves (L.S. Vygotsky). Behavior is determined by its consequences (B.F. Skinner). Lev Vygotsky’s philosophical views on children and learning, namely that children learn through experience and social interaction, have influenced my ideas regarding education. In addition, the ideas of Skinner and behaviorists regarding extrinsic motivation and positive reinforcement have helped develop my beliefs regarding schooling. My beliefs in the importance of teachers to be positive and “come to school with a smile” have been developed by the Reconstructionist views (George Counts) on the potential power of the teacher.

John Dewey once said, “The problem is not the educability of the child but the ingenuity of teachers in finding ways to help each child learn.” This statement has influenced my thinking about setting high expectations for students and finding ways to help all students achieve their very best. As far as the idea of achieving one’s best is concerned, the great basketball coach John Wooden has influenced me. He defines success to be “the self satisfaction that comes from knowing that you have done your very best to become the very best that you can be.” These are just some of the ideas and people that have influenced my current philosophical platform.

Again, thank you for visiting and best wishes!

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2 Responses to About

  1. How refreshing! It truly IS all about setting high expectations for the students and providing clearly stated, attainable goals for each child to strive to meet – as the educator enthusiastically demonstrates that we “are in their court”, cheering them along each obstacle! Reading this allowed me the opportunity to get to know YOU a little better and understand that we do, indeed, share the same philosophy. To be honest, Dr. Rhoads, I was somewhat concerned that your primary focus was perhaps too much on technology and not enough on the individual student. This article makes it apparent that nothing could be farther from the truth! I am also pleased to see that you understand the vital role of the parents in each student’s success. It seems that you have a real gift in motivating and challenging people to put forth their very best effort in all they do. I have NO doubt that Bluffton Middle School will SHINE with your leadership guiding the way. It would be an honor to work alongside you in your endeavors for BMS. If I am not chosen, please know that I will be cheerleading you from the sidelines! I know I will see great things accomplished!
    Page Wiedeman
    PS> John Wooden has been an inspiration to me as well. He will be missed!

  2. One additional comment: Something that has been on my mind regarding our interview: When you asked me about discipline in the media center…that has always been a question to stump me. And the reason is because I’ve actually never had to discipline anyone in the media center before. Because I let the students know in advance what my expectations are, and perhaps because they know that I am there to support them, the only thing I’ve ever had to really do is when one of two might start talking while I’m giving instruction, I will first make eye contact with them, then engage them by questioning techniques, and if they continue to be disruptive, I will share a story and try to motivate them to take responsibility for their actions. People want to please – especially when they know that you are pulling for them! I’m not really sure why I gave you the response I did, because I have actually never asked a teacher to discipline their student for me. I have, however, asked the teacher in advance if any of their students needed that extra attention, etc…

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