Take a couple of minutes to watch this video. Listen from the different perspectives you have: teacher, student, friend, community member.
What are your take-a-ways? Here are mine:
"Dreams without goals ultimately fuel disappointment. Have dreams, but have goals." I think this is what makes the difference between those that seem to live their dreams and those that do not. You must work hard to make dream a reality. Having smaller, achievable, attainable, progressive goals help you to achieve your dreams. What are your dreams? How will you get there? How can I help you get there?
Fail Big. Don't Be Afraid to Fail.
I talk about being willing to fail all the time. We must step outside of our comfort zone and push ourself. That is how we grow. If we do not increase the rigor, challenge our thinking, stimulate our minds and body differently, we won't grow; instead we become stagnate. We are not adjusting and adapting to an ever-changing world.
I will not be upset if you are trying something new to improve student learning and it does not go the way you want it to go. I will celebrate it and help you to trouble shoot what went wrong. I would rather have you miss big trying to improve than stay safe and not grow.
What a great example of the 9 dots as a part of the IQ test. It required test takers to think outside the box... to think differently. Sometimes we just cannot operate outside of the parameters we are given. That's okay. It does not mean we cannot think differently and take different approaches within the box we have to work in. Be willing to think differently and take a different approach.
Don't confuse movement with progress.
Doing a lot more does not mean you are getting a lot more done. I think many of us are guilty of this, me included. We are so busy doing, and doing, and doing that we get to the end of a day or week and we cannot really say what we accomplished. The remedy for this: focus on what needs to be done to get you where you need to be. Take advantage of the time you have and be as productive as you can be in that allotted time.
Don't just aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference.
As educators, we are in the people business. We contribute to the growth and development of future generations. We are difference makers in the lives of our students. Being a teacher is more than just a job. It is a calling. The work you do each day matters. Aspire to make a positive difference in the lives of each of your students. If you go into each day with that mindset, you will be just fine.
I am looking forward to a fantastic 2017-2018. I hope you are too!
Think. Achieve. Succeed.
It is the first of August. School administrators across America are working diligently to prepare for the rapidly approaching school year. To do lists are growing by the minute and meetings seem to take more time than normal. The anxiety and excitement is building around the knowns and unknowns related to the start of a new school year. This is one of my favorite times of the year.
As does most every other principal on the eve of a new school year, I spend time reviewing data. The purpose of this data review is to help me know the needs of my campus. I use the data to identify areas of strength and areas of growth. When data is used properly, it can reinforce the work of a faculty and when it is used recklessly it can destroy the morale of a campus. Data analysis and use is critical to the success of a school.
Today, I spent a great deal of time reviewing engagement data. I was not looking at data to show the growth rates and improvement of students. Instead, I was looking for the engagement data of my staff.
I spent time reviewing over the data that reflects if my staff is engaged in their work and accepting of my challenges. In my opinion, this is some of the most important data a principal can collect about his or her campus. I reviewed staff attendance rates, budget expenditures and usages, paper consumption, printing costs, student program participation rates, number of student club sponsorships, and attendance at professional learning opportunities.
In short, I am looking at the engagement levels of my staff. Why? A couple of years ago Gallup Poll released this study about teacher engagement in America. If you are not familiar with this study and report, you must to read it.
Staggering isn't it? 70% of the teachers in America are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work. This means that only 3 out of 10 teachers in every school are engaged in their work. That is unacceptable. That should not happen. According to Gallup, it happens each day.
What did I find? I found engagement. Lots and lots of engagement. I am very pleased with the data because it shows that my faculty and staff are active and a part of my school. The data I reviewed shows that my faculty is accepting my challenges to grow, improve, adjust, and challenge the status quo to do what is best for their kids. That is critical.
I am not going to put any spoilers here because I want to share this with my staff before I share it with my PLN… sorry, it is just a respect thing. So why am I sharing this with you? I want to challenge you to see if your faculty and staff is engaged in your school.
Look for that engagement data. How do you know if your staff is really engaged in your school if you never look for the data so show the engagement?
Think. Achieve. Succeed.
I find myself nearing the end of a long, yet, fast season of summer school. Not as an administrator, but as a student. Over the past 10 weeks my doctoral cohort and I have experienced some struggle with learning STATS I and STATS II online and developing our qualitative research and writing skills. It has been a blur to say the least.
What have I learned? Besides ANOVA, Regressions, and Qualitative Coding Techniques?
I am reminded of the importance of perseverance in education.
Throughout these past 10 weeks we have been grappling with very difficult content, hours of videos, pages of writing, and many, many, many long hours. The thought of giving up comes to mind from time to time. This is difficult stuff to learn this quickly.
Then I am reminded of this:
Being successful in academics does not always mean that you are the smartest person in the room. It does not always mean that you are first one to turn in the assignment or the first person to solve the problem. Being successful in academics means that you did not stop until you achieved excellence in the task at hand.
Do we teacher this to our kids or do we just expect them to know what this looks like?
As educators, we cannot lose sight of this when it comes to teaching our kids. We must teach our students the power of perseverance. We cannot afford to let them give up, no matter how difficult the task at hand may seem. Does your boss let you do less than what is expected for the task at hand because you do not want to do it or because it was too difficult to complete? I highly doubt it. We cannot afford to accept nothing less than their excellence.
How will you help your students to persevere to their excellence this year? If you will not hold them to that standard, who will?
Think. Achieve. Succeed.
Director of Instruction and Leadership Development
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
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