Inspiring Text

I have been rereading some books this summer that I really enjoyed a few years ago.  One book I am rereading is What’s Worth Fighting For in the Principalship, by Michael Fullan.  I really like this book, it’s a quick read and holds some great nuggets of inspiring text for school leaders.  I’m going to be adding some of my favorite quotes here over the next few days, so enjoy:

  • -School leaders improve learning indirectly through and most powerfully through their influence on staff motivation, commitment, and working conditions (NCSL – England, Seven Strong Claims About Successful School Leadership).

– Leadership is not about making clever decisions and doing bigger deals, least of all for personal gain.  It is about energizing other people to make good decisions and do better things.

  • Effective leadership inspires more than it empowers; it connects more than it controls; it demonstrates more than it decides.
  • Effective principals spend their time creating the conditions for teachers and teacher leaders to zero in on effective instructional practices, and to use data on student learning both as a leverage for improvement and as a source for external accountability.
  • …focused collaborative cultures generate greater student learning
  • Six components of a PLC: a focus on learning, a collaborative culture, collective inquiry, an action orientation, a commitment to continuous learning, and a concentration on results (from Dufour, Dufour, and Many (2006)).
  • Synthesized statement (my words): In a study done by Sisodia, Wolfe, and Sheth in Firms of Endearment when companies focus on changing culture their productivity soars!  The companies in this study were compared to Jim Collins set of 11 (2001 Good to Great), and they outperformed his set, over a ten year period, by 1,026%.
  • …the heart of what’s worth fighting for within the school is creating deep cultures that work daily on purposeful, continuous learning.
  • …system context is always more powerful than that of a single school.
  • …district wide reform depends on schools leveraging one another forward.
  • De-privatizing teaching involves opening up the world of the classroom ro scrutiny and continuous development of instruction
  • Leading knowledgeably must be the core role of the principal.  (24)
  • Leading knowledgeably
  • Marzano’s studies have shown: ” Students who have a teacher at the 75th percentile in terms of pedagogical competence will outgain students who have a teacher at the 25th percentile by 14th percentile points in reading and 18 percentile points in mathematics…students who have a 90th percentile teacher will outgain students who have a 50th percentile teacher by 13 percentile points in reading and 18 percentile points in mathematics.”
  • Leading knowledgeably means bringing all teachers to a high level of pedagogical effectiveness; but more than that, it means fostering interactions that keep teachers at that level through continuous application and refinement. (25)
  • Gawande says it is all about cultivating habits of “diligence,” “doing it right,” and “ingenuity.”
  • So, it is essential for school leaders to foster relentless consistency relative to those practices that are known to be effective practices that come to have the statis of being “non-negotiable.”
  • Pedagogical leadership is more effective than transformational leadership (paraphrased)
  • “effect sizes” of principals promoting and participating directly with teachers in the formal and informal learning of the use of data to influence appropriate instructional activities was more than twice as powerful as any other leadership dimension.
  • Knowledge is literally the substance of change
  • First, principals must make teaching and learning the driving focus.
  • I am saying principals should make ongoing instructional expertise a priority for themselves, as well as for their teachers.
  • Molding good leadership by coaching, praising, and empowering others (Munby, 2007)
  • There are many reasons principals should seek peer interaction with other schools.
  • No matter how you cut it, school principals have new opportunities and new obligations to help their schools participate in purposeful peer networks.  The school benefits, the system benefits.
  • Stimulating purposeful interaction – horizontally and vertically – provides the glue that helps complex systems to focus.
  • Six guidelines for principals:
  1. De-privatize teaching.
  2. Model instructional leadership.
  3. Build capacity first.
  4. Grow other leaders.
  5. Divert the distractors.
  6. Be a system leader.
  • One of the most powerful instructional practices involves assessment literacy – the strategic use of data to improve teaching on a daily basis (assessment for learning), and the capacity to monitor results and engage the external accountability system.
  • Six tasks of leadership identified by Tim Brighthouse (2007)
  1. Create energy
  2. Build capacity
  3. Meet and minimize crises
  4. Secure and enhance the environment
  5. Seek and chart improvement
  6. Extend the vision of what is possible
  • Districts need to promote transparency while playing down judgmentalism.

Good To Great

I am again listening to one of my favorite books Good To Great by Jim Collins.

One section particularly struck me today, and I think the words are worth listening to, especially for school leaders who believe in learning and leading infused with technology:

We need to be leaders who think about “technology” as a piece, yes a major piece, but a piece in the puzzle.  School leaders must be grounded in best practices, and be lifelong learners!  We need to be able to model great teaching, support our teachers, share leadership, help establish quality PLNs, encourage collaboration, analyze and use data to help adjust practices, be open to paradigm shifts, design professional development that leads to student results, and work systematically and systemically with our district.

Wow!  The role of the school leader is an important one and there are so many pieces to the puzzle!

Blogger Template Designer Announced

I must first admit that I am a WordPress fanatic.  I did however start my blogging escapades using Blogger, and one of my biggest complaints was the lack of customization. Google has released a Blogger Template Design Tool; something that I think will help get more people excited about using Blogger.  This is especially exciting for Google Apps For Ed.  Why?  Well I do believe that soon we will see Blogger included as one of the standard tools in Google Apps For Ed.

Official Story Here

New Changes Coming To Google Apps

I received this email tonight from the Google Apps Team, and the changes listed are in line with the beta editor, updated a few months ago, that users had the option of testing out.

Dear Google Apps admin,​
Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing important updates to Google Docs for all Google Apps customers. These updates are incremental and will not require you to retrain your users.

● Starting on June 16th, 2010, we will introduce new sharing settings in Google Docs, designed to make sharing easier and to give your users more control over their files.  Now your users will be able to assign a sharing setting to a file in just one step and see at-a-glance how each document is shared. To learn more, please visit the help center at http://goo.gl/I8Jp.

● Starting on June 21st, 2010, we will begin activating the new Google documents editor for all users.  This new editor offers character-by-character real-time collaboration, better document import fidelity, and many new features like built-in chat with co-editors. To learn more, please visit the help center at http://goo.gl/8Idy.

● Starting on June 30th, 2010, we will begin activating the new Google spreadsheets editor for all users.  This new editor offers many new features like an editable formula bar, cell auto-complete and faster performance.  To learn more, please visit the help center at http://goo.gl/Qgze.
Sincerely,

The Google Apps team
Email preferences: You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important changes to your Google Apps product or account.
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043


I've gone Google
Creative Commons License photo credit: Håkan Dahlström

Internet Safety Education, Not Filtering!

“An online safety committee created by Congress will recommend on Friday that educators and government leaders focus on teaching children and parents about safe Internet practices while recognizing the limits of filtering technology in protecting young people. “- http://bit.ly/9E0KKj

Read the full article by Cecilia King, of the Washington Post, here: http://bit.ly/9E0KKj

Some internet safety resources: