Stay Calm! No, Seriously – STAY CALM!

Today I had the privilege of taking my CPI refresher class.  I love this training!  For years I was a certified trainer, and I truly can’t say enough about the great things CPI does!

My colleague and trainer today shared the fabulous clip below.  It was a great reminder that as leaders (teachers, administrators, and more!) we must remain calm, cool, and collected when we face even the toughest of circumstances.  Our calm is contagious and those you lead are watching!  What kind of contagion will you spread today?


Some Of My Favorite Quotes From Weekend Reading Pt 1

Fullan, Michael.  Kid’s Can’t Wait.  Winter 2014

Associated with degrees of school/district autonomy under the following conditions:

1. Focusing on powerful pedagogies linked to deep student learning

2. Transparency of results and practice

3. Principal and teacher collective participation in instruction

4. Purposeful collaboration with other schools/district

5. Shared standards, metrics and evidence regarding progress

6. Establishing processes that ‘systematize the work’

7. Mutual commitment to combine internal and external accountability


Right vs Wrong Drivers RIGHT DRIVERS

 Capacity building

 Collaborative work

 Instruction

 Systemness


 Accountability

 Individual teacher and leadership quality

 Technology

 Fragmented strategies


Maximizing Impact from Instructional Leadership

 Be specifically involved in instruction so that teachers are knowledgeable about its

nature and importance.

 Resist the micromanaging of one teacher at a time.

 Focus on actions that will shape the culture of learning more powerfully.

 Develop the professional capital of teachers as a group.


Agent of Change

 Moves people and organizations forward under difficult conditions

Leading Learning

 Models learning and shapes the conditions for all to learn

System Player

 Contributes to and benefits from system improvement

The Leader Learner: The Principal’s New Role

To lead the school’s teachers in a process of learning to improve their teaching, while To increase impact, principals should use their time differently. They should direct their energies to developing the group. (p. 55)

Learning alongside them about what works and what doesn’t. (p. 55)

The principal does not lead all instructional learning. The principal works to ensure that intense instructional focus and  continuous learning are the core work of the school and does this by being a talent scout and social engineer, building a culture for learning, tapping others to co-lead, and, well, basically being a learning leader for all. (p. 90)

Skills for Leading Change :

1. Challenges the status quo

2. Builds trust through clear communication and expectations

3. Creates a commonly owned plan for success

4. Focuses on team over self

5. Has a sense of urgency for sustainable results

6. Commits to continuous improvement for self

7. Builds external networks and partnerships. (Kirtman, in The Principalship, p. 128)


Choosing The Right Drivers

I recently listened to a great talk by Michael Fullan on Choosing The Right Drivers, and this may have been my favorite quote:

“If you are strong on the vision but weak in the strategy the wrong drivers will fill the vacuum.” Michael Fullan

What is an EPSE?

Public schooling has been under attack recently.  The view of the public school teacher has been negatively portrayed in the media lately. Don’t get me wrong, I am pro reform in public schools, but I am pro informed reform!  As a principal and teacher I see the daily work and care my teachers pour into their students and I think it’s time we school leaders promote some deserved recognition and appreciation.

I am blessed to work in a school district that has a proactive superintendent who is an advocate for best practices, students, teachers, and public schooling.  My superintendent, Dr. Jeff Swensson, recently wrote and article in the Indianapolis Star that inspired me to write this post and share his article.  Please take 5 minutes to read his article here: EPSE Awards

I agree with what Dr. Swensson said, “I recommend that each of us takes a moment to award an EPSE. What will be the result when you send your e-mail, make that phone call or have a brief conversation to present an EPSE?”
Leaders, get involved in promoting a positive pat on the back for your teachers in your community!  I hope the following creation can help you get started!  I have created a certificate that parents and students could fill out and give to their teacher to say thank you!  You can access it here: EPSE AWARD CERTIFICATE FORM —– CERTIFICATE (NOT IN FORM MODE)
Please feel free to share this!  My hope is that this helps build on Dr. Swensson’s idea and that we can spread some love and appreciation, as well as a positive perception, toward our public school teachers who work hard to make our students successful!
Original Photo Credit: AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Jeff the Trojan; Manipulated by Chris Atkinson

Great Leaders Keep The Focus On Student Learning

I love working in the Carmel Clay School district, and the last two days I spent at the administrators retreat were so refreshing.  Leaders focused on student learning, inspring teachers, and continually working toward excellence!  Tonight I came across a blog post on the NSDC blog, check out this quote and read the article by clicking the link below.

“Without effective leaders, public education is often a maelstrom of competing interests. Attention and effort can shift from students’ needs to responding to the most powerful or persistent adult voices. School system leaders understand that one of their roles is to modulate and, in some cases, resist these demands, ensuring that the system’s focus remains on student learning. This is often exhausting work and certainly not the reason most leaders chose public education as a career. Nevertheless, leaders prepare for and embrace this role, understanding that their success directly impacts student performance.”