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Posted by on in Education Leadership

“I always wanted to be honest with myself and to those who had faith in me.”
– Rafael Nadal 


Have you ever had to “unlearn” something? Do you think Yield Signs are still yellow (as you may have learned), or do you know that they are red?

yieldsignyello

What about the planets? Do you still remember the mnemonic device “My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Porcupines (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto)”? Or do you know that Pluto is no longer a planet (due to scientific discoveries between 1992-2000).

Have you ever had to unlearn a concept like leadership or professional learning? Well, Nick Polyak and I have a book coming out in March 2017 with the following title: The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today, with the following chapter titles:

Chapter 1: Unlearning Connection
Chapter 2: Unlearning Planning and the Change Process
Chapter 3: Unlearning “That’s the Way We Have Always Done it”
Chapter 4: Unlearning Fear of Social Media
Chapter 5: Unlearning Professional Development
Chapter 6: Unlearning Leadership

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Last year, I participated in more Twitter chats than I can count.  I co-hosted 2 Edcamps and went to a national conference.  I even traveled to Australia to present at a conference!  But, there was one professional development experience that surpassed any of those events by far; and it didn't cost me anything.  I participated in the inaugural Shadow a Student Challenge!

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In my work with design thinking, the foundational premise is based on the concept of gaining empathy to understand how best to help others and solve the right problems.  As a result, School ReTool, IDEO, Stanford's d.schools, and the Hewlett Foundation combined forces to create a movement to excite school leaders in spending a day shadowing a student to provide powerful insights and experiences in better understanding the world we are creating for our students, and how we can make it even better.

Even though we could all say we went to school when we were younger and are surrounded by students all day, shadowing a student, as a student, provides a whole different context.  It took time to blend in and remind myself of the pace of the day and true shifts in the uplifted cognitive rigor in our classrooms.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

School starts again tomorrow after the holiday break. Teachers are thinking about how to make the day special for students, how to welcome them back in a way that helps them feel connected and happy about being back at school. They champion their students, thinking about each one of them and how they might be feeling tomorrow.

What are principals thinking about? Getting through observations? State testing coming up in the spring? Documents to prepare for state mandates? All important things and worthy of time and attention, but not at the sacrifice of leading the adults in the school.

Principals, instead, are you thinking about how to welcome teachers back in a way that helps them feel connected and happy about being back at school? Are you championing the teachers, and thinking about how each one of them might be feeling tomorrow? 

Share how you are a #Champion4Teachers as we welcome teachers and students back from the holiday break.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

inspire2017

It's becoming a tradition for me to begin thinking about in at the beginning of December.  As the days get closer to the end of the month, a myriad of emotions ensue ranging from hopfulness, passion, and to excitement, nevousness, and doubt.  For the past two years, I have participated in the One Word Challenge, and choosing next year's One Word hasn't been easy.  

The One Word Challenge is for leaders to identify one word they will use for the next year that helps to anchor them in stretching and reaching for something more.  At first, I thought it was a fad with people creating graphics of their word, posting them on social media for a few weeks, and then it disappearing - no different than 99% of New Year's Resolutions out there.  But, the challenge has been pivotal in my personal growth not only as a leader but a person in all areas. 

Last year, I instituted some leadership defiance and went with two words - Not Yet.  In the wake of the growth mindset craze, I wanted something to provoke me to not be comfortable and settle with my current state and limitations.  Over the course of the year, these two words stayed in my heart and on my lips when I was confronted with trials or roadblocks that did took me out of my comfort zone.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

letter to Santa2

Dear Santa,

All we want for Christmas is for our staffs to learn to know and love Twitter like we do! How can we bestow this gift to our staffs this year in a way that would be meaningful?

As leaders we are faced each day with the task of helping teachers be better, better for our kids and better for each other.  There is no better gift that we can give our students than a skilled, innovative, loving and connected teacher in front of them everyday. How can we, as model leaders, gently lead teachers to a wealth of resources that will make them better, faster?

The answer to this, we believe, is helping teachers build a Professional Learning Network in Twitter.  In 140 characters they can get connected with like minded (or maybe not so like minded) educators going through some of the same struggles that they share.  They can find resources, ideas, and learn about positive trends in education today. How can principals accomplish this?  Principals can lead teachers to this understanding by building their own PLN and sharing the value of this wealth of knowledge with the staff.  

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