Anyone that knows me will understand how painful typing the title to this newsletter was for me. But I mean it. Sort of. Data collection at its absolute essence should not be about graphs and fun charts. Data collection in schools should be about gaining information to direct how we can best change adult behavior to get the results we desire. Or, if we are fortunate enough to be already achieving the desired results, we should use the data collection… Read More »QUIT COLLECTING DATA
My friends and colleagues have been receiving random emails containing my musings on all things education and leadership for years. This newsletter is just my attempt to formalize the process and add value to anyone’s journey that I possibly can.
The last ten weeks or so have been the hardest in my professional career, with the only exception of those involving the tragic loss of a student. Sleep has been hard to come by. Or . . . more accurately – falling asleep on the couch when I should be acting as a dad has been easy; staying asleep at night – not so much. In fact, I am writing this at an ungodly hour. Now, there are few things… Read More »We are Not at Our Best Right Now
Why do we call them “Difficult” Conversations? This practice makes no sense to me. I believe in the power of language. As a result, when we proactively label something as hard or undesirable and then wonder why people do not engage in the activity more often it seems foolhardy. We have already declared the task as, in this case, difficult. STEP ONE. Quit calling them difficult conversations and start calling them meaningful conversations. The next thing we need to do… Read More »Making Difficult Conversations More Meaningful
Are you ready for something completely different? I think this may be fun. I normally write about leadership and education, but since I was on vacation last week, I thought I may as well write about that. Now, before I start I will admit that I am not a travel expert, so this is nothing more than a collection of my meandering experiences and thoughts about one of my favorite places on Earth – Las Vegas. I am sure some… Read More »Vegas, baby!
Last week I detailed my 10 favorite interview questions for prospective principals. This week I will do the same with interview questions for teachers. As we approach the start of the school year, there will be thousands of educators hired throughout the country over the next few weeks. My hope for you is that these questions will help you (as an administrator) in your endeavor to hire an outstanding teacher or aid you (as a teacher) in your personal search… Read More »Interview Season is Upon Us (Part 2 of 2)
July 1st is the official start of a new fiscal year in many places but almost universally serves as the symbolic dividing line between the concluding school year and the one about to begin. This also means that many school leaders are in a mad dash to hire high quality educators to work within their school systems. So, while I could rant about the educator shortage (as I did here) – I thought it would be more fun to list… Read More »Interview Season is Upon Us
Just about everyone I know has worked in a school, district, or organization that has gone through some type of planning activity to set itself up for future success. That said, I want to make this resoundingly clear: Not every school, district, or organization that I work with has an operational improvement plan. As a disclaimer, organizations call these plans all sorts of different things, so whatever vernacular you may use is fine. I am talking about some type of… Read More »Your Strategic Plan May Stink, But We Can Fix That
I get called a lot of names as superintendent. Most of them, not flattering. Some, I must say, are incredibly creative, however. But nothing gets under my skin more than questioning my integrity. If you want to get my blood pressure up, just call me a liar. As such, this idea for a newsletter has been sitting on my idea whiteboard for about two months and I have not had the guts to write it. But, here it goes .… Read More »Who are you lying to?
So, I have made a mistake. It is certainly not the first, but it is the one that has stuck in my head the most over the past month or so and as a result, I need to come clean. One of the topics I speak, rant, consult, and blog the most on is the concept of school culture. I subscribe to a few simple and direct theories about school culture and my experience, research, and beliefs have shown me… Read More »Culture Conundrum
When was the last time you walked out of a meeting and thought, “that was an awesome use of time!”? Ideally, you say that pretty often – particularly if you are in charge of leading the meeting. However, my suspicion is that isn’t the case. While there are literally countless ways to talk about why many meetings are ineffective at best, and torture at worst, I want to focus on the common practice of establishing norms in this newsletter. Discussing… Read More »Normal Norms Are Not Awesome