Good Leaders Make Good Schools

I’ve always believed that creating the best schools is about creating the right culture. In this NY Times Op-Ed, David Brooks, agrees that improving schools starts with the principal and “What do principals do? They build a culture.”

In Good Leaders Make Good Schools, Brooks highlights some recent successes in education and draws the connection to the whole school environment and “the liturgies of practice that govern the school day: the rituals for welcoming members into the community; the way you decorate walls to display school values; the distribution of power across the community; the celebrations of accomplishment and the quality of trusting relationships.”

And that begins with – shout out here- to excellent principalship! “Principals set the culture by their very behavior — the message is the person.”

Yet, this doesn’t happen alone. An outstanding leader will implement what we have known: “Research also suggests a collaborative power structure is the key. A lot of teachers want to be left alone and a lot of principals don’t want to give away power, but successful schools are truly collaborative.”

So, fellow leaders… think about what you represent everyday in how you communicate with all people, where you spend your time, and how you trust your team as leaders.

“When you learn about successful principals, you keep coming back to the character traits they embody and spread: energy, trustworthiness, honesty, optimism, determination.”

Social media disaster or golden learning opportunity?

1,000 Danes Accused of Child Pornography for Sharing Video of Teens” was a recent article in the NYTimes.

What? How did that happen? What is going on? If you have any opportunities to work with teens regarding privacy and social responsibility around digital citizenship or social media, here is a golden opportunity. Follow this lesson link to use that article and event as a jump in point for deconstructing what happened and helping teens make meaning out of this situation.

Angry Customers Don’t Want an Apology

There are a lot of similarities between an angry customer and an angry student/parent/colleague.  This article answers the question, what is the best way to move forward when anger happens, and breaks down next steps into a pretty simple structure of 3 phases after the initial empathy.

Initial empathy: I am sorry….

Phase 1: Sensing: ask questions to try and understand the issue

Phase 2: Seeking: brainstorm and explore potential solutions

Phase 3: Settling: working with the person to choose the solution that will provide the best outcome.

My two cents, it is important to demonstrate that how the person is feeling matters to you. Be sincere and attentive.

Source: Angry Customers Don’t Want an Apology

Carol Dweck does it again! Watch/ use this RSA Animate to help remind or educate yourself about helping students reach their greatest potential.

What Parents Can Do to Stop Sexual Harassment | Harvard Graduate School of Education

This article is a great starting point for important and timely conversations about what we are role modeling and messaging to our kids. In addition to a parenting opportunity, a next step is to push the envelope about where we are making time in school for these important conversations… is it Health Class, parent sessions, part of advisory curriculum? All of those? I would highlight the need to look deeply at being a “Critical Consumer of Media and Culture.” Let’s get going and teach our kids!

Source: What Parents Can Do to Stop Sexual Harassment | Harvard Graduate School of Education