Leadership

A Successful School Leader…

How would you complete that sentence?

What qualities are needed to be a successful school leader?

This is something that is important to me.  I have worked in a number of different schools in the 17 years that I have been teaching and it is becoming so much more important to me that I work for and with a principal and Head of School that possess the qualities of a great leader.  But what are these qualities?

For me, the qualities of a great leader are defined as:

  • Fearlessness: Not operating from a place of fear. Embracing the unknown.
  • Passion: Loving what you do and excelling at it.
  • Vision: Looking ahead, looking forward, embracing the unknown.
  • Action: Acting on one’s vision
  • Kindness: The world needs more of this.  Be kinder than necessary.

What would make your list?

Author, Jeremy Sutcliffe wondered the same thing: “What are the qualities needed to make a successful school leader?”  He asked this question and then published his results in a book (unimaginatively) called  8 Qualities of Successful School Leaders: the desert island challenge, published by Bloomsbury.

Here are his top eight:

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  1. Vision
  2. Courage
  3. Passion
  4. Emotional Intelligence
  5. Judgement
  6. Resilience
  7. Persuasion
  8. Curiosity

In this article from the Guardian, the ideas behind the words are explained in a little more detail and make for interesting reading.

What kind of leader do you need?  What kind of leader are you?

 

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Leadership, Teaching

The Parent Trap

Any excuse to get in another photo of my cute little girl.
Any excuse to get in another photo of my cute little girl.

I have always said that the beginning of a new school year is one of my favorite times as a teacher.  Aside from the school supplies (come on – who doesn’t love new school supplies!) there is that option for things to be different – better, stronger, more thoughtful, more personalized….better. I think the day I start a school year without wondering how it can be better is the day I need to stop teaching.

Last year I began my year with massive intentions. I penned a letter to my incoming students and their families and I was so ready for an awesome year. While the year did not pan out as I had anticipated, it was a learning experience nonetheless and as I begin this year, here are five things I have learned with particular regard to parents:

  1. Be straight up with parents from the beginning. This can be hard but it is worth it. If you notice something in their child, see if they notice it too.  Don’t be quick to ‘fix’ the child, but let the parents know that you know.
  2. Stop unproductive parent interactions immediately.  I had the unfortunate experience of a couple of sets of very negative parents who would randomly bombard me with emails that didn’t move conversations forward or seek to solve problems. I am sure this will happen again at some point. When it does, I will ask to meet with these people so that we can solve the issue in a timely manner. I know this sounds logical but you know the type of parents I am talking about and for me anyway, it can be tough to initiate such a conversation.
  3. Tap into your parent body and share your why with them. In as much as I was more challenged in a negative way by parents last year than ever before, I was also more challenged in a positive way by parents too. Our parents are smart, educated, thoughtful, caring people. In the past three years, they have provided me with some of the best PD I have had through the sharing of resources, books, websites, and the conversations we have had back and forth. Thankfully technology means these conversations will continue, and I hope will be enhanced by interactions with my new parent body too.
  4. Be clear in your expectations. I find when parents know what you expect, they are more comfortable with what you ask of their children. Again, I think this goes back to explaining why you are doing what you are doing, not just outlining the nuts and bolts of a task.
  5. Thank your parents. A lot. For everything. Always.

I was reading an article titled 19 Meaningful Questions You Should Ask Your Child’s Teacher. The list is thorough, challenging, and as the title states, meaningful.  It would also be quite overwhelming as a teacher to be asked all 19 in one session – the author suggests parents opt for one or two to start and work their way through them as the year progresses.

Here is the list:

19 Questions Your Child’s Teacher Would (Probably) Love to Answer

  1. What academic standards do you use, and what do I need to know about them?
  2. How will you respond if or when my child struggles in class?
  3. What are the most important and complex (content-related) ideas my child needs to understand by the end of the year?
  4. Do you focus on strengths or weaknesses?
  5. How are creativity and innovative thinking used on a daily basis in your classroom?
  6. How is critical thinking used on a daily basis in your classroom?
  7. How are assessments designed to promote learning rather than simple measurement?
  8. What can I do to support literacy in my home?
  9. What kinds of questions do you suggest that I ask my children on a daily basis about your class?
  10. How exactly is learning personalized in your classroom? In the school?
  11. How do you measure academic progress?
  12. What are the most common instructional or literacy strategies you will use this year?
  13. What learning models do you use (e.g., project-based learning, mobile learning, game-based learning, etc.), and what do you see as the primary benefits of that approach?
  14. What are the best school or district resources for students and/or families that no one uses?
  15. Is there technology you’d recommend that can help support my child in self-directed learning?
  16. What are the most common barriers you see to academic progress in your classroom?
  17. How is education changing?
  18. How do you see the role of the teacher in the learning process?
  19. What am I not asking but should be?

 

As teachers, we often lament the lack of interest or involvement of our parents.  I wonder what we would do if these questions were asked of us?  Would we be able to answer them in a smart, eloquent way?

As a new parent, I am a long way off from my first parent-teacher conference in the role of the parent. My husband has already vetoed my right to speak with my child’s teacher as he thinks I will be too scary. I think hearing the answers to some of these questions would be really interesting and offer insight into the type of person my child will be spending so much time with.

Questions 4,7 and 11 are grounded in the idea of assessment and progress and would be ones I would both want to know about as a parent, but also ones I want to be able to give really clear, honest answers about as a teacher.  Anyone who answers question 17 by referencing Seth Godin would rocket straight to the top of my ‘best teacher ever’ list 🙂

How do you initiate or encourage these types of questions from your parents?

How do you ensure there really is a partnership between parents and teachers at your school?

Innovation, Leadership, PYP

The Big C

I read this post on Inquire Within a couple of weeks ago and it has been sitting with me ever since.  Such good ideas in it! Please go and read it.

The post talks about all the ‘c’ words that are often used to describe education and learning in the 21st Century:

C Words 1

 

 

The author goes on to suggest that all of these very important C words could all be ‘ruled’ by one BIG C:

C Words 2

 

 

CONTROL

“Control in the sense of ownership, investment and engagement, degree of agency and autonomy. Control to exercise choice. Control to pursue curiosity.”

And here is where I am really won over:

…in the giving of control, I believe we provide student learners with more opportunities to practice the skills organically and authentically than if we assign them work organized into the seven “Cs.” Through the autonomy of control – motivated by the control of choice – we naturally invest ourselves in those seven “Cs.” When we feel in control, we learn to take control, and we develop our capacities to maintain good control.

 

This is brilliant – and at the same time, can be really hard for adults to do.

We are in the middle of our PYP Exhibition and it is all about the kids being in control of their own learning.  There are guidelines and supports in the form of checklists, workshops, and mentors, but ultimately, the kids are in control. And that can be hard for teachers and parents to deal with but so worth it for everyone if we can learn to back off a little and trust in the process, trust in the child, and be mindful of where they are at and how we can best support their learning.

Giving control of learning to the child doesn’t mean sitting in the corner with your feet up and letting them flounder.  It means becoming an observer, a guide, a road map of sorts – ready to be referenced.  It means being attuned to what is going on in your classroom and being prepared to ask for clarification from the children in your class.  It means posing the right questions, sharing the right provocations, providing the appropriate amount of time for them to work their magic.

It also means modeling the characteristics we expect in our children:

  • We have to take risks even (or especially!) when we don’t know what the outcome will be.  
  • We have to believe in our mission and vision and make sure we are not just talking the talk.
  • We have to be a beacon of change if we are expecting our kids to do school differently.
  • And we have to be prepared to let go of control ourselves, so that our kids can see what that looks like.

What kind of educator are you?

One that thrives on being in control or one that is prepared to let go, even in the face of possible failure?

One of the people I look to in terms of someone who reimagines education is Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy. In his book, The One World Schoolhouse, he says the following:

Sal Khan

 

To me, this is what CONTROL is all about.  Creating a nurturing and supportive classroom environment in which children are actively engaged in their own learning.

 

Inspiration, Leadership

10 Rules for Students and Teachers (and Life) by John Cage and Sister Corita Kent | Brain Pickings

10 Rules for Students and Teachers (and Life) by John Cage and Sister Corita Kent | Brain Pickings.

 

This is a beautiful post from Brain Pickings – and thanks to Tricia, a timely reminder on the eve of going back to school:

Some Rules for Students and Teachers

(my favorite, by far, is Rule Six – perfect)

Some Rules for Teachers and Students

Leadership

Quitting is Not An Option

 

 

Quitting is not an option. It is a phrase we hear a lot, but do we really mean it?  And when push comes to shove, would you quit?  Is there anything that would stop you?

 

Today I went to my first Air Show.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but I had a super-excited husband accompanying me and it was a great day out!   One of the aerial displays was from a man named Dan Buchanan.  Dan moved from New York to Lake Tahoe and was in the process of pursuing his private pilots license in 1981, when he had a hang glider accident as a result of flying in weather that he confesses he shouldn’t have been flying in. Dan was paralyzed and lost the use of his legs.  Despite this, he was back flying six months later.  He continues to share the thrill of flight with millions of people around the world during his annual 25+ city Air show tour, driving 45,000+ miles each summer.

As I watched him zipping around in his hang glider, I had no clue that he was without the use of his legs.  When I met him after his performance, I was struck by the passion for his sport that emanated from him.

 

 

So I ask you again…

When push comes to shove, would you quit?  

Is there anything that would stop you from pursuing your passion?

Inspiration, Leadership

Who Let the Dog….In? 7 Lessons Learned From Bringing My Dog to School.

This is Abby one morning before school. Excited, much?
When students needed help, Abby was excellent at offering Apple advice.

We have a “No Dogs Allowed” policy at my school, which is understandable given the complexity of mixing animals with little people and the unpredictable nature of both.  I have a dog whom I adore. One of our fifth graders was doing a project on the impact of animals on humans.  Can you see where my brain immediately went? After seeking all the appropriate permissions, Abby (the best dog in the world) was allowed to start school! I couldn’t have been more proud – of both Abby (the wonder dog) and my school for having the courage to re-evaluate their decision and make an exception in the best interests of the students.

Abby was great at monitoring student behavior when working independently.

The student and I had done a lot of reading about other schools in which dogs were allowed, and in fact welcomed, at school. The premise of Abby joining us in the classroom was to see the impact – positive or negative – first hand. While I was pretty confident it would be awesome (our dog being the best dog in the world and all) I was not prepared for…..well, the things I had not anticipated, the learning beyond my expectations.

Abby was just as capable overseeing group work outside.

Abby was an avid reader and especially enjoyed silent reading in the library.

I had imagined…

  • kids would be excited
  • class would develop sense of responsibility
  • we would bond over having something special/different to other classes
  • Abby would be ‘used’ as a reward, point of relaxation or de-stress and all out fun
Abby knew when a student just needed a little one-on-one time.

In reality…

Most of what I anticipated, actually happened.  What I hadn’t imagined was that bringing Abby to school would actually open up relationships with kids that previously had been a little distant to me.

I am one of two fifth grade teachers and our combined ‘class’ of 28 kids (13 in one, 15 in another) do almost everything together. Kids from ‘the other class’ that to me had appeared a little disinterested and didn’t really go out of their way to engage in conversation, were now asking me questions about their work, talking to me about Abby, telling me about their own pets, looking for ways to help out with Abby and telling me how much they loved having her at school.  These were not ‘disruptive’ or ‘unengaged’ students prior to her arrival, but there was definitely a void in the connection between us.  When they met Abby and saw how much I loved her, an inroad was established and conversations flourished.  We connected. As a teacher, I felt like I had a better understanding of these kids, I saw them in a different light – as they did me – and I ended up learning a lot about, with and from them in the last few weeks of the year.

There was high demand for her pillow service.

On the last day of school, I was reminded that Abby would not be allowed back next year.  I was not surprised – this was a one off project – but I was disappointed.  Disappointed for me that I would have to leave my gorgeous dog at home each day, disappointed for my kids next year that they won’t get the same experience this year’s class had, disappointed for me (again!) that I wouldn’t be able to share this side of me, this passion, with my incoming class, and disappointed for my school that they were missing the opportunity to make school different. 

Our school used to allow dogs at school but over time (before I came here) it seemed to get out of hand with dogs coming that were less than friendly and ultimately resulting in the ban on dogs. I knew Abby at school was an exception to the rule and I was super grateful for that, but given that Abby will probably not (never say never!) be allowed back, the thought that is running through my head is:

How can I make sure to connect with all students in my class on SOME level next year?

I think the answer is to let them bring “their Abby” to school.  Their passion.  The love of their life.  The ‘thing’ that makes the school day go by in a blur and learning seem like a walk in the park. I want them to ‘bring on the weird’ – that love for MineCraft, the ability to knit, the singing voice that is usually reserved for the shower or the bedroom, the doodles, the tech tools, the art skills, the athletic prowess, the philanthropy, the passion for photography, reading, books, art, music, drawing, politics, cooking, baking, sewing, running, jumping, throwing, cars, plane, boats, hot air balloons, hairstyles or even fingernails! Whatever it is, I want them to bring it to school.  We encourage this in the younger grades (who doesn’t remember ‘Show and Tell’) so why not in fifth grade?  

Abby was a great hall monitor!

My 7 ‘takeaways’ from The Abby Project:

Regardless of Abby being at school or not, I want the spirit of The Abby Project to live on.  Here is how I am going to make that happen:

  • Start every day with enthusiasm
  • Wag your tail, always
  • Show you care
  • Be supportive
  • Pay attention
  • Bark less, listen more
  • End each day with the wind in your ears!
End every day with the wind in your ears!
Leadership, Organization

Survey Your Audience

Part 2 in a series inspired by Seth Godin’s NYC Pick Yourself event. (Part 1 here)

This photo was posted by @willrich45, a parent, author, speaker and blogger about social web tools and their effect on school, education and learning, whom I follow on Twitter.  Here is the text of the article:

Public school students as young as 5 are being asked to consider their classroom experiences in surveys that will soon become one of the high-stakes measures used to evaluate teachers.  The surveys – part of a pilot program – were administered to students in kindergarten through 12th grade for the first time in March in 18 schools and will be given to 82 schools next year, potentially multiple times.  The Department of Education declined to release results from the March surveys, saying the data are still being analyzed.  While some educators worry the surveys will reflect poorly on teachers who are strict or tough, the surveys’ developers say the questionnaires are research-based and have been found to be highly linked to teacher effectiveness. “We’re asking students about what they’re experiencing in the classroom.  They’re not popularity questions,” said Rob Ramsdell, director of the Tripod Project which creates the surveys for dozens of school districts.  “We have a lot of reason to believe that kids take it seriously and that the information we are getting is valuable.” he said.


I googled “Tripod Project” and found that the Tripod survey assessments are an integral part of the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through this site, I was able to view a copy of a questionnaire that would be given to an elementary student.  Ignoring that fact that it is four pages long, I actually think it has some interesting statements on it:

Interesting.

If you don’t understand something, my teacher explains it another way.

In class, we learn to correct our mistakes.

In our class, mistakes are ok if you tried your best.

Students get to decide how activities are done in this class.

My teacher wants me to explain my answers – why I think what I think.

As a teacher, I would hope that I do these things.  I would like to think that I explain things through different lenses and help my kids learn from their mistakes and learn that making mistakes IS learning.  I like the use of the word ‘activities’ in the fourth statement.  Once you have decided what your big idea and guiding questions are, the children should have input into the things they do (activities) that will help them best develop their understanding.  When I read the last statement I laughed aloud at the thought of my kids answering that question as I feel like I constantly torture them with wanting to know why, why, WHY?!

Less Interesting.

This class is neat – everything has a place and is easy to find.

My teacher takes the time to summarize what we have learned each day.

My teacher tells us what we are learning and why.

My teacher makes me want to go to college.

Most of these points make me feel that the kids are at the mercy of their teacher.  Why can’t the kids summarize their learning each day?  Why not ask the kids what they are learning and why they think they are learning it? I can see value in a teacher modeling this kind of thinking/dialogue, but I would expect it to come more from the children.  A group of children who have been empowered by their teacher might score the teacher poorly on these factors when in actual fact, they should probably be scored off the scale.  I love a neat room but learning is messy! And after listening to Mike Rowe speak about the need for a skilled workforce and the importance of vocational training at the Ed Sessions here in Boise,  I wonder what message we are sending with a question that focuses solely on college?

Why I would never want to score highly on ‘This class is neat’.

You might be reading these statements and my take on them and have a completely different perspective.  I wouldn’t be surprised and that is kind of my point.  People are going to read these questions and their perceptions (especially the insightful perceptions of children) may be vastly different to what is actually happening.  A friend of mine, who is a fantastic teacher, recently surveyed her third graders.  Two overwhelming trends were evident in her results:

  1. They felt that they were not learning much
  2. They felt that the teacher didn’t show she really cared about them

If you know Marina, you will know that both of these findings are absurd.  So, what did she do? She sat with her class, shared the results and asked them to clarify.  The kids who were very capable and independent were the ones who thought she didn’t show she cared because she was “always” working with the other kids.  The kids who viewed “learning” as sitting at your desk, working independently or with pen and paper, didn’t think they were learning as the classroom environment is more hands-on and inquiry driven.  If you read her full post you will see that with this feedback, Marina was able to make a few tweaks to the way she interacted with her kids and all was well again.

  • I wonder if teachers would be given the chance to investigate the ‘why’ behind a poor score?

  • I wonder if kids would read (interpret) the question correctly?

I like the idea of gathering student feedback, be it by way of the  MET_Project_Elementary_Student_Survey or the less formal tool that Marina used. I know when I get feedback – especially the stuff I don’t like to hear – it makes me take a look at why people may have said that.  Sure, some of it comes down to personality, but what else? Is there something I am doing or not doing? What works? What doesn’t?

Seth talked a lot about the importance of getting feedback.  Look at Trip Advisor.  The whole purpose of that site is for travelers to provide feedback on their experience.  Travelers can gain valuable insights from their fellow explorers. Service providers can hear the good, the bad and the ugly from those who choose to use their services and amenities. Rankings are established over a period of time to give honest feedback and reputations are built or battered down as a result.  Those who offer feedback are rewarded with status titles for taking the time to share their thoughts more regularly than others.  Your commenting history is visible so people can see the breadth of your opinion – are you always negative? overly positive? fair?  Imagine if Trip Advisor was only open for comments on one day a year.  Or even four days a year.  Would you be happy to form an opinion about a hotel or attraction based solely on how people were feeling on that one day?

What if, instead of these surveys, we opened ourselves up to constant feedback, Trip Advisor style?  I think it would be pretty easy to do.  And incredibly hard.

Easy: to find a tech solution for creating and sharing survey data

Hard: being open to constant feedback on your teaching performance

Luckily…

What do you think?

21st Century, Innovation, Inspiration, Leadership

We All Need A Little Resistance

You know you work with a pretty switched on group of parents when not only do you get flowers and a thank you speech penned by your students at the conclusion of an eight week marathon journey of work, but you also get two books: Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” and Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why”.   Way cool.  I had previously read Linchpin, the one book Seth Godin says of:

If I could have every administrator, teacher and parent read just one of my books…it would be this one.

I was excited to read it over again (skim it and this time start highlighting as it is my own copy!) and I was reminded of how important his idea of the need for resistance was.

 

What?  Need resistance?  Yes!  If you are throwing out new ideas, suggesting different tactics, implementing innovative programs and basically making a ruckus – CONGRATULATIONS! Unlike so many others who listen to that tiny voice, that ‘lizard brain’ in the back of their head telling them to sit down, maintain order, follow along, make it through ’till Friday and dutifully maintain the status quo, you have heard the voice, the lizard brain, and have acted in spite of it. Truth be told, that voice might even have spurred you on to making a bigger ruckus, a bolder move, a more passionate statement!

 

If you felt the resistance and went for it anyway (whatever “it” might be) then most likely, you are leader.  It is not a comfortable, safe, cushioned place to be.  In fact, it should feel more like you are on the front line, blazing a path, running the gauntlet and dodging enemy fire. If  your new ideas are not insisting on change, making people a little uncomfortable because for a while they may look incompetent and arousing thought and debate, are they really “new”?

Think of all the ideas that have made people get up and do something – protest, occupy, picket – these are the result of ideas worth getting excited about!  Does your leader inspire you in this way?  Do you inspire others in this way?

 

When encouraging you to make a ruckus, I must point out the difference between doing so fearlessly and recklessly.

To be fearless…

is to act with the best intentions at the time in order to make a change that you believe is needed, of benefit and will ultimately result in a forward momentum.  To be fearless is to be informed of the consequences of your actions and to act anyway.  To be fearless is to embrace the probability that you may fail or be wrong and to press ahead anyway.  To be fearless is to act in good faith, with good intentions.

To be reckless…

is to take action without information.  To make rash decisions with little forethought.  To be reckless is to endanger, to risk without care for the impact and to pretend that you can not or will not fail.  To be reckless is to make decisions based on your own personal needs and wants rather than considering what is best for the group or the company.  To be reckless is to think of the immediate results and have little care for the long-term consequences.

So…

  • resist your lizard brain

  • make a ruckus

  • be fearless

Think about your role as a leader or the people who lead in your school or organization.

Do they make a ruckus?

Do they do so fearlessly, inspiring others to follow them?  Do they do so recklessly, leaving behind them a wake of distrust and chaos? Does the work they do mean enough that people would miss them if they were gone? This was something Seth said at the event in NYC.  I think I recall correctly that it was a response to a question about “should I blog?” to which he replied, “Yes, but then ask yourself if people would miss your posts if they were gone”. My thinking is that he was giving us reminder to make sure that while we all will probably hear the lizard brain that tells us that it is too much, too new, too big, too bold, too ‘out there’ of an idea to work, we shouldn’t let that voice overpower our own, stronger voice that says, “I hear you and fearlessly, I proceed.”

Who are the ‘ruckus makers’ in your school?

How do they perfect their artistry?

21st Century, Leadership

Effective Leadership

I am currently reading a really great article.  Pamela Mendels (pmendels@wallacefoundation.org) is senior writer at The Wallace Foundation in New York City. Her foundation colleagues Lucas Held, Edward Pauly, Jessica Schwartz, and Jody Spiro contributed to this article on the five pivotal practices that shape instructional leadership.

Interestingly, the article begins by explaining that the word ‘principal‘ originally was used as a verb in front of the word ‘teacher‘ and the ‘principal teacher‘ was:

a kind of first among equals, an instructor who assumed some administrative tasks as schools began to grow beyond the one-room buildings of yore.The original principal was, like the other teachers in the school, concerned with instruction above all.

The article goes on to outline the five pivotal practices:

Shaping a Vision

Deciding what you stand for and standing for it.  Sounds simple, right?  Research shows that when leaders are clear in their vision, when they set a standard and expect others to raise their game to meet that expectation of a shared vision, growth and success will follow.  Without a clear vision for why you are there, people tend to become distant rather than united as a group.

Correlation to the Classroom: Set clear standards and adhere to them.

Creating a Climate Hospitable to Education

In addition to a roof that isn’t about to crumble around you, effective leaders ensure an atmosphere in which students and teachers feel supported and responded to.  Teachers who are given the opportunity to collaborate and work with other teachers to create common goals and improve instructional practice. Making sure you have non-toxic working environment is key to success.

Correlation to the Classroom: Support your students, allow for collaboration and regularly meet to avoid ‘issues’ to decay your class bonds.

Cultivating Leadership in Others

Schools in which leadership is shared are proven to be more effective.  Bringing teachers in to leadership roles, involving parents and other members of the community to share their areas of expertise all go toward raising the standards of education within a school. What I really like here is the finding that leadership is not a zero sum game.  Research found that “principals do not lose influence as others gain influence”.

Correlation to the Classroom: Empower your students with leadership opportunities.

Improving Instruction

Effective leaders know that improved instruction will come when research-based techniques are employed, frequent periods of focused observation are coupled with timely feedback, changes are made to schedules and ‘how things are done’ to accomodate new initiatives and ideas about learning and teaching.  This goes for everyone – especially those teachers who would rather be left to do it ‘how it always has been done’.

Correlation to the Classroom: Give your kids timely and effective feedback, initiating new ways of ‘doing’ based on solid principals of learning, giving students options for discovery and reflection as learners. 

Managing People, Data and Processes

Knowing how to support teachers in a way that allows them to thrive is a key component of an effective leader.  The support of the administration is the number one reason teachers give when making the decision to stay or leave a position in a school.  Being able to effectively manage the key responsibilities of a principal: planning, implementing, supporting, advocating, communicating and monitoring, will determine not only your success as a principal but also the success of your school. (Based on the VAL-ED method of analyzing Principal effectiveness developed by Vanderbilt University and endorsed by The Elementary School Journal)

Correlation to the Classroom: 

  • Plan thoroughly
  • Implement with initiative and innovation
  • Support all levels of learning
  • Advocate in the best interests of your students
  • Communicate clearly with all stakeholders
  • Monitor your own and your students’ growth and progress.
I really like the points raised above – both the five building blocks of effective leadership and the six points via the VAL-ED survey.  I would like to implement these ideas into my own teaching practice as a teacher, both for my own benefit and the benefit of the students in my class. What professional goals do you set yourself?  How do you monitor your effectiveness as a leader in your classroom?
My friend, Marina, who teaches in Nanjing recently posted on how she gathered feedback from her students. Marina used the following tool to gather her data and was really surprised by the feedback she got.  She went on to add a newer post about how things have only gone
from great to even greater since she gathered the feedback from her students.  One of the things Seth Godin talked about in NYC last week was seeking feedback from your tribe – the people you connect to and resonate with.  It would stand to reason that we do this with our kids  in our classrooms, no?
How do you define ‘leadership’?