Core beliefs should drive you to improve each day.

“If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.” -Winston Churchill

Last week, I had a conversation with a teacher about our student support process. We are both on our intervention team and the teacher was feeling frustrated about what to do next with a student case.

This was a great conversation for me because the teacher was giving me feedback on a process I helped to develop. I was stunned at first – I was under the impression that our intervention process was working well and we had great results for students during the previous school year. How could this be an issue?

But I quickly ignored those thoughts because this was someone whose opinion I trust and I didn’t want to miss a word.

After I listened, I reminded them about a conversation we had a couple of weeks ago about something similar. I told them that the structures we put in place to support students should be the floor and not the ceiling. If what we do is the very best we can do for a kid, then who cares what the process says is the next step?

I’ve been thinking about my conversation with my teammate a lot since then. While I believe structures and protocols are important, I also believe we often build our own barriers to solutions for the sake of protocols. I believe we need to consider protocols and processes the starting point for our conversations about a student and then use what we know about the student to help him or her be successful.

However, just because something is a core belief doesn’t mean I’ve mastered it yet. This is something I need to continue to reflect upon and improve, and it drives me to want to be a better leader each day.

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Core beliefs should drive you to improve each day.

“If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.” -Winston Churchill

Last week, I had a conversation with a teacher about our student support process. We are both on our intervention team and the teacher was feeling frustrated about what to do next with a student case.

This was a great conversation for me because the teacher was giving me feedback on a process I helped to develop. I was stunned at first – I was under the impression that our intervention process was working well and we had great results for students during the previous school year. How could this be an issue?

But I quickly ignored those thoughts because this was someone whose opinion I trust and I didn’t want to miss a word.

After I listened, I reminded them about a conversation we had a couple of weeks ago about something similar. I told them that the structures we put in place to support students should be the floor and not the ceiling. If what we do is the very best we can do for a kid, then who cares what the process says is the next step?

I’ve been thinking about my conversation with my teammate a lot since then. While I believe structures and protocols are important, I also believe we often build our own barriers to solutions for the sake of protocols. I believe we need to consider protocols and processes the starting point for our conversations about a student and then use what we know about the student to help him or her be successful.

However, just because something is a core belief doesn’t mean I’ve mastered it yet. This is something I need to continue to reflect upon and improve, and it drives me to want to be a better leader each day.

3 Reasons Why We Gave Access to Everyone

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Today, we gave every staff member access to our school’s Twitter account.

This could be a little jarring for those who are worried about what might go wrong. But after all, they have keys to the school building and they are with children all day.  Surely teachers can handle access to a school-wide account.

What’s funny is that when my principal and I established our school’s social media accounts during the summer, we kept the passwords secret and in a protected file. The whole purpose behind creating these accounts was to help our school get our story out there for everyone to see.  How was that going to happen when only two people had access to the accounts? 

But really, this goes beyond letting everyone access — It addresses 3 big reasons why teachers need to be connected.

1. On-going Professional Learning — Those of us who have connected to Twitter know that one of the best things about being connected is the countinous learning experiences we have because of our connections to other teachers around the world. There is a fourth grade teacher who has not only embraced learning through Twitter, but she has also used this new learning to create meaningful and engaging experience for her students through such as participating in the Global Read Aloud.  She is a voice that the staff needed to hear because she is making social media work for kids.

2. Sharing the good things that are happening every single day — Good things are happening in our building every single day. However, most of it never makes it outside of the walls of our building. We have an opportunity through Twitter to share our stories of learning with the world in real time. Getting our teachers connected to the school account will help share even more of those stories.

3. Becoming the digital leaders our students need — I showed our staff a Twitter account of a fourth grader in our building. This is an account that was created on his own. He certainly does not meet the age requirements needed to have an account, yet he has one. How many other of our elementary aged students have a social media account?  Rather than taking a “wait and see” approach to social media, we teachers and school leaders need to be taking a “learn with me” approach so that our students have positive models of responsible digital learning.

Today, our staff was given the tools, the chance and the trust to be digital leaders.  We need to be living the learning lives our students are learning so that we can help them be successful.  If we aren’t the role models for our students, who will be?