Monday, March 1, 2010

Laser-like Focus

After having almost a year to think about what I want to be at the true core of my work as a principal, I am ready to roll it out.

Parallel Thought: Part of what I am sure that you will learn about me through this blog is my philosophy about the truth. I have a humble respect for the truth as I believe that none of us have a large enough perspective about life to actually know the truth about anything, but our role on the earth is to pursue truth through learning each day, so what I know today won't be as good as what I know tomorrow, but I going to make my foundation as strong as I can without placing my head in the sand to add a leg to the foundation.

I have decided to make my shift to the principalship on a DIME.

1. Do no harm...
Every place that you enter new has a tradition and history that is filled with excellent structures, ideas and people, and the worst thing that I could do is take actions that stops the positive momentum. This doesn't mean been inactive, quiet, or passive, but it means having the respect for progress, growth, and hard work that has come before me.

2. Innovation is king...
It is no longer an option to have a school with teachers or students that aren't risk-takers and innovators. Our creativity, design-thinking, and big picture sense will be the tie-breakers in a world of great competition. Every new idea must be explored, cultivated, and encouraged as it relates to teachers helping kids grow. This doesn't mean lack of focus, but it means channeled, doable continuous growth.

3. Mindset matters...
After reading the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, I am convinced that we must cultivate a growth mindset in all of our kids. This means that kids truly believe that their hard work with make them smarter, strengthen their brain, and open up new opportunities. The language of the growth mindset should filter through the hall. We have to have kids believe that frustration and failure lie at the beginning of every great success, and that we will support them through failure because we know that they just haven't gotten it, "YET"

4. Excellence is the only option...
Every aspect of what we do should be judged on whether excellence was a part of the input or excellence was the resulting output. It can't be good enough to have a good school. We have to work for a sense of excellence in our curriculum, instruction, assessment, grading, relationships, interactions with parents, public displays of learning, how we treat each other, and even how we do Monday mornings.

Help me part of my professional learning network. I know that I need each of you on this journey.

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