There is nothing like walking through classrooms, talking with teachers, and hanging with students in the lunchroom to get a feel for the climate and needs of a building. Being a principal is a people intensive journey. It means phone calls, messages, smiles, and a listening ear. Without these tools, we are just managers of the education industrial complex.
Yesterday, I had an opportunity to lead from the road. It wasn't the same, but it was still highly effective. I had a video chat with a teacher that I am presenting with on Friday. I talked to two teachers candidates on my cell phone after texting them to get a return phone call. I answered a number of e-mails using my Blackberry. I even had time to read two articles on effective reading strategies (one that I sent to my wife for use with my five year old daughter). Finally, I met with our technology guru about our vision for the next 18 months and created a Google doc so it can be shared with others.
Even though I will be in Phoenix the next four days, it will be nice not to return to a huge pile of work that in the past would have gathered during time away from the building. Certainly, the time that I spend with people is key to the success of my school, but an absence isn't what it used to be. Once the final touches are on our presentation for @NASSP10, I will post for everyone. The presentation outlines our journey with standards-based grading.
See ya next week. Chat with you 24-hours a day from anywhere in the world.