If you have not had a chance to read 4 Lessons On Running A Successful Business From Best Buy’s CEO, I highly recommend it. These are all points that schools can use to be more successful:
- 1. IT STARTS WITH KNOWING YOUR CUSTOMER- I’ve often said that relationships are the foundation of everything we do at school. Dr. Comer states that “No significant learning takes place without a significant relationship” and I have taken this to heart throughout my entire education career. It is still my favorite part of being an administrator- getting to know and help as many students as I can. I may not get to help them directly every day, but I want my decisions that I make everyday to be based on what is best for all students. I believe that if we get to know our students, we can incorporate their interests and learning styles into lessons thus increasing the relevance of the class. People don’t like to hear it, but students learn more from teachers they like. This does not mean you have to be a push over in class, but it does mean that students know when you care and this helps them feel more connected to the class. Know your students.
- SIMPLIFY THE LOGIC OF YOUR STRATEGY- I associate this with using and incorporating technology. Teachers can become overwhelmed with the amount of options that are out there. We cannot show teachers a list of apps and expect them to use them with fidelity. Some teachers are at the substitution phase in SAMR and that’s ok (it’s a growth model). Instead, we need teachers to narrow their lens and focus on a couple of items; use and become comfortable with these tools-master them and then move onto something new. Over time, your toolbox will increase and you will have options to use with your students. I worked with a teacher last year who was downright fearful of using any technology. I told him to focus only on Google Drive and then Google Classroom. I wanted him to have a tool he felt comfortable with (notes, questions, assignments) and then to have a vehicle to get these assignments to students. I told him once he felt comfortable with these (it takes time), we would move onto something else. Simplify your strategy and narrow your lens.
- GIVE IT A NAME- this one made me think as it is very similar to number two but it made me think of how we focus our staff in getting them going in the same direction. Two years ago, James Aleshire and I asked our staff to be better today than they were yesterday (from Daniel Pink) and we asked them to write their one sentence. We gave them a focus and we could reference this throughout the year; a common language to keep everyone focused. A couple of years ago, I worked with Mike Chilcutt and we spoke about Big Rocks. What were our Big Rocks at Northern Middle School (I’ll save this for another post)? This helped shape our meetings and focus because we could always bring it back to our Big Rocks- if it did not match what we decided were our Big Rocks then we got rid of it. Give your focus/mission a name.
- SET AND STICK TO PRIORITIES-Set your focuses and give yourself and your team a chance to see these take shape. We live in an instant gratification society; people want things and they want them now. Sometimes hard work is messy, it’s ugly, and it takes time. Stick to your beliefs and vision. This doesn’t mean you cannot reflect and make changes but you always have to stick to what and who you are. People respect sincerity- when you aren’t yourself, you can come off as not caring and not being invested. Stick to your core beliefs and priorities.
I’m very excited about the upcoming school year and the new challenges that await me. I have not blogged in a while, as I’ve been busy transitioning to a new school and spending time with my family. I took time off from writing (not reading and Twitter) but I’m back now and I’m ready for a new year, new growth, and new challenges.