Since reading Michael Fullan’s book called, Coherence we’ve started having discussions as a leadership team at my school. I really work in a great place, and many of the things we do here align with what is discussed in the book.
We are a team; we have a high level of trust; we collaborate; we use capacity and develop it. Many of the pieces are in place. I think we are in an ideal place to take the next steps.
We are meeting tomorrow to discuss this. Narrowing down our focus to one or two main things is going to be the first step. There have been conversations happening around this already, and I am excited to see where we go. It’s a great team, and I know the potential for excellence is within us.
I’m looking forward to reporting on our progress as we move forward.
I have been helping a young friend work on some of his college assignments. He is ESL, so doesn’t always understand what is asked of him. One of the assignments was to do an online personal inventory on Emotional Intelligence. My young friend was a bit shocked to see his score was low in that area. I assured him that knowing that about yourself is opportunity to learn and grow. We all have areas to work on and improve.
It was a good reminder to me that we all need to take a personal inventory once in a while and examine how we are doing in all areas of our life. It doesn’t mean that we have to go online and find scientifically based tests. We might just need to sit and do a bit of reflection from time to time. I really find blogging works well for me. Others can journal. Others can talk with friends and colleagues about how they are doing.
Emotional intelligence is important. We need to not only think about how we react emotionally and how we express and respond to others emotions, but about how we can improve when we see areas that aren’t as refined as they could be.
Let’s not forget to include that in how we teach, and how we learn. We are all learners here. Let’s keep growing in all areas.
Whenever we return from Spring Break, we are always in for a wild ride! Things are happening almost every day – Field Trips, special events, guests, awards, celebrations, etc. This year is no different. I opened up this program to write my blog, and it’s been almost TWO MONTHS since my last post! To me that is the most solid proof that time has been flying.
Every year brings changes and transitions. I will be working with a new vice principal next year. I am extremely sad to see my current vp move on, but I know she is ready for a new and exciting challenge. Having this change occcur is also a growth opportunity for me. I know that I work best with people who I can bounce ideas off of and who will challenge my ‘half-baked’ ideas and help me think things through. I’ll be training a new person to be be open to disagree with me when necessary – not everyone wants to do that.
It will take a bit to tranisition a new admin team, but we are in the business of change here! Let’s make this happen people!
Over the last few years, in addition to lots of other great things, we’ve developed a new mission and vision. This has helped move me to spend considerable time thinking about how to implement both my own vision and our school vision. A necessary part of the process is putting systems in place to make that happen. I decided near the end of the last school year that the way we utilized our staff teams at school just wasn’t working. We now have a:
- School Leadership Team
- Lighthouse Team
- Seven Habits Certification Team
- Staff Wellness Team
The first three teams have been in place for the last two years, and the school leadership team has been around for quite a while. The wellness team is new this year.
I knew that the teams weren’t necessarily doing all that they could to make our school function more efficiently and have the best overall benefit for students, staff and community. I made a change in two ways. Firstly I changed the composition of each of the teams. The second change was around the role of each team.
The Leadership team is now composed of The school admin, counselor and anyone on staff involved in the Divisional Leadership cohort or is working on their Master’s Degree. I also added a support staff member to allow room for that voice in our decision making. This team added the task of planning our school based PD activities. Our division is allowing school control of PD for both professional and support staff to a much higher degree. While we are glad to have this control, we decided that the process must be undertaken carefully and with a mind to benefit us in the greatest way possible. Our team continues to work on its roles in
Leadership as well PD Planning and implementation. We will refine our process and skill in this area.
Both the Lighthouse and Certification teams are directly tied to the Seven Habits Program we are part of. We have worked together with our sister school, (Lilian Schick School) where we send our grade 4 students to for grades 5 – 9. The teams work to implement the program in our schools and train our new staff and parents about the program. Changes made in these teams have resulted in a clarity of what each team needs to do, as well as tasking them with keeping the program moving forward. These roles too, are still being developed, and the need for establishing clear goals continues to be a focus.
The Wellness team is new this year. We all know that there is stress in our job and being mindful of that, I decided it was important to have a committee specifically designated to “address the stress”. We try to have a monthly activity in which whoever can attend is welcome. Putting a committee like this together demonstrates the value in staff relationships and collegiality.
Being mindful in putting together teams that move the school in a desired direction was, in my opinion, a good idea. We are making progress. We are moving forward.
It’s been a while since we held the event. I have referred to it since it has been completed, but it was pointed out to me that I had never blogged about the actual day.
It took a bit of work to organize, but we are very glad we decided to implement this event. The students loved the opportunity to present themselves to the ‘world’! Most displays were student created, as was the expectation. Students were also very happy to talk about their displays to other students, staff members, parents and community members.
The day is a very powerful way to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual. We had great participation from all staff, and every student present had some sort of display. We conducted a survey after the day and found a lot of support, and received a few suggestions as to how to improve it. We will likely be doing one every other year.
We had a lot of help from Chris Wejr and the resources he provided. A big thank you to him and his (now former) school for their assistance!
I will have the honour of a new Vice Principal in the fall. He has been a VP for 5 years now and has a lot of experience in inclusion and behaviour. I look forward to learning from him and his assistance in moving the school forward. He previously taught at this school so a number of staff know him quite well.
We have gained a lot of ground in the last few years. Our school is far from perfect, but I do know it’s a place where most people like to be. We make it welcoming and are getting better at being student centred. Almost everyone comments on the good feeling they get when the come into the building.
The opportunity now is to share the vision I have for the school. That vision is about continuing our journey to:
- make all our decisions based on our mission and vision.
- remember that our job is to train students for the realities of the present and the future.
- connect with the community
- develop the leadership potential in our students, ourselves and our community.
We are well on our way to realizing this. Adding a new person into the mix has to be viewed as a new and exciting opportunity I firmly believe that if we keep our vision, and communicate that to all stakeholders, we will move on to an exciting place in the future.
How fantastic is that?
(photo via Flickr Creative Commons)
I have had the privilege of working with an outstanding new Vice Principal for the last two years. It became apparent very soon that she was destined for bigger and better things. I was hoping to be able to work with her for at least another year, but alas, that was not to be. We found out yesterday she was being transferred to a larger K – 9 School. It is a great move for her and will serve to advance her opportunities for future administrative positions.
I think what has made this situation such a great one is that I have been able to learn so much from working with her. Her ability to think on her feet and the solid grounding in a child centered philosophy has served to reinforce my own approach to education and administration. We have been able to move our school forward and the movement is gaining traction.
When we work with stellar people, that make us move forward, and undeniably make us better people ourselves, it is hard to let go and move on. Now, there are some difficult decisions to make. What are the next steps? How will I proceed with a different and potentially inexperienced assistant? How do we keep the momentum going?
There are no certain answers to any of these. Change is inevitable, and can be exciting. We (I) will get through this time of change and opportunity. I was party to making a great choice last time, and will have to trust that the right choice will be made this time.
Losing your metaphorical Right Arm is tough! I will have to look forward to my new Right Arm and undertake the effort to replicate the formation of a new and dynamic administrative partner.