Tag: #Leadership #Inspiration #Vision #K-12

Measuring Meaningfulness

I constantly measure the meaningfulness of the messages I send, the information I share, and how I impact those who choose to read my posts. I intend to always help with driving solution-focused thinking and increasing the positives we share in day-to-day interactions.

One thing missing is an opportunity for others to share what they would like me to focus on to help them in what they are doing. I want to pause and organize this blog to work for those who need it to work for them. My idea is to dedicate each day to a particular topic. Examples could be: Monday: Motivation, Inspiration, Meetings Tuesday: Teaching, Thoughts, Talking Points, Communication Wednesday: Wisdom, Wit, Things to Ponder Thursday: Takeaways, Things to Share, Activities for team building Friday: Facts, Factors, Leadership Saturday: Solutions, Strategies, Plans. Sunday: Spiritual, Social-Emotional, Mental Health

Maybe you don’t want to read something daily. What if you wanted something in one post? If this is your desire, what day would you choose to receive it, and what do you need the content to include?

Be the solution daily is for you. I want to thank all of my followers and those who have invested their time. Starting today, I will take a two-week break while I gather information on the direction of this blog.

Keep being the solution daily for all as we serve others in making the world better one day at a time.

What to do? According to data?

In every organization, data-driven decision-making was and is a phrase repeated often. Sitting around a big conference table, I can recall talking about the stacks and stacks of data collected by an individual for us to utilize. However, we all looked at each other with a huh what. Data-rich and information poor, why are we collecting all of this data, and what is it being used for?

Understand where you are, where you want to go, and then how you will get there. One of the biggest things we noticed was the duplication of data. We were assessing to answer the same questions.

What do you need to know and find solutions for to achieve the goals you established? Looking at your situation, what is the most critical issue facing your organization?

Mental health is an issue that is revealing itself as a priority since the pandemic. It has always been important, but recent data reveals it is steadily increasing with our children.

“Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a 31% increase in the proportion of mental health-related emergency rooms visits in youth ages 12 to 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More youth are also reporting increases in depression, anxiety, and stress, according to a YouthTruth survey.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pledged $85 million in funding to address the mental health needs of our children and teens. To learn more about funding and data, please read this short article:

https://www.k12dive.com/news/biden-administration-pledges-85m-to-support-student-mental-health/605750/

A clear focus on what improvements are needed will help to target these areas with direct assessments and instruction. Providing the strategies to support the desired outcomes will keep a transparent approach to achieve positive results.

The story inside you


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou

As a young child, I spent hours writing. I would write poems, wrote a daily journal, loved to write Bible verses, and would write songs for the church. My minister Rev. Leon Korb would sometimes share my songs or poems at church. He was always making me feel special. He was a special person in my life as he rests now in his heavenly home.

In high school, one of my teachers, Mr. Bob McMurray, challenged his high school students to set goals. He did more than teach academic skills. It was the life messages in the lessons that guided us in planning a solid foundation for our futures. He stayed connected with my husband and me into our adult lives. This month he would have celebrated his 74th birthday. I remain associated with his with Glenda, but Mr. McMurray is always present in my mind when I work on my book.

I have achieved all of the goals I wrote in his classroom except for one. I said I would write a book. I have written a book, but I have yet to publish it. I thought you write a book and publish it. No, there is so much more to publishing a book. I am learning about the entire process and meeting many amazing people.

So, Mr. Bob Mc Murray, I have many stories inside me I want to tell them, and I have great people helping me learn the way. My turn is coming soon, and I thank you for planting the seed. As I know you are watching over all of us, I will do my best. It has been a long process, and we still have a way to go, but I never give up on things I say I will do no matter what!

I have been blessed by so many. The courage to share your stories with others is enormous! The regret of not trying is significant as well. So we are working to make sure I can find success when we say let’s go! Building a solid following is a priority, and I am trying hard to accomplish this goal.

There is a story inside all of us we need to share. Maybe you don’t want to write and share it with the world, but a story for your loved ones to remember a piece of family history. Documenting personal history as well as overall history helps all of us learn, appreciate and grow.

Helping others is always my priority. Living life for a cause, never applause, keeps you focused on doing what is right and best for others. The goal of the book is not to check a box that I wrote a book, to have financial gain(my author friends are laughing now), becoming famous, or so everyone knows my name. It is because one teacher, one classroom, one school, believed in one student by saying, “Great goals, and I know you will accomplish each one.” I sure will!

Be the solution daily, and you will be the one who makes the change in another today. Thank you for all you do. To all the teachers who do this daily, thank you! My Mrs. Teresa Arnold was the best teacher, and I always tell her, “thank you for helping to make things better for me every day!”

The “How” of instruction

As we look at our plans for next school year, we need to look at more than the “what,” “why,” and “when.” It is the “how” we do instruction.

Professional Learning Community (PLC) is a significant part of the school foundation. However, many of the PLCs are just in name only and cannot support the questions needing answers.

Effective PLCs spend their meeting time asking questions about “how” they will teach a lesson. As Covid-19 turned our worlds upside down education found different ways to approach instruction. However, the questions remain with the same level of importance.

Consider these points:

  • No matter where instruction takes place, the question how needs to be asked and answered.
  • No matter when instruction takes place, the question how needs to be asked and answered.
  • No matter what instruction takes place, the question how needs to be asked and answered.

To keep moving forward and growing, the question “how” is needed. Are you asking “how” you are going to instruct a particular concept? Have you explored the best approach and strategies?

As you prepare to end this school year and move to the next, “how” will you deal with instruction? This is a fundamental question to ask and answer. Schools can only improve if the teaching focuses on the work the PLC is doing, looking, reviewing, analyzing of data and discussions on how the lessons are working to support the learner.

Looking at what you will teach will have you looking at focusing on priority standards. They are keeping students working to achieve their goals at grade level and above.

To assist with how instruction will take place, utilizes assessments to help guide your instruction—determining how effective the lessons are to support learners in their mastery of skills. A great deal can be done to support instruction

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Leaders can help along with staff in working out a plan to rearrange staff best to support the needs of students. How will we best serve our students with our approach?

How will you improve your instruction? Share thoughts, ideas, and information on how your teams are working to focus instruction. All of the questions have value but concentrate on how instruction serves the learners best.

Thank you for being the solution daily!

False Evidence Appearing Real a Clear Vision

“I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them.”-Eleanor Roosevelt

“The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.” -anonymous

I believe it is a combination of our fears and blurred vision that prevent us from reaching our full potential as leaders. When we can acknowledge, identify and overcome these barriers, our focus can accelerate us to accomplish more.

Recently, I posted two different blogs to help clarify the title of today’s post. The first one was titled FEAR, What do you do? Seeking answers from readers on how they respond to fear. I shared on my Twitter feed asking some of my favorite leaders what they do. It is always great to hear from other expert leaders.

Principal Baruti Kafale echoed the sentiment found in the title. Jim Knight responded, “I think that depends on what frightens me. Fear is a signal, and I need to think about what the signal is showing me. My general response in times of difficulty is to go back to my principles and remind myself of the driving forces behind my actions.” Peter DeWitt agreed with Jim but added, “I usually step back and breathe for a moment and then jump in. However, I have a fear of jumping out of a plane, so I don’t do it!” I appreciated their responses to my question.

In another blog post titled, I can see, but what do I see? I provided readers with evidence of optical illusions along with the question of believing what we see. It was to be a thought-provoking post. If we have been paying attention to social media and media outlets in general, we can see a story on different platforms look entirely different.

As leaders, others look to us for guidance during difficult times and uncertain times. This past year has been plagued with many. As a society, it has taken a toll. Everyone looks to find those leaders who will help them grasp on to hope. Hope for the future. Signs that a glimmer of improvement is happening somewhere. A leader in providing a clear vision of what the future holds. “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” -George Washington Carver

Do we have a great leader who will be stepping forward with words of inspiration, encouragement, wisdom, and support? A leader to motivate us into action to stand up for life, liberty, peace, and love. She or he may come forward, but why would we wait? “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”-John Lubbock.

As we reflect on fear, vision, and hope, we can gather our thoughts to develop a plan.

  • Identify fears and barriers
  • Overcome fears by taking actions to address the barriers
  • Look clearly at our goals
  • What do we see we need to improve, remove, redo?
  • Do we see all?
  • How will others see what we are doing?

Don’t let your ears hear what your eyes did not see. Let your mouth speak what your heart is saying. No matter if you are one voice in a big world, your heart will echo for many miles. Speak up, stand up, spread positive points and always be the solution daily.

Saturday SMILE

“Each day is a gift we unwrap. As you open your eyes to greet the day, find a way to set your mind to make it the best in every way. No matter the forecast outside, our hearts will bring a smile from inside to outside to brighten the day. If not you, then who will start to make this positive change today!”

Just one question for you?

Are you a pooper, scooper, pointer, or passersby? Have you ever heard about a dog and a soccer field? It is a great story, and I have used it for a staff learning opportunity.

I love designing great presentations, workshops, events, and celebrations. It is so important not to waste the time of others when you are asking them to be present. Make it the best time ever!

There it is….poop! It is right there in the middle of the soccer field. A man walking his dog was just here, and that dog must have pooped on our field.

What are we going to do?

I don’t know, as the team of boys walks around the poop and then heads back to the school.

A group of kids comes running by the pile of poop when one sees the poop and points at it. “Look, everyone; there is poop, don’t step in it.”

Another group sees the kids as they all start pointing at the poop on the field. This group of kids passes on by without saying or doing anything.

Then out comes two groups with a soccer ball. They want to play. The poop is still on the field, but this group works together to get some tools to clean the poop off the area so they could play soccer. The game began!

My story is different than the book, but it contains the same message and lesson.

After I tell my story, I say to the participants you will notice on your tables are scoopers. Now that we have heard this story, what are our thoughts? Are we scoopers, poopers, pointers, or passersby? If we saw poop, trash, or something in the hallway, would we point, walk around it, tell someone else or scoop it up? With the right tools, of course!

Here is another question. As we begin to work on improvement plans, what role will you play? Will you point out problems, scratch your head and walk around the issues, or scoop up to the table to dig in?

It takes collaboration between all of us to get the tasks complete. If you are willing to be part of our team, take your scoop and see what you can scoop up from the can so we can begin.

Look at all of those hugs and kisses you scooped up! You have to love Hershey! Plus, all of those teacher supplies for your classroom. Wow!

There is so much more you can do with this story and lessons to provide from Kindergarten to adult. It is a lesson of leadership, teamwork, kindness, and more. The link below will allow you to hear the read-aloud.

I did a similar activity with my middle school staff. I purchased cat litter pooper scoopers at the local dollar store along with the chocolate. I placed them on all of the tables. If you know middle school staff, we are a little crazy. We have to be to keep up with the kids!

https://classroomcallouts.com/2020/03/the-dog-poop-initiative-activities-and-read-aloud.html

It’s Time for the Truth!

It is time for the truth! To achieve, find joy, and conquer your dreams, is up to…..you! The power has always been with you! We can chase all of the shiny things, try all of the new features out there and surround ourselves with the very best of everything, but it comes down to you.

Jordan is here to see you Mrs. Yoho. “Please send her in.”

“Jordan, how are you doing today?”

“Not very good. I am still not happy about moving; my friends are here, and I don’t know what I will be able to do.”

“You know Jordan, I have had to move a few times, and I know it can feel scary. However, I think you are missing out on the truth hidden in this adventure.”

“What adventure? Moving? What truth are you talking about?”

“Well, it took me a few times of moving and also a few hard lessons in life, but I would like to save you by sharing the truth hidden in plain sight. The truth is, you have the power to overcome any situation you encounter. All you need to do is believe in yourself.”

“Mrs. Yoho, you sound a little crazy right now.”

“I know it is hard to grasp, but stay with me on this as I explain. Understanding yourself is your advantage. No one knows you better than you! This gives you the benefit of knowing all of your likes, dislikes, things that make you smile or sad, and what you want to accomplish.”

“I can continue with so much more, but I think you understand the point I am making. You can run away or move away from things, but never yourself. You are with you forever! So you have the power to make it the best!”

“Mrs. Yoho, I do not see anything good about me.”

“Jordan, that is because you are not looking at the truth. I always talk about solutions. You are trying to look through the lenses of everyone else or what you think they see. If you look at everything with a focus on truth and solutions, you will continue to grow to become what you know you can.”

“Do not let the voices of others direct your path. Make sure to make the choices for yourself and always reflect to see if you are achieving what you believe. The truth is inside you! You will achieve so much!”

The path before you is amazing! Believe in yourself! The truth is within you! Sometimes we are hit hard, and our path forward pushes us back. In those times, it is the core of who we are that lifts us to overcome to continue and with determination to see ourselves in the truth of what we can do!

STOP ⛔ Leading….Start Building

Robyn R. Jackson is the author of this great new book from ASCD!

In this book, you’ll learn how to use her Buildership Model™ to escape the “school improvement hamster wheel”. Embark on creating the school your students and teachers deserve. It involves a few simple shifts in how your approach.

As leaders, we always start with a vision. Clarifying our purpose with an ambitious mission, a strong foundation of core values to secure a trusting staff built to believe in what we say and do. Then finalizing it with a system of accountability for achieving our goals.

One of the phrases Jackson has started is, you can have a will problem or a skill problem. Indicating your staff may not have the will to believe in the vision or the skill to implement it. As you “build” new ways to help staff grow, all areas will improve.

I add my philosophy with hers in taking the steps of being solution-focused. As we identify problems, we begin to plan our approach to the most significant issue first. We map out a concise plan building better training, utilizing data, enriching curriculum for all students, enhancing community and family partnerships, and a comprehensive approach to accountability.

Many things can distract us and cause roadblocks or detours. The global pandemic taught us to expect the unexpected! We learned to think outside the box and to change. Drastic changes are done; we did it! Let’s take lessons learned, what worked, things we wish we could do, and work out the details.

Building better begins with being able to break down the barriers that hold us back. Please grab a copy of Robyn Jackson’s book, follow her on Twitter, Facebook or check her website. She is a great one to gain guidance and support.

RESOURCES

https://www.facebook.com/RobynJacksonMindsteps/

https://mindstepsinc.com

@Robyn_Mindsteps

http://www.ascd.org/Publications/ascd-authors/robyn-jackson.aspx

Who Are You?

Use one word to describe yourself_____________________.

What is one word others would use to describe you.________.

If you could choose one rule for everyone to follow what would it be____________.

One thing people will remember you for is_______________.

Understanding who you are let’s others know what you stand for so they can count on you and trust you.

Go ahead and do what you do! Be the solution daily!