School Administrators: As I am sure you are aware, hiring the best and brightest teachers for our schools is one of the most important responsibilities we have. But, hiring good people is really just the beginning. For our new, and often inexperienced teachers to be successful, we need to devote a lot of time, energy, and patience to ensure that they reach the potential you saw during the interview process. Below is a letter I have written to all new teachers out there who are excited, anxious, and scared out of their minds to start the school year. Dear New ...


In today's tumultuous economy, we can hardly go a week without hearing of economic stimulus. We hear about the Cash for Clunkers  bill, U.S. bank bailouts, and corporate bonuses. The U.S. government even started a website called recovery.gov where a user can play with an interactive map to see where money was invested, peruse inspection reports, and explore tracking of funds.   For better or worse, it is fascinating to watch how the government has been when trying to address, deal with, and solve the crisis. Imagine if we, as a society, had this same sense of urgency...


The potential of emerging technologies and the philosophy behind web 2.0 to transform the learning environment continues to excite me, but there is a need to create new mindsets instead of presenting examples, ideas, and presentations based upon traditional and old mindsets of their use, a retro-fitting or "old way, new tool" approach. As Knobel and Lankshear (2008) state, "it is very easy to find examples where teachers and administrators approach new technologies in ways that constitute these new technologies as simply more recent forms of established tools, rather than as constitutive elements of new ways of doing things ...


As leaders, we often know what is the right thing to do. Just to pick a few examples… We know that ongoing, formative progress monitoring is more appropriate than ‘data days’ or ‘data retreats’ for yearly summative data, and yet many schools still only do the latter. When it comes to positive organizational and/or academic impact, we know that the ‘sit-and-get’ professional development model typically is a complete waste of participants’ time and organizational resources. Under any reasonable scenario planning forecast, it’s quite clear that the world is going to be quite technological and globally-interconnected,...


I checked the Houston Chronicle website this morning as I always do on Sundays and I was pleasantly surprised to see an article/interview with one of our local high school principals who achieved great success with her school this year. Jane Crump, the principal highlighted in this article, is also one of my closest friends and I know that the success of the students and teachers in her school are a reflection of her leadership style. She was selected last summer to lead the 10th-12th grade campus at a high school that the state had designated as being in ...


I find working with people who are passive-aggressive wearing. I try to get to the source of what is causing them to be sullen or moody, but I can't get a straight answer. Either they say "nothing" is bothering them and "everything is fine" when it is so obviously untrue or there are so many causes that even if it is within my power to fix something, they say "it doesn't matter" because there are still too many other things that can't be fixed. I am, by far, not perfect. Yet, I do make a conscious choice to come to ...


Of all the workshops I have attended and all the workshops I have presented on change management, the truth is it does not really matter until it matters. In other words, until you live through significant change in your career, family or personal life you may not really understand change. A significant book that my wife gave me on Valentine's Day in 2007 was Change or Die by Alan Deutschman. Alan talks about heart by pass patients and studies that have been completed by many hospitals and research clinics. Heart by pass patients who know they must change the stress ...


Fact: We have lived through several revolutions. The one in which we currently live should be dubbed the communication revolution. Today, we have more ways of communicating than ever before and at speeds that even a few years ago would seem ludicrous. Think about all the different forms of communication. Now imagine a traditional classroom, and ask yourself, What ways is information communicated? The stark contrast between what and how students learn in a traditional classroom environment and the 21st century possibilities becomes strikingly evident. As educational leaders, it is our responsibility to learn about, utilize and convey our knowledge ...


Bob Sutton has found that leaders have a big problem on their hands. In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review he stated the following: People who gain authority over others tend to become more self-centered and less mindful of what others need, do and say. He cites an experiment where a group of three students were given a project and one of the three was clearly put in a supervisory role. 30 minutes after the start of their work, a plate of 5 cookies was put in the room. The researchers figured no one would eat the 5th ...


Administrators have it easy over the summer. No students, no teachers, break time right? Isn't that what so many people think? Most administrators know that not to be the case. We have some of our busiest days during the summer: it's just different. Professional Development, Curriculum writing, board retreats/work sessions, grants to write and planning for the next school year are quite enough to keep the pace moving. So what does summer have in store for Iroquois' planning? A lot. We have a new Director of Instructional Technology that will begin and assist our administrators and teachers is drilling ...


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