Many of the posts on this blog are about making positive change for the benefit of the students we serve. Believe me, I'm all for that and am working hard to make a difference. But do you ever have days where it seems like all that is surrounding you is chaos, conflict and confusion? I'm not talking just from staff as it could be also from parents, students and the community. I know what you are thinking. Change is difficult for most folks and so you have to be ready for that and allow time for people to process what ...


As a recipient of the 2008 Malcomb Baldrige National Quality Award, there comes a responsibility to be an ambassador for the Baldrige criteria. This means a number of speaking engagements and quite a bit of time in the air and waiting on flights. During this time, I like to read and keep up with educational research. A book I started on a recent flight was Tom Friedman’s  Hot, Flat and Crowded. Friedman is one of my favorite writers. I do not always agree with his positions, however, I enjoy reading his editorials in the New York Times and I enjoy...


Last month, readers of LeaderTalk.Org were asked to respond to a survey to determine how many had Facebook accounts and if they did, for what purpose? We had 86 readers respond; approximately 25% were Building Administrators, 25% were District Administrators, 25% were Teachers while the remaining 25% were a variety of singletons from School Board Director to Vendor. 90% of those responding did indeed have Facebook accounts and of the 9 respondents that didn't, 7 were administrators and 2 were teachers.When asked, "Do you use Facebook to follow political campaigns?"; 61% said no, but maybe more of us ...


"The school leaders who embrace, design and implement customer-driven systems will be the ones who thrive in the future." Ellan Toothman, 2004 Current improvement efforts in schools frequently look to business models of successful change and leadership. Customer service is one aspect of the business model that gets talked about more regularly and is actually delivered to varying degrees in schools around the country. What does it mean to provide good customer service? How do we ensure service to our community on par with our expectations of service in other sectors of our lives? What can be gained through a ...


As I write this post we are approaching midnight on the west coast. It is January 19. In a matter of hours, Barack Obama will ascend to the presidency. In that ascension there are unfathomable challenges and opportunities. He will be asked to shoulder the weight of the world-- and simultaneously, to redeem America's promise of equality and justice-- once... and for all. But Inaugural Day is first a time for celebration. For own my part, I offer a Poem, a Prayer, and a Promise: The Poem I wrote in the euphoric days immediately following the November election. It is ...


The entry has been cross-posted to Sentiments On Common Sense.Image by Old Shoe Woman via FlickrMy colleagues and I got in an animated conversation the other day about the actual demonstrable skills teachers and administrators must have to be successful members of our school community. Beyond the basics understandings that teachers must have of the new uses of the read/write web, what exactly do we expect our educational professionals to be able to use to enhance teaching and build better learners? I've been pounding my fist of late in these meetings, demanding a well developed professional development plan ...


Today we are honoring one historic figure. Tomorrow, on Inauguration Day, we’ll honor another. It will be an Inauguration Day unlike any other in history. It’s a day to stop whatever you are doing and witness the historic moment. Turn on the television or Internet and have your staff and all of your students watch history unfold. Nothing is more important for your students than witnessing history! Nancy Flynn...


While watching the NFL playoffs, I noticed a new commercial for the Blackberry Curve. The premise is that a high school is run by a shipping company (like FedEx or UPS). A student is absent. The Blackberry call goes out among staff until "the ditcher", a plump lad stuffing his face with junk food, is quickly discovered ambling along a neighborhood sidewalk. He is effectively corralled into a panel truck and assigned detention.Would that the school personnel in the commercial were using their smartphones to progress-monitor the student's up-to-the-minute formative assessments rather than his whereabouts.While flipping channels, I ...


As usual, I spent some of the winter break reflecting on the first semester and thinking ahead to the rest of the year. I really appreciate that time when my mind is free from all of the clutter from the day to day school work. It became perfectly clear to me that our initiative to transform the learning environment by providing teachers and students with ubiquitous access to technology has stalled. Of course, I'm not just talking about the tools, but also the change in philosophy that goes with this transformation.So, I pulled out the trusty Bone Diagram that ...


There is an interesting debate surrounding the continued success of Apple without Steve Jobs. It begs the question of the existence of the quintessential leader. Mountains of literature have been written on developing the proper skills to successfully lead. Can anyone be a leader? An article in the NY Times has a fascinating discussion on the indispensable leader. The article concludes with the great leadership guru Warren Bennis: "The real test of exemplary leadership is not making yourself an irreplaceable icon but developing a deep, talented bench who, when their turn comes, can unite a company and unleash creativity into ...


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