The principal that I have always wanted to be… Inspire our students to feel excited about becoming readers and writers, support teachers in creating a language rich environment where students are intrinsically motivated to read, write, and share!
In my seventh year as an elementary principal, my idealistic view of the principalship is quickly coming to a reality! Early in my career as an educator, my training and graduate work was focused in the area of reading instruction. I was empowered by the implementation of specific instructional routines that frequently led to quotes similar to,
“Mrs. Miller…listen to this! I can read!”
Like is was just yesterday, I can still hear those words and feel the exhilaration of listening to my students read. As teachers share the experience of students embracing the feeling of knowing and performing as readers, they are brought to tears of true happiness. This is the best job in the world! Each day we have the opportunity to lead and celebrate our students to believe in themselves as readers.
After attending Grade Level Collaboratives led by our @ci_elem department and a Reading & Writing Workshop training led by Johnathan from @TCRWP, I see a bright intentional pathway to be the principal that I always wanted to be. I am learning more about the components of the workshop, how to help students see themselves in the books they read, and how to support and celebrate our incredible teachers so they can consistently share the authentic happiness our students own when they see themselves as readers. Thank you @ci_elem and @TCRWP! Below are just a few photos of our readers!
Students see, hear, and feel our emotions. As a member of a school team, our students never forget how our facial expressions and emotions make them feel. Jon Gordon put words to these emotions in a blog post: Positively Contagious. After reading and reflecting on his posts and many of his books, it is repeatedly confirmed that attitude is everything.
“Life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent of how you react to it.”- Charles R. Swindoll
My leadership focus is and will always be contagiously positive. At Elliott Elementary, our mission statement is:
Our Elliott Community celebrates and empowers ALL students – who they are and who they will become.
It is exciting to be a part of a contagiously positive community! As we complete our first month of school, view my two minute principal’s view.
I have been reflecting on my leadership identity since I watched Baruti Kafele’s video.
- Who am I when I walk into my school building?
- How does my school community see me?
- What does my presence mean to my team?
This intense thought-provoking and inspiring video brought a flood of rushing thoughts to my mind.
What is my leadership identity?
- Positively contagious– Continuously sharing the gratefulness that I feel for the opportunity to learn at high levels in a safe and welcoming environment.
- Encouraging– Consistently leading students and staff to believe in themselves as leaders.
- Approachable– Always a safe place to share ideas, fears, challenges, and celebrations.
- Transparent– Invariably leading with the goals of doing anything and everything to guide our students to reach high levels of success.
What do I want my presence to mean to my community?
How do I want students to see me?
Share an authentic smile and be an inspiring force that leads others to see and reach beyond their potential.
What is your leadership identity?
A few weeks ago, the title of this post was revealed to me as a common practice Kevin Geer expects within his organization. The contagious positive emotion a smile creates motivates us to share it and feel it.
The reality of this happening every day in a school setting made my heart burst with excitement and reflection. If a school fosters and maintains a positive culture you should feel the smile when you walk into the building!
Once our students meet their seats, how can we continue student smiles throughout the day? Below are five guidelines:
- SMILE- Show your students that you LOVE having them in your classroom.
- TRUST- Intentionally take time to develop meaningful relationships with a foundation of authentic trust.
- CELEBRATE- Focus on the positive and praise the behaviors you expect.
- COMMUNICATE- Post and explain learning goals guiding students to clearly understand essential standards.
- COLLABORATE- Welcome parents as a part of the student, teacher, and parent team. Bring parents into the classroom everyday by sharing your story.
Below is a great example of what it takes to continue the positive emotion created from the seven initial smiles shared before students meet their seats!
Educational leaders know that with every student success, it took a team to make it happen.
As I reflected on the successful experiences throughout our first trimester, I took a little more time to evaluate our culture of gratitude. We have worked diligently to create opportunities for our students to demonstrate thankfulness and gratefulness for each other and for their teachers; however, consistent opportunities to express collective gratitude within the team of adults who are guiding our students each day was missing.
While listening to an Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast, I was inspired by how, within his organization, he simply and effectively facilitates a culture of gratitude. During staff meetings, he provides notes and time for team members to write short thank you letters to those who have helped them be successful. Upon hearing this, I was excited about the opportunity to apply this practice!
During our monthly staff meeting last week, this was how we began our meeting. Our team was provided with a paper thank you note and time. As our team began to write their notes, some asked for more! The next day, the feedback was even better as team members openly shared their excitement about receiving notes!
Sometimes the only motivation we need to persevere through the challenges of striving to reach goals are a few words of appreciation. Since Zig Ziglar’s quote below proves to be true, this will be a leadership practice that I will continue!
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
As you move on through the rest of your day, watch the short video below and think about who is on your team. How do you share your appreciation?
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing-that’s why we recommend it daily. -Zig Ziglar
Are you looking for consistent inspiration? One of my favorite motivators is to listen to podcasts. The episodes I choose provide the foundation for deep reflection on my current leadership practices. These moments of reflection allow me to slow down and plan for personal and professional self-improvement, facilitating a transition to committing to new ideas and positive plans.
My daily goal is to be a consistently transparent and positive leader who inspires others to perform beyond their best expectations. As we move into a new school year, the podcast 413: Hostile takeover of your mind from Ziglar’s True Performance Show inspired me to implement new ideas to make positive leadership contagious! The host of the show, Kevin Miller, (along with an excerpt from Zig) discussed the impressive first sub-four-minute mile world record set by Roger Bannister. Before Roger broke this record, it did not seem possible that someone could run a mile under four minutes… This incredible achievement demonstrated that anything is possible! Learning about this record and the idea of success beyond expectations, the words of my parents echoed in my heart and mind. They told me over and over again that I could do anything I set my mind to- I believed them and I want others to own this same belief!
As educators, we are in the business of inspiring and growing positive leaders. It is our job to show our students anything is possible! At the end of this podcast, Kevin asks, “What is your four-minute mile?” I pass this question onto educators.
- What goal(s) do you have for yourself and for your students as leaders?
- With rigorous curriculum and the high expectations of standard mastery, how will you lead students to believe and know they can achieve high levels of success?
- How will you build relationships with students so they trust you and take risks with their learning?
My four-minute mile goal: Facilitating leadership that guides each one of our school team members and students to see themselves as positive leaders and high achievers.
My current podcast playlist:
Ziglar’s True Performance Show
Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast
Hack Learning Podcast
Principal Matters: The School Leader’s Podcast with William D. Parker
It is summer and our Hedges Team is still working hard! Last week, our behavior and academic teams met to reflect on school wide student behavior expectations, communication, and celebrations.
Click here to view on Periscope!
After discussing what we learned at the MBI/PBIS Summer Institute/ MTSS training and reflecting on the 2016-2017 school year, we split into decision-making groups and divided up revising and enhancing current expectations. It was empowering to hear teacher leaders discussing and planning how to improve our practices for our students.
- Updating our Behavior Expectation T-Charts by adding visuals to provide a clearer understanding for our younger students. When school begins in August, we will add photos of our current students positively modeling the expectations.
- A collaborative plan for our Tier 1 (all students) classroom instruction. This will enable our teachers and our behavior support team to collectively communicate school wide behavior expectations, positive friendship strategies, and maintain a framework of instruction that prevents bullying.
- Developing a schedule to intentionally celebrate positive behavior and academic success. We will post our celebrations on our site each month!
As we look forward to the 2016-2017 school year, our team continues to be student-centered while reflecting on continuing and implementing best practices!