302 Thoughts: School Leaders, Become a Personal Growth Influencer in Three Easy Steps

302 Thoughts: School Leaders, Become a Personal Growth Influencer in Three Easy Steps

In this episode of 302 Thoughts, Joe and T.J. dig into a major responsibility of school leaders that very often poses challenges. Although professional learning is common in schools, not everyone views it as a primary vehicle for getting better. Whether for personal development or improving instructional practices, leveling up one’s skills aren’t always viewed with a positive attitude.

There are a host of reasons for this in schools, but one thing that must be in place to change the culture is that the leader needs to view themselves as a professional growth influencer. School leaders have to be intentional, not only with which trainings they bring to staff, but for casting the vision for how and why everyone in the school must grow.

To improve this aspect of school culture, we believe that three things must occur, which are discussed in this episode.

Listen to Joe describe how great schools build great teachers within healthy systems. The school itself needs to be viewed as a living, breathing organism and its health needs to be monitored routinely. 

T.J. explains how every school has a dynamic staff with a unique set of talents and skills and it is the school leader’s responsibility to tailor learning accordingly. That’s not all though. This is a two-pronged approach, the other prong is that the professional learning needs to be real and relevant–grounded in the nuances of the school or district. 

Lastly, they describe how growth is intentionally developed through leadership opportunities. Effective school leaders create opportunities for teachers to take on a variety of roles from professional learning responsibilities, non-evaluative and non-threatening peer observations, researcher roles, community outreach, assessment team leader, and a host of other possibilities.

T.J. and Joe always provide the how with the what, enabling school leaders to lead better and grow faster. To become a professional growth influencer, school leaders must know and do the following:

  • Conduct interviews and inventories about the unique strength of the teachers. Without this understanding, you’ll likely plan one-size-fits all PD. 
  • Ensure alignment between the learning opportunities and the vision, goals, and initiatives of the school. Misalignment creates strife and frustration.
  • Delegate responsibilities and support teacher leaders. Teacher leaders are the life-blood of great schools, but the making of a great teacher is not the same as the making of a great leader. 

We conclude this month’s 302 Thoughts with this quote from Abraham Maslow: “One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” In this type of environment, growth is a core value integrated into the culture. 

Listen to Joe and T.J. take a deep dive into how school and district leaders, at all levels, can rethink growth in schools. 

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

This episode was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Two Great Books that Every School Leader Must Read to Build a Culture of Growth in Their School

Two Great Books that Every School Leader Must Read to Build a Culture of Growth in Their School

Great School Leaders are Avid Readers

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice. One powerful way to improve is through reading great books, which is why we feature a couple of great books each month. 

Our aim is to link great books to our theme for the month. This month we are focused on school leaders who want to build a culture of growth in their schools. Growth in any given area requires intentionality with time specifically dedicated to supporting personal development.  

For this reason, we chose two books that are must reads for school leaders who want to build environments, for teachers and other staff members, that nurture growth. 

Joe’s Pick: The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business

Featured Author: Pat Lencioni

In this podcast, Joe quickly identifies why The Advantage is a powerful read for growth-driven leaders. Unlike Lencioni’s other books, this is not fable but rather a guide to develop an organization’s health. 

Listen to why an organization’s health is bigger than culture. 

Joe also identifies quick ways to determine how well an organization is functioning. As Lencioni points out in the book, there should be minimal politics and confusion, high morale and productivity, and low staff turnover, which is the purpose of Retention for a Change as well. 

The book is centered on a model, which Joe points out in the episode; see below for a great graphic from Reading Graphics. Please note that the last three aspects of the model focus on clarity. 

13 Hight Trust Behaviors

T.J.’s Pick: Time, Talent, and Energy

Featured Authors: Michael Mankins and Eric Garton

13 Hight Trust Behaviors

T.J. lands on Time, Talent, Energy this month, knowing that if you desire to grow people, then you need to fully understand the impact of time, talent, and energy on what the author’s call “organizational drag.” Not using the three wisely can lead to disastrous results. 

Listen to T.J. describe how these are the scarcest resources that need to be protected in schools. 

He also reveals how the right culture unearths the unique talents within a school and district. Additionally, companies often focus on the strategic goals, financial capital, but fully understanding how to manage your team’s time, talent, and energy is just as, if not more important. 

Technical Tip for Leaders Who Read

We close every Read This Series with a technical tip. This month’s tip is to journal specifically on what you are reading about. Leaders gain results from reading when they take 5 to 10 minutes for free-writing on what the book content means to you and your leadership.

As educators we tout the critical importance of having students synthesize information, and this is one way that we do it that will yield great results. Don’t let the knowledge you gain go to waste. Ideas are fleeting; write them down and grow your own leadership ability exponentially. 

Enjoy both of these books to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. We always appreciate a like, a follow, a comment, or a share. 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

Today’s content was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout.

302 Thoughts: Learn Exactly How School Leaders Can Show More Support Tomorrow for Greater Success

302 Thoughts: Learn Exactly How School Leaders Can Show More Support Tomorrow for Greater Success

In this episode of 302 Thoughts, Joe and T.J. tackle a common topic in education–support.  Although common, it’s an elusive concept because it means so many different things for so many different people. It is also challenging to do in a systematic and organized way. 

We also should clarify that we are not talking about showing support when needed, but rather building a culture of support. In this type of environment, support isn’t an afterthought, but, rather, it is a core value and integrated into the culture. Listen to Joe and T.J. take a deep dive into how school and district leaders, at all levels, can rethink support in schools. 

They begin this episode with an overview of their Voices Model

Joe and T.J.’s model for this month is called Voices.  

Joe goes on to explain that this is an important model because it is really about listening. We cannot fall into the trap of supporting individuals based on what school leaders deem important or necessary without hearing the voices from the field. The support should be aligned to the goals and values of the school but should also be tailored toward each individual. That is how many organizations fall short; management shows support in the ways it deems best and it is not necessarily speaking “the language” of the employee. 

Listening also means that people feel comfortable talking. To do so, TJ explains the 5 critical areas of support in schools. These areas are taken right from the research we did for Building a Winning Team and Retention for a Chance:

  • Welcome ideas and suggestions from everyone.
  • Feeling comfortable to share difficult issues.
  • Providing time and space to listen.
  • Feeling like we’re on a team. 
  • Ensuring people have the resources to do their jobs well.

Although each of the 5 are independent of one another, listen to TJ explain how they are interconnected and work to build the culture of support through meaningful dialogue and conversations. The last point is of critical importance because if people lack the resources needed to do their job well, it will be a constant source of pain and frustration, which will make people feel unsupported. 

Each of these are necessary to get to the core of what is on people’s minds and how they can be further supported by school leaders. Remember, the model is built around teachers, personnel, and students. Each group is unique. 

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

This episode was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Two Great Books that Every School Leader Must Read to Build a Culture of Growth in Their School

Looking to Improve Performance In A Supportive School Culture? Here Are Two Books that Every School Leader Must Read

Great School Leaders are Avid Readers

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice. One powerful way to improve is through reading great books, which is why we feature a couple each month. Our aim is to link great books to our theme for the month. This month we are focused on creating and maintaining a culture of support in schools

We’ve heard from our subscribers that this content is being used as a leadership development curriculum. Kudos to you for investing in yourself as a school leader to grow and improve.  

In supportive schools, everyone has a voice. It doesn’t mean that they have a say. We often confuse the two. Listening doesn’t always require action, but finding time and space to share ideas, even about things that aren’t going well, is what drives a team environment in schools. We need to focus on support, learn more about it, and become as intentional as possible. 

For this reason, we chose two books that are must reads for school leaders who want to build truly supportive environments for teachers and other staff members.

Joe’s Pick: Performance Conversations: How to Use Questions to Coach Employees, Improve Productivity, and Boost Confidence

Featured Author: Christopher D. Lee, Ph.D.

Joe loves Performance Conversations because it is about improving performance. This is a necessary turn in education where administrators develop not only evaluation skills but also coaching skills. Having the ability to coach teachers and staff members to accelerate performance will raise the achievement in any school. 

A Few Key Reasons to Read Performance Conversations 

  • This book dives into the power of inquiry, coaching, and positive mindset, making a case for the value of each one and how they develop an individual. 
  • The author clearly supports the use of questioning and how we must view it as a tool–a tool used to generate incredible conversations that inform the listener. 
  • There is also a really cool Continuum of Support figure, detailing the methods of support discussed in the book–Supervisory, Coaching, Mentoring, and Sponsoring. 
  • In the end, what makes this book a must read, though, is the detail with what the author calls the Magnificent 7.

  1. What is going well?
  2. What is not going well?
  3. What else is going on?
  4. What are the status of your goals, action plans?
  5. What can I do for you?
  6. How are your professional relationships going?
  7. How are you?

With a focus on supporting effective cultures, this book is a must read.

T.J.’s Pick: The Carrot Principle

Featured Authors: Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton

13 Hight Trust Behaviors

T.J. landed on The Carrot Principle being his book of the month because, well, he loves this book. There are some books that truly resonate with the reader and this book is one of T.J.’s all time favorites. Here’s why it’s so good: it’s based on empirical evidence and the contents are easy to apply. Everyone can celebrate, and everyone should get better at it. With 70% of managers still skeptical about the use of praise, maybe it’s not praise but rather their confidence with doing so

A Few Key Reasons to Read The Carrot Principle

  • Let’s begin with a major, must understand, takeaway for any leader: “79% of people who leave their company cite lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.” What? This is something we can change tomorrow.
  • The authors describe, and this is a main point from T.J., that many leaders are afraid to use praise. The key is not to hold back and to build a culture of systemic recognition.
  • Another terrific point made throughout the book is that the praise should be done right.
    • A few things not to do: 
      • Don’t be vague
      • Don’t be skeptical
      • Don’t be ambiguous
  • Most importantly, the authors provide their readers with a way to bring recognition and praise front-and-center in four ways:
    • Goal Setting
    • Communication
    • Trust 
    • Accountability

Countless leaders work incredibly hard, but what if all of your efforts fall short because you are getting one thing wrong that is in your grasp to change and control. 

Technical Tip for Leaders Who Read

We close every Read This Series with a technical tip. This month’s tip is to ensure the books you read also equip you to lead with diversity in your organization. Performance Conversations has an entire section dedicated to millennials and provides them with feedback to feed forward. 

 

Enjoy both of these books to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

This episode of our ReadThisSeries was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

302 Thoughts: How School Leaders Can Simplify Accountability Through Clear Goals and Great Feedback

302 Thoughts: How School Leaders Can Simplify Accountability Through Clear Goals and Great Feedback

In this episode of 302 Thoughts, Joe and T.J. take a deep dive into how school and district leaders, at all levels, can rethink accountability in a post-pandemic world. The tough reality is that many of the mandated efforts force school leaders to take a direction that leaves other critical work in its wake. Ask any effective principal, assistant principal, or district leader and they can tell you what needs to happen in schools. It’s time that educators empower one another to redefine accountability and pursue goals that consider the whole child. 

Joe and T.J. break down key elements of a school so school leaders can review how effective each one is and assess each one systemically for greater student achievement. This is not a task for the weak-willed. This challenge is for those who rise each day, and before they even put a sock on, are thinking about how they can make a difference in their school. We need clear goals and a follow-up process for each key function within every school. It starts with you today.

Figure 1: Key functions of a school

Key Functions of a School

Assessment

Athletics/Extra Curricular

Building and Grounds/Facilities

Career and Technical Education

Community Service

Community Relations

Curriculum 

Federal/State Policies 

Finances

Instruction

Nutritional Services

Personnel

School Climate

Special Education

Student Support 

Technology

 

During this episode, Joe discussed how the education narrative around accountability should change and become less reliant on annual performance measures. Although annual state assessments can still serve a purpose, the above key functions should have a key measure of performance associated with each of them. Each one covers an aspect of schooling, and if they are all functioning at peak performance, then high levels of learning are far more attainable in the classroom. 

T.J. took the opportunity to discuss the importance of setting clear and measurable goals using pre-identified and reliable data. Stiggins and Chappuis contend that students can hit any clear, non-moving target. The same is true for adults. When school leaders, along with teacher leaders, create goals that everyone can get excited about, then everyone and every initiative should be moving toward attaining that measure. The power is in the momentum that is gained and the ability to check to see if things are working. 

Joe takes a moment to discuss how this lends the perfect opportunity for feedback. Feedback doesn’t have to be perceived as negative or bad. In fact, we continue to posit that cultures that are built on trust, thrive on feedback. In our One Thing Interview with Joy Kelly, she discusses how great leaders and teachers are able to provide feedback to one another. 

 

This last point goes perfectly with some exciting news that we have to share. TheSchoolHouse302 Candid and Compassionate Feedback Virtual MasterClass is up and running, ready for you to sign up today. This class is built on our first book that has resonated with so many school and district leaders. Be sure to sign up and become a master at providing feedback. 

Here is what Amy M. Grundy, Ed.D., Senior Leadership Specialist at the University of Delaware’s Academy for School Leadership (DASL) had to say:

 

This course is a must for any busy school leader or aspiring school leader! The format lends itself to the busy professional committed to their own professional growth. The structure is easy to follow and the content is on point! 

 

The authors/presenters provide models on which to lean to strengthen one’s own capacity and to support others in giving praise and candid feedback anchored in school priorities and goals. Each session begins with a launch, followed by a practical scenario, false assumptions, strategies, models and Leader Development Activities with practical applications and reflection prompts.

 

As a leader and a learner, this course will absolutely develop your capacity to provide candid and compassionate praise and feedback as a tool for the professional growth of those you lead.

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

This episode was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Two Books that Every School Leader Must Read To Rethink Accountability and Student Achievement in Schools

Two Books that Every School Leader Must Read To Rethink Accountability and Student Achievement in Schools

Great School Leaders are Avid Readers

 

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice. One powerful way to improve is through reading great books, which is why we feature a couple each month. Our aim is to link great books to our theme for the month. This month we are focused on rethinking what accountability looks like in schools

We’ve heard from our subscribers that this content is being used as a leadership development curriculum. Kudos to you for investing in yourself as a school leader to grow and improve.  

When we think about accountability, a school leader’s mind typically races to state and federal accountability–state assessments, scorecards, and different measures and metrics. This month we wanted to take a different look at accountability, one that speaks to the heart of the work within schools and that drills down into the classroom. 

For that reason, we chose two books that get granular with very specific examples of what schools are doing and how to guide practice for improvement. 

Joe’s Pick: What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers across America

Featured Author: Ted Dintersmith

This is a unique book because Dintersmith visited schools across the U.S. and reported on some incredible schools doing great work. Very early on in the book, he introduces us to the key principles that emerged as he visited schools across America. He identifies them as P.E.A.K.:

  • Purpose
  • Essentials
  • Agency
  • Knowledge

Each of the four represents key aspects of high-level performance that can be implemented by school leaders. This is why this is a great book for accountability; it describes what is working and what may be very helpful in another school or district. Sustainability and replicability are as important as the identified practice itself. 

He also provides a  provocative overview of how we got to where we are in regard to schooling. His brief overview and a short history of state tests, rankings, and institutes of higher education are fascinating as he describes their impact on innovation in schools. 

Lastly, this book is filled with real stories from the field. You won’t be disappointed. Get your copy of What School Could Be today. 

T.J.’s Pick: Practice Perfect: 42 Rules at Getting Better at Getting Better

Featured Authors: Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway, & Katie Yezzi

13 Hight Trust Behaviors

There are a few reasons why we love this book. One reason is that the journey to this book’s creation started in a high poverty school, detailed in the book that many are familiar with, Teach Like A Champion. Two, this book is about getting better through practice. Programs are great, but they are only as effective as the individual using them. In our accountability approach, we have a very teacher-centric focus

 

A common issue in education is our lilly pad approach to change. Too often, schools jump from one initiative to the next in search of a better program that will yield greater student learning. This isn’t due to leadership laziness in schools, but rather an attempt to find a solution in a short amount of time. However, true growth requires time and practice–Perfect Practice. As T.J. describes in his account, the authors detail key practices like Name It, Make It Fun, and Apply First then Reflect as key tools to improving. Practice also goes perfectly with feedback, which is an essential ingredient to improvement.

Enjoy both of these books to lead better and grow faster as school leaders.

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

This episode of our ReadThisSeries was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Claim Your FREE Copy to Our Praise Practice- Practical Praise Giving Tips for Principals

Claim Your FREE Copy to Our Praise Practice- Practical Praise Giving Tips for Principals

Learn how you can give practical praise each day as you lead your school to develop a better and more positive culture through this complimentary eBook we use in our workshops to help principals all over the nation and subscribe for more resources like this one delivered to your inbox. 

Congratulations on claiming your copy - you may download it here: https://theschoolhouse302.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Technical-Tip-Praise-Practice-A-Model-for-Specific-Praise.pdf