Dr. Sanee Bell Discusses Being Excellent On Purpose in Educational Leadership — FocusED

Dr. Sanee Bell Discusses Being Excellent On Purpose in Educational Leadership — FocusED

This is Season 1, Episode 5 of FocusED, and it features guest, Sanee Bell. It was originally recorded live for a studio audience in Delaware, provided as a professional development experience for Delaware teachers and leaders. Don’t miss what Sanee says about being excellent on purpose in a practical way and holding that standard as a leader. Her interaction with the audience at the end was fun and inspiring…and wait to hear the blooper after the final music fades out. Enjoy. 

Dr. Sanee Bell Brings Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Dr. Sanée Bell is the principal of Morton Ranch Junior High in Katy, TX. She has served as an administrator since 2005 at both the elementary and secondary levels. Sanée was recognized as the 2015 Katy ISD Elementary Principal of the Year. 

Prior to becoming an administrator, Sanée taught middle school and high school English and also coached girls basketball. She earned her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston Clear Lake. 

Sanée is passionate about authentic, purposeful learning for students and teachers, and also has a strong passion for leadership and its impact on teacher engagement, student learning, and school culture. Sanée recognizes her impact as a leader and uses her role to inspire, motivate, and empower others. 

Sanée serves as Future Ready Thought Partner on the Future Ready Schools project, and has contributed to several publications and podcasts focused on leadership and its impact on students and teachers.  

Sanée is co-author and co-editor of the Education Write Now Series, and she is featured in the book Dare to Lead authored by Brené Brown. Sanée is the author of Be Excellent on Purpose: Intentional Strategies for Impactful Leadership. Follow Sanée at saneebell.com and via Twitter @SaneeBell.

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Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ theschoolhouse302.com. 

FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district with more knowledge, better understanding, and clear direction on what to do next. 

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. 

And, let us know if you want to join our next MasterClass on Candid and Compassionate Feedback. If you want to see real growth in your school, click here to reserve your seat or here for more information. 

Lastly, join us in the Principals’ Club, designed to take your PLN to a PLC so that we can support one another in our growth as leaders. We hope to see you there. 

Building Successful School Environments for Brown and Black Male Students with Robert Jackson — #onethingseries

Building Successful School Environments for Brown and Black Male Students with Robert Jackson — #onethingseries

Robert Jackson began his teaching career almost 25 years ago in Indianapolis Public Schools with a No More Excuses teaching approach with all of his students after being cut from the NFL Minnesota Vikings. As an educator, he didn’t allow his students to feel sorry for themselves or let their circumstances define their futures. He set high expectations for his students and expected them all to do well. Those same students went from low performing to successful Pastors, Lawyers, School Administrators, Teachers, Pharmaceutical Sales Reps, Business Owners, Pro Athletes, Entertainers and more.

He has become one of the most sought-after speakers in the country, delivering keynote addresses and workshops to educators and administrators at national conferences, parents and student workshops, corporate events and churches. He has delivered 100’s of presentations and has become an expert in teaching cultural diversity, restorative practices, socio emotional learning, working with students who have experienced trauma and how to educate Black and Latino males. His goal is to teach educators and administrators how to use their power more effectively to Educate, Activate and Motivate all Students to be Successes.

Mr. Jackson has written and published 6 books and has written articles for ASCD EL Leadership Magazine. His new book, Becoming the Educator They Need: Strategies, Mindsets, and Beliefs for Supporting Male Black and Latino Students just won the Gold Excel Award for Technical Writing in July 2020. His “No More Excuses” Curriculum has been featured in publications nationally and is being used in K-12 Schools, Colleges and Universities in the US and Canada. His books include, Black Men Stand Up, A Boys Guide to Manhood, A Young Woman’s Guide to Womanhood, Put a Stop to Bullying, and Solutions to Educating Black and Latino Males.

He is married to Essence Best Selling Author, Tajuana “TJ” Butler-Jackson and they have 3 children and 1 grandson.

His motto is: “For Every Problem, there is a Solution.”

Key Thoughts from the Interview:

Robert Jackson delivers a powerful message, packed with clear strategies that every school administrator and teacher should know and do. 

  • Robert emphasized the need to simply ask students questions and talk to them about their lives. He suggests a simple survey to get keen insights. “Equip them by asking them.”
  • Listen to the distinction he makes between empathy and feeling sorry for a student. He went deep into the data and illuminated the disparities in school discipline practices, particularly between objective and subjective offenses.  
  • You have to hear what no one ever asked him about. 
  • Robert delved into the importance of self-care and what we should do every day, from getting rest to prayer.
  • His line, “I’m wearing my life on my face,” will cause you to think and consider how you perceive individual students and certain situations. 
  • Robert describes how his pastor, Creflo Dollar, impacts him as a person. He also lists a few very influential leaders, athletes, and activists from the past who he listens to online to help him grow as a person and a leader. 
  • Robert’s views on the critical importance of perspective finding to navigate relationships and circumstance is powerful.
  • Find out what he says about leadership and what it means for everyday living. 
  • Robert ends by letting us know that every story needs to be heard, even the ones that we would typically ignore. 

Mr. Jackson’s interview is filled with clear takeaways on how to grow as a person and better connect with our students in schools. He challenges us to take action and make a difference. It was a wonderful follow-up to our latest blogpost, highlighting incredible Black educators from the past and present who every educator should know. We hope to hear from you about your favorite parts of both the blog and the interview. 

Please follow, like, and comment. Use #onethingseries and #SH302 so that we can find you. For more great leadership content, follow theschoolhouse302.com

Joe & T.J.

Also, on January 28th we begin our first Masterclass on Candid and Compassionate Feedback. Request info by emailing contact@theschoolhouse302.com. Or, reserve your seat here. Or, read more about how it works here. Don’t miss out early bird pricing. 

 

Season 1, Episode 4 of FocusED with Brad Weinstein– #FocusED

Season 1, Episode 4 of FocusED with Brad Weinstein– #FocusED

This is Season 1, Episode 4 of FocusED, and it features guest, Brad Weinstein. It was originally recorded live for a studio audience in Delaware, provided as a professional development experience for Delaware teachers and leaders. Don’t miss what Brad says about doing discipline differently in schools and changing school culture from punitive to restorative. If you listen to the very end, you’ll catch our quick conversation about trying to get Brene Brown to be a guest on our One Thing Series podcast. Enjoy. 

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Brad is the Director of Innovation at BehaviorFlip (www.behaviorflip.com), the world’s first restorative software and app. He helps keep BehaviorFlip on the cutting edge of behavior management through merging research-based best practices with advanced technology. He is a co-author of Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice. Brad is the creator of @teachergoals, one of the most popular educational accounts in the world on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Brad worked as a Director of Curriculum and Instruction in downtown Indianapolis. He also served as principal for two years on the eastside of Indianapolis. Brad is an award-winning teacher who taught for 11 years, including roles as a coach and STEM department chair. He holds a B.A. in Education from Purdue University, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana Wesleyan University, and completed a Principal Licensure Program from Indiana Wesleyan University.

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Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ theschoolhouse302.com. 

FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district with more knowledge, better understanding, and clear direction on what to do next. 

A Head and Heart Approach to Attracting and Recruiting Teachers of Color with Special Guest Principal EL — #onethingseries

A Head and Heart Approach to Attracting and Recruiting Teachers of Color with Special Guest Principal EL — #onethingseries

The 302 Thoughts segment of our One Thing Series takes a deep dive into our blog post for that particular month. February is dedicated to Black History Month and we thought it was only appropriate to honor and celebrate outstanding Black educators from the past and present. 

This month we invited our good friend, Dr. Salome Thomas-EL, to join us to discuss his journey as an educator and how the education industry can attract more teachers of color.

Dr. Salome Thomas-EL​ has been a teacher and principal in Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE since 1987. He is currently the Head of School at Thomas Edison Public Charter School in Wilmington, DE. Thomas-EL received national acclaim as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School, where his students have gone on to win world recognition as Eight-Time National Chess Champions. Principal EL was a regular contributor on “The Dr. Oz Show” and the author of the best-selling books, I Choose to Stay ​and ​The Immortality of Influence (Foreword by Will Smith). ​The Walt Disney Company optioned the movie rights to ​I Choose to Stay. ​Thomas-EL speaks to groups across the country and frequently appears on C-SPAN, CNN, and NPR Radio. 

He has received the Marcus A. Foster Award as the outstanding School District Administrator in Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania’s distinguished Martin Luther King Award. Reader’s Digest Magazine recognized Principal EL as an “Inspiring American Icon” and he has appeared on Oprah Radio! And, with Joseph Jones and T.J. Vari, he co-authored Passionate Leadership: Creating a Culture of Success in Every School as well as Building a Winning Team: The Power of a Magnetic Reputation and the Need to Recruit Top Talent in Every School. His new book, again written with the two of us, is available for pre-order, Retention for a Change: Motivate, Inspire, and Energize Your School Culture.

What you’ll hear and learn in this segment:

Principal EL’s journey into the classroom is nothing short of a calling from above. While working for Prism sports and talking to various athletes, EL realized the tremendous impact that educators had on the lives of the athletes, and he wanted to do the same for others.

  • Listen to why Principal EL decided to teach at the K-8 grade levels and not at the high school level.
  • EL’s explanation of why he decided to introduce students to chess is profound and poses the critical question: in what other ways can we engage students to think critically and have fun simultaneously in schools?
  • The conversation takes a nice turn to how schools must have a culture that supports teachers and attracts future educators into the profession.
  • EL gets very practical on how to recruit teachers of color.
  • Lastly, listen to EL rap and promote the power of an education.

This 302 Thoughts was a wonderful follow-up to our latest blogpost, Principal Leadership at TheSchoolHouse302.com: 

Every School Leader Should Know These 6 Incredible Black Educators–Celebrating Black History Month “Then” and “Now”.

We hope to hear from you about your favorite parts of both the blog and the interview. 

Please follow, like, and comment. Use #onethingseries and #SH302 so that we can find you. For more great leadership content, follow theschoolhouse302.com

Joe & T.J.

Starr Sackstein Discusses Going Gradeless as a Teacher and School Leader — #FocusED

Starr Sackstein Discusses Going Gradeless as a Teacher and School Leader — #FocusED

This is Season 1, Episode 3 of FocusED, and it features guest, Starr Sackstein. It was originally recorded live for a studio audience in Delaware, provided as a professional development experience for Delaware teachers and leaders. Don’t miss what Starr says about going gradeless in a traditional grading environment…and so much more. Enjoy.

Starr Sackstein is the Author of Such Great Educational Leadership Books for Teachers and School Leaders

Starr Sackstein was a Teacher Center teacher and ELA teacher at Long Island City High School in New York. She also spent nine years at World Journalism Preparatory School in Flushing, New York, as a high school English and journalism teacher where her students ran the multimedia news outlet WJPSnews.com. As a teacher, she completely got rid of grades, teaching students that learning isn’t about numbers, but about the development of skills and the ability to articulate growth.

Starr also has experience as the Director of Humanities (Business, English, Library, Reading, Social Studies, and World Languages) in West Hempstead, New York. It was from this experience that she wrote From Teacher to Leader: Finding Your Way as a First-Time Leader Without Losing Your Mind.

She is the author of many books (I’m not going to list them all). Here are a few of her titles: 

Teaching Mythology Exposed: Helping Teachers Create Visionary Classroom Perspective 

Blogging for Educators, Teaching Students to Self-Assess: How Do I Help Students Grow as Learners?

The Power of Questioning: Opening Up the World of Student Inquiry

Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School

Hacking Homework: 10 Strategies That Inspire Learning Outside of the Classroom co-written with Connie Hamilton.

Peer Feedback in the Classroom: Empower Students to be the Experts with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

From Teacher to Leader: Finding Your Way as a First-Time Leader without Losing Your Mind in 2019 (DBC). 

Assessing with Respect: Everyday Practices that Meet Students’ Social and Emotional Needs (ASCD), which just came out in March of 2021. 

Hacking Learning Centers in Grades 6-12: Teaching Choice and Providing Small Group Learning Opportunities in Content Rich Classes co-authored with Karen Terwilliger which is set to come out in 2021. 

At speaking engagements around the world, Starr speaks about blogging, journalism education, bringing your own device to school, and throwing out grades, which was also highlighted in a recent TEDx talk entitled “A Recovering Perfectionist’s Journey to Give up Grades.” In 2016, she was named one of ASCD’s Emerging Leaders.

In recent years, Starr has spoken internationally in Canada, Dubai, and South Korea on a variety of topics from assessment reform to technology-enhanced language instruction.She is now a full time consultant with the Core Collaborative, working with teams on assessment reform and bringing student voice to the front of all classroom learning. She is also the publisher with Mimi and Todd Press, helping other authors share their voices around making an impact for students such as Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity: The Keys to Successful Equity Implementation by Cobb and Krownapple. Most recently, Arrows: A Systems-Based Approach to School Leadership by Rosebrock and Henry.

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Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ theschoolhouse302.com. 

FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district with more knowledge, better understanding, and clear direction on what to do next. 

Principal Leadership: Every School Leader Should Know These 6 Incredible Black Educators–Celebrating Black History Month “Then” and “Now”

Principal Leadership: Every School Leader Should Know These 6 Incredible Black Educators–Celebrating Black History Month “Then” and “Now”

February is dedicated to Black History Month, and although the contributions of African Americans should be recognized every month–woven into all of our learning, celebrations, and acknowledgements–we wanted to take time this month to highlight the great accomplishments that are specific to the field of education. As educators, who grew up in the Christina School District and have worked, and continue to do so, in schools throughout New Castle County, Delaware, we have witnessed the tremendous work being done by African American teachers and administrators. These incredible leaders have accomplishments and stories that must be told throughout every year as schools look to educate their current students and work to build the next generation of educators. We feel that it’s of critical importance to our schools and districts that we spotlight the influences of both past and present African American leaders. These leaders have made and continue to make a huge difference in the lives of students in school and beyond. 

The individuals who are the focus of this piece are not only tremendous educators, but also shine in terms of the opportunities that they’ve created for others in such unique ways. There is a great deal of work being brought to the forefront recently regarding equity and agency, which is central to our focus in education and the reason for our selections below. To write this blog, we evoked what we call “standout educators” who have shaped and influenced the three of us as well as countless others. One such person is Booker T. Washington. Washington’s autobiography, Up from Slavery, describes the endless struggles that he endured and overcame throughout his life. His own formal educational pursuit, traveling over 500 miles to the Hampton Institute and then forming what is now Tuskegee University, has undoubtedly influenced America. Washington’s desire for a quality education and then the way he dedicated his life to a quality education for others changed our way of thinking forever. 

There are so many African American educators, such as George Washington Carver, who was hired by Washington, who we might feature for both inspiration and aspiration. The Black educators who motivate our efforts and captivate our attention are always the ones who have created the greatest change in our educational system. For the betterment of students, and society at large, they have altered what it means to be a teacher or leader in schools. 

We picked six for this blog, and we encourage you to add 6 more in the comments below. Our point is that there are great Black leaders from the past and the present, making a difference for students in a way that will transcend time. The first three are from the past; the next three are friends and colleagues doing the work today. We learn from the past to make connections to a future that will certainly be better for all kids. All kids. 

What we know about these leaders is that they all have the same three qualities in common, something we wrote about in our Passionate Leadership book. They focus on growth, challenging themselves to be their best at all times. They work hard for the sake of making changes that will last; they never shy away from even the seemingly impossible. And, they maintain a positive outlook, even when things seem bleak or desperate. You can learn from both their accomplishments and what they mean to a profession that shapes the fabric of our American culture. 

Three “Then” Leaders in Education

Our “then leaders” are slightly lesser known than maybe someone we could have highlighted that many people know as African American leaders in the field of education. We wanted to do that on purpose to show the contributions of the unsung heroes of our past and to demonstrate that leadership is important at every level. We never know the impact of the work we’re doing in our small corners of the universe, just that it matters now and we hope our legacy lives for another day. 

Marva Collins — Marva Collins is the first of our “then leaders” in education and Black History Month highlight for educators. Collins was unsatisfied with the education that poor black children received in inner-city public schools so she started a low-cost private school in Chicago. She invested her own money and provided a better education for her students at half the per pupil expenditure of the local schools. She was a leader who paved the way for those of us who want to do something different so that all students succeed. 

Kenneth Bancroft Clark — We celebrate Kenneth Clark as the founder of the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem and the Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited organization. He was a psychologist who made major contributions to supporting young people, specifically in the methods of social work, psychological evaluations, and more. He was the first African American tenured full professor at the City College of New York. The grand scope of his books, publications, and contribution for educating and supporting young people is practically endless–a real educational hero. 

Edwina B. Kruse — Edwina is among a small group of Delaware educators who were committed to African American students getting a quality education during times of exclusion. She was the first Black principal for the Howard School in Wilmington, and through her leadership, the school became one of academic excellence with a rigorous curriculum for what was then the only high school for Black students in Delaware. A little known fact is that the school was practically a boarding school because students from Delaware’s lower two counties often resided with their teachers, members of the community, and even Edwina herself. 

Three “Now” Leaders in Education

It’s always great to review the history books, and being that it’s Black History Month, the history itself is of importance. But we don’t want to ignore that we have friends and colleagues who are making history. Current black leaders in education are laying the groundwork for the future of what education will look like for our students. They impress us with the work they are doing, and although it was difficult to narrow our selection to three, these folks are nothing but the best at what they do for their schools and districts.  

Cynthia Jewell — We wrote about Jewell in Passionate Leadership, and she has been doing nothing but great work since that book was published. She is focused on her own growth so that she can be a beacon of support for others. Recently, she earned a Dare to Lead certificate from Brene Brown. She leads school admin through a virtual PLC process that has transformed online teaching and learning in her district, and she continues to support principal leadership as the guiding force for improving schools. Cynthia is a powerhouse, and we’re happy to call her a friend. You can connect with Cynthia on Twitter at @CynthiaSJewell

Basil Marin — Dr. Marin is a champion. If you don’t already follow him on Twitter, click here and make that happen. He was a 2017 ASCD Emerging Leader and he holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership. His kids-first mentality shines through in every national presentation we’ve seen him conduct, and his focus on equity is making a difference in his school and beyond. You can check out his website here as well. You can connect with Basil on Twitter at @basil_marin

Deirdra Aikens — Simply put, Deirdra Aikens is an impressive educator with an intense resume. She joined us for our Principal Induction Program as a guest speaker, and we’re pretty sure she could have just led the whole evening’s session. She was a principal of a school, a senior director of teaching and learning, and currently serves as deputy assistant superintendent of schools in her district. She’s also a certified Data Wise coach for Harvard Graduate School of Education. She makes a difference across the country, and at home in our great State of Delaware.  

Our “then” and “now” educators are truly impressive and deserve to be recognized and celebrated. The most challenging part of this month’s blog was narrowing our list down to just a few incredible people. One of the joy’s of writing this post was doing the research and uncovering the tremendous “then” educators who have lifted so many students. We know that our “now” educators continue to do the same. 

We want to dedicate this blog to the African-American educators who have left an indelible mark on each of us. If it weren’t for Dr. Sandra Countley, Joe may have never entered into school administration. As a young, novice teacher at Newark High School, Dr. Countley mentored Joe and planted the seed that administration was for him. In a couple short years, Joe was working side-by-side with Dr. Countley at Christiana High where she served as principal and Joe as an assistant principal. Those early formative years of encouragement, support, and belief are guiding principles that continue to motivate him to this day 

In January, the world lost another American icon and we would be remiss if we also didn’t dedicate this post to Hank Aaron who once said, “I am very proud to be an American. This country has so much potential, I’d just like to see things better, or whatever, and I think it will be.” Those words still ring true today, and it is our fervent belief that things will get better because, together, that’s the direction that we will lead.  

Stay tuned for more nuggets of wisdom, podcasts, books to read, reflection sessions, and the best resources for leading better and growing faster in schools. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of leaders who get our content each month. Send this to a friend. 

As always, let us know what you think of this with a like, a follow, or a comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And, again, if you want one simple model for leading better and growing faster per month, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J. and our guest blogger w/ us this month is Principal EL (Dr. Salome Thomas-EL) 

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