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@dereka206.sg-host.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. 

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

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@dereka206.sg-host.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@dereka206.sg-host.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@dereka206.sg-host.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 Fireside Chat: Why There’s Nothing More Important for a School Leader to Build than Trust

302 Fireside Chat: Why There’s Nothing More Important for a School Leader to Build than Trust

In this episode of 302 Thoughts, Joe and T.J. take a deep dive into how school and district leaders, at all levels, can develop, build, and sustain trust in schools. The tough reality with trust is that it is easily lost and hard to gain, which is why we remember this powerful quote by Sophocles, Trust dies but mistrust blossoms

 

Joe emphasizes how trust is needed now more than ever, but is definitely in short supply. Not just in schools or education but throughout our country. If there is any doubt to this, just tune into any news channel and listen to the criticism, uncertainty, and mistrust espoused by the commentators. 

 

One thing to always remember as a leader is that we are not always the cause of the mistrust,  but we still might be the recipient of it. This is critical for leaders because we need to remain steadfast and focused on the success of our students, regardless of the perceived public perception. This means that we can’t be swayed by our emotions and worries, even though it is incredibly challenging at times. 

 

One way to remain focused as a school leader is to work within the four most powerful domains that yield the greatest student gains:  

 

  1. Leading for the capacity of the staff
  2. Ensuring quality teaching in every classroom
  3. Establishing goals & expectations through a clear vision
  4. Strategic resourcing for effective implementation 

 

T.J. takes the time to explain why trust is mostly counterintuitive in the workplace. Although trust is a universal need, we often work to build trust in the wrong ways in schools.  

The 3 Worst Tips about Building Trust in Schools

Trust-Building Tips (GONE WRONG)Why This Doesn’t Work
Build Friendships, First

Professional relationships are not built the same as friendships but rather on the vision, mission, and core values of the school. This eliminates any mystery on what is expected from the employee.

Don’t miss what Robyn Jackson says about trust and predictability.

Only Focus on Strengths Soaring with your strengths is powerful and sage advice. As a leader, we also need to manage people’s weaknesses and make sure that they are not hindering progress. To focus on weaknesses without falling into the trap of a “circle of nice,” learn to give better feedback.
Treat Everyone the SameSimilar to students, treating people equally does not mean the same. We need to differentiate our treatment to fully develop others. This is also a teacher retention strategy because everyone has different needs and brings value in different ways.

As we look to develop trust and lead more effectively, we need tools that can remind us of how we can continually develop trust. Joe featured, Speed of Trust Action Cards, that are great reminders of the principles associated with the best selling book, Speed of Trust. Joe keeps these cards on his desk and periodically visits them to remind himself of the crucial ideas.

T.J. took the opportunity to share our REPSS survey and the specific design regarding measuring trust. School culture thrives when trust is at the center, and the survey is built to get a pulse on how people are feeling. Think about the power of knowing how your staff is doing and feeling, particularly during these challenging times. Granted, this also requires courage. It’s easier to keep “leading” and not checking in with those on the front lines. Don’t be average, lead with greatness. 

Our 302 Thoughts are monthly recordings as part of our OneThingSeries to help school leaders lead better and grow faster. It’s like school leadership training without having to leave the comfort of your office or home. Look for our other leadership interviews and books that we recommend, all part of the same podcast series at TheSchoolHouse302. 

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.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. 

Speed of Trust: The Single Most Important Book for School Leaders

Speed of Trust: The Single Most Important Book for School Leaders

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 our suggested reading to our theme for the month. This month we are completely focused on trust. Kudos to you for picking yourself to grow and improve.  

This month we chose to dive deep into the concept of trust and the one book that every school leader needs to read and read again is The Speed of Trust.

Featured Author: Stephen M.R. Covey

Featured Book: Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything

Let us first say that we love this book and believe that should be on every leader’s desk. This is not a one time read but rather a book to refer to for guidance and inspiration. Some books deserve an annual read…this is one of them. You can also check out our blog on the topic of trust and our interview with Stephen M.R. Covey himself

An important aspect of the book for note taking and continual reference are the 13 Behaviors of a High Trust Leader. We love this chart from the University of North Texas Health Science Center because it crystallizes each behavior, what it is and is not. We particularly like the counterfeit column because it precisely describes the behavior of the individual who is not operating as a high trust leader. 

13 Hight Trust Behaviors

An additional element of the book that we discussed in our review was the final section. This part of the book deals with instilling and inspiring trust, which is desperately needed right now. Listening to fully understand people, what they’re experiencing, and gaining clarity on issues is crucial for leaders who want to inspire trust. This doesn’t mean that school leaders always have the answers to problems they’re willing to hear, but by understanding someone clearly, you are in a better position to make that determination. What you’ll often discover is that listening alone does help the situation. That said, if there is an opportunity to make a commitment and work toward a solution, then listening intently also provides a perfect opportunity to build trust by keeping and honoring the commitment. 

We always like to leave our audience with a #ReadThisSeries tip for readers, and this month we encourage leaders to read this book with your teams. Speed of Trust is not a book that school leaders should read alone. We encourage you to create a book study group and discuss the content and how to apply it with others.  

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.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.