Season 4, Episode 2 of FocusED with Julie Stern #FocusED

Season 4, Episode 2 of FocusED with Julie Stern #FocusED

Julie Stern Joins FocusED to Discuss the Concept of Learning that Transfers…and More 

This is Season 4, Episode 2 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Julie Stern. It was originally recorded live for a studio audience in Delaware, provided as a professional development experience in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, the Delaware Academy for School Leadership, and The School House 302. Don’t miss what Julie says in this episode about learning that transfers…and so much more.

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Julie Stern Brings Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Julie Stern has nearly two decades of experience facilitating adult learning and feels lucky to partner with educators to take their practice to the next level. 

She is passionate about synthesizing the best of education research into practical tools that support educators in breaking free from the industrial model of schooling and moving toward teaching and learning that promotes sustainability, equity, and well-being. 

She is a four-time, best-selling author of Learning that Transfers, Visible Learning for Social Studies, The On-Your-Feet-Guide to Learning Transfer, and Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding, Elementary, and Secondary

She is a certified trainer in Visible Learning Plus and Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction. She is a James Madison Constitutional Fellow and taught social studies for many years in Washington, DC, and her native Louisiana. Julie moves internationally every few years with her husband, a US diplomat, and her two children.

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FocusED Show Notes with Julie Stern

Julie starts with a definition of “learning that transfers” — it’s not what we might think in terms of taking learning from short-term to long-term — but rather transferring learning from one situation to another in application. 

The vast majority of teachers already have the tools to plan for learning that transfers. ~ Julie Stern 

Don’t miss what she says about the first shift that we need to make and what needs to be at the heart of the lesson. 

You want to hear about what she says ISN’T transferable learning—isolated lessons that don’t apply to an additional situation. 

Julie talks about common errors that teachers make often without even thinking about them. 

There’s a big difference in the role that students and teachers take in classrooms where learning transfers. Students become pattern seekers. Teachers are no longer fact providers and sources of information. 

Julie talks about what it means to shift from subject matter to disciplinary literacy. 

Don’t miss what she says about content disciplines being a way to look at the world. 

Assessments are the floor, not the ceiling. Rote learning doesn’t work, even for standardized tests. ~ Julie Stern 

Go to LearningThatTransfers.com. Teachers, check out Chapter 8.

Check Out These Recommendations from Julie Stern: 

Brooke Castillo’s The Life School Podcast

Good Bye To Overwhelm 

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Happy Days by Gabby Bernstein

Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ theschoolhouse302.com where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 

 

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.

302 Thoughts with Joe and T.J.: 5 Stress Free Ways that Leaders Can Use to Effectively Tell their School’s Story

302 Thoughts with Joe and T.J.: 5 Stress Free Ways that Leaders Can Use to Effectively Tell their School’s Story

In this episode of 302 Thoughts, Joe and T.J. riff on how school leaders take control of their school’s story. Schools are unique and complex hubs of the community, doing incredible things each and every day that must be shared. 

The harsh reality is that many people believe that schools are failing our students. There is no doubt that schools and school systems can improve, but great things are happening and need to be showcased. 

T.J. begins by explaining the very nature of our schools and how resources and support are paramount for success. We don’t overlook this because marketing is secondary to the critical work in schools that must be done upfront. However, once that work is moving forward, we have to showcase the school, the students, and the staff. 

People already have an impression of schools so the narrative school leaders portray must be true, accurate, and also unique. If someone graduated from high school then they’ve taken biology. However, many of today’s biology classes are working with instrumentation and conducting labs that are fascinating in ways that past generations didn’t experience–showcase it! Shock people with knowledge and with a window into the great learning that is going on every day. 

Be sure to feature who you are, not just what you are. This was one of the key takeaways from TheSchoolHouse302 OneThingSeries Podcast with Amanda Holdsworth. Schools are small cities with a tremendous number of cool things going on and great people who do awesome work. Share it! Involve the students, don’t be afraid to use Tik Tok, and most importantly, have fun. 

Joe’s one thing is to keep the branding efforts raw and organic. Schools aren’t marketing firms and nor should they act like one. That said, the digital age we live in allows for authentic and everyday marketing efforts. Easy to do, use it often, and use it well. 

T.J.’s one thing is to ship the work! Get it out there. Don’t hesitate. Take inventory of the great things going on, including the uniqueness of the school, and blast it out for the world to see. 

 

Let our team know if there’s a topic that you want Joe and T.J. to cover by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com

Was this forwarded to you? Subscribe on the site

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

Amanda Holdsworth: Telling Your School’s Story #OneThingSeries

Amanda Holdsworth: Telling Your School’s Story #OneThingSeries

Stop trying to be everything to everyone. Know your area of expertise and stick to it. ~ Dr. Holdsworth 

About Amanda Holdsworth

Dr. Amanda Holdsworth, APR, is the founder of Holdsworth Communications, a PR and enrollment marketing agency in the education sector; the School Comms Lab, a membership community for school communicators; and Comms Mom, a global community for moms working in communications.

A former collegiate tennis and soccer player, Amanda earned a B.S.B.A. in Communications Management and Honors International Studies from Robert Morris University, and both a Master of Arts in Strategic Public Relations and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California.

Amanda’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., and Parents Magazine, but her pride and joy is her family: her husband, Doug, a successful entrepreneur, and two daughters, Avery and Shelby.

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Amanda Holdsworth

Amanda has done PR work in higher education, private schools, and public schools. Her insight into marketing and branding your school is invaluable. Learn how “to cut through the noise.”

It’s all about telling the story of the people who work in the organization. Create connections by telling their story to the community. Don’t miss the Curt Schilling example. 

Too many PR agencies, schools, and districts still think that public relations are about sending out press releases…not true. 

She gives sage advice regarding how stories should tie the school to the community so that it matters to the interests of the local people. 

T.J. gravitated toward the concept of an “ideal customer avatar” and how the ICA drives the narrative. The people, the vision and mission, and the impact the school is making are all ICA drivers.

To develop your ideal customer avatar, we need to enumerate our audiences. Schools and districts have multiple audiences, all with different interests. 

  1. Who are we communicating to? 
  2. What are their interests? 
  3. Who can help us get the word out? 

Schools can’t have a one-sided relationship with local journalists. You’ll want to hear what Amanda says about supporting relationships with the press so that they know how to help when the time comes. 

Amanda talks about the trend in the ability to get a hold of the national press versus local organizations. 

Amanda tells us about a two-prong approach that she learned at USC–have a strategic PR plan and “brand ambassadors.”

Amanda connected us to Jeremy Tiers to study how higher education is attracting students. Check out @coachtiers.  

She talks about practicing gratitude as something that all leaders can do daily. Use this sentence stem: “I’m so lucky to be in a position to…”

She acknowledges that she has never seen this degree of negative reporting about schools, making gratitude even more important. 

Listen to why she wants to play the bass guitar.

Amanda has learned to stay in her lane. Schools and districts can learn to focus on what they do best and how we can communicate that. 

Don’t miss what she says about being afraid to be an entrepreneur and what she realized when she went out on her own. 

Amanda ends by saying that we should tell the stories of our teachers and staff. Who is the school nurse? What can we share about the bus driver? It’s a people business. Let’s tell their stories. 

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Read This: School Leaders, Build Your School Brand with these Two Powerful Books

Read This: School Leaders, Build Your School Brand with these Two Powerful Books

School leaders who want to build a strong school brand recognize the importance of learning specific skills to do so effectively. This month Joe and T.J. offer two books that reinforce the 5 ways that school leaders can think like a marketer and tell your school’s story.

  • Culture is King–Marketing is about who you are, not what you are 

  • Great Brands Make a Difference–Marketing is about innovation and leadership 

  • First Follows Matter–Marketing is about knowing “the others”

  • Stand Out Amongst the Crowd–Marketing is about being unique 

  • Show Up Regularly–Marketing is about being consistent

Joe’s Pick: The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference

Featured Authors: Linda Kaplan Thaler & Robin Koval

Joe is a huge fan of Thaler and Koval’s work. The Power of Small is born from the genius that has birthed some of the greatest marketing advertising campaigns that we are familiar with. The simple mention of Aflac and our mind immediately goes to the duck. Enough said, they’ve done their jobs. 

What’s special about this book, though, is that it IS NOT a how-to book, but rather a book filled with stories that showcase the right mindset in order to be successful. We can’t ignore the details, the small things, and the discreet chances of success. 

T.J.’s Pick: This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See

Featured Authors: Seth Godin

T.J. may be Seth Godin’s biggest fan, and This is Marketing is definitely one of his favorite books. The power in Godin’s work is how he frames marketing. He explains that it’s not just about selling “soap.” Instead, marketing is really about solving a problem. Godin talks about how a leader is someone who is willing to do something that might not work and how that changes the culture forever. 

Most importantly, Godin breaks down marketing into five crystal clear steps that you won’t want to miss. He skillfully acknowledges the traps that we all fall into without being offensive or condescending to his readers. He doesn’t just highlight our mistakes but encourages us and provides a great path forward. “Ship the work!” “Ship it!”

Technical Tip for Leaders Who Read

Each month, Joe and T.J. leave listeners with a tip. Both of these books should be read patiently and studied all the while. Joe mentions the art of Sacred Reading and how monks studied the bible to truly understand what they were experiencing. Although these aren’t holy texts, the idea is to fully embrace what you are reading so that you are a different person when you are done. 

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.

Season 4, Episode 1 of FocusED with Jessica Cabeen #FocusED

Season 4, Episode 1 of FocusED with Jessica Cabeen #FocusED

Jessica Cabeen Joins FocusED to Discuss What It Means to Lead With Grace 

This is Season 4, Episode 1 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Jessica Cabeen. It was originally recorded live for a studio audience in Delaware, provided as a professional development experience in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, the Delaware Academy for School Leadership, and The School House 302. Don’t miss what Jessica says in this episode about leading with grace while maintaining high expectations…and so much more.

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Jessica Cabeen Brings Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Jessica is the Principal of Alternative Educational Programs and Austin Online Academy in Austin Minnesota. Prior to that, she was the principal at Ellis Middle School as well as the “Happiest Place in Southeastern Minnesota,” the Woodson Kindergarten Center. She has been an assistant middle school principal, a special education assistant director, and a special education teacher. 

Jessica was awarded the NAESP/VINCI Digital Leader of Early Learning Award in 2016; in 2017, she was named the Minnesota National Distinguished Principal; and in 2021, she was named DIVE Principal of the year.  

She is a NAESP Middle Level Fellow and a Future Ready Principal. Jessica is the author of Hacking Early Learning, Balance Like A Pirate, Unconventional Leadership, and Lead with Grace: Leaning into the Soft Skills of Leadership.  

But by far her favorite space is the one that involves being with her husband Rob, two sons Kenny and Isaiah, and of course the family dog-Herman. Jessica can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @JessicaCabeen and on her website: jessicacabeen.com.

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FocusED Show Notes with Jessica Cabeen

Jessica talked about going from one level to another and learning how to communicate effectively. 

Don’t miss what she says about vulnerability. 

Jessica talked about letting go of the perception that you have to lead with perfection. Leaders need to celebrate errors…what she called normalizing errors. 

Jessica talked about balancing grace with high expectations, what it means to have a tough conversation with people who you care about. 

You’ll love what she says about setting up a crucial conversation. 

The sandwich setup makes it so that people get their carbs but they miss the protein…you’ll know what we mean when you listen to the show. 

Leading with grace is not always leading gracefully. Jessica talks about what leaders need as they grow and the skill of grace. 

Leaders need to practice self-regulation by checking their energy and attitude each day. Listen to what Jessica says about her “miracle morning.” 

Don’t miss what Jessica says about having an “open door policy.” 

Jessica wants to see the student voice elevated in schools—seen, heard, and valued in schools. 

Jessica talks about brain development research and resources. Check out The Power of the Adolescent Brain by Thomas Armstrong 

She mentions learning more about career pathways so that students can see themselves beyond schools. 

Book number five is on its way: Principal in Balance.

Quotes from Jessica Cabeen

Breathe, smile, take a break, and have a life. ~ Jessica Cabeen

No one needs to be May-tired in October. ~ Jessica Cabeen 

It’s not what you say but how you say it. ~ Jessica Cabeen

Value people before their positions. ~ Jessica Cabeen 

 

Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ theschoolhouse302.com where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 

 

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.

Great School Leaders Think About Their School as a Brand: 5 Ways to Tell Your School’s Story

Great School Leaders Think About Their School as a Brand: 5 Ways to Tell Your School’s Story

Great School Leaders Know How (and Why) to Tell Their School’s Story

We think that everyone can agree that there simply is not enough good news being spread among the masses, all around the world. That’s why we loved John Krasinski and his show, Some Good News, during the pandemic. It was a great reminder to all of us that great things were happening despite the rest of what we heard and saw on TV. Spreading the good news about our schools is no different. 

The most important reason to tell your school’s story is that if you don’t control or contribute to the narrative, someone else will. And, the media is quite negative; as the old saying goes, “if it bleeds, it leads.” Why? The reality is that our brains are attracted to it and controversy sells. A Pew Research Center’s study revealed that most people believe the media negatively contributes to our view of the world, yet, we still tune in.

64% of Americans say social media has a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in the U.S. today.

~ Pew Research Center

That’s why we need to highlight as much of the positive news about our schools as possible. Great leaders embrace this responsibility, and they learn to brand well. This post is designed to help you to tell your school’s story better or, at the very least, to validate the ways in which you already spread your school’s good news. 

The second most important reason to tell your school’s story is that your school deserves to have a brand that attracts top talent. With staff shortages and shallow application pools, school leaders are missing opportunities to showcase their school if they don’t have channels for doing so. The fact is, when it comes to attracting, hiring, and retaining teachers, there are–and will continue to be–winners and losers. Some schools and districts will fill their positions to a greater degree than others, and it will come right down to one thing–the reputation that your school culture has within the community. 

If you have a crappy internal culture, that’s the place school leaders must start and change fast. The best way to do so is through a pressure and support model that’s designed to set clear values and high expectations that are attached to strong staff support.  

But, if your school is already a decent place to work–treating teachers and other staff with dignity and respect–you should be telling your story as loudly and as far and wide as you can. The first step is that all school leaders must learn to think like marketers. 

School Leaders Should Think Like a Marketing Agency

Thinking like a marketer is not something you likely learned in your principal preparation program. That’s because the people who build those programs are former school leaders, and they didn’t likely think like marketers either. TheSchoolHouse302 is to the rescue; we always try to demonstrate the nuances of leadership, including the counterintuitive nature of leading well and the aspects of school leadership that you can’t find from most other leadership development firms. With that said, we’re here to tell you that if you don’t have a marketing hat as one of your many school leadership thinking caps, you need to get one…fast. 

To get you started with your new marketing mindset, we developed five marketing considerations for school leaders that come from research and evidence in the field of marketing. Again, most school leaders don’t study this closely, but you do–or at least you do now–which gives you a competitive advantage when it comes to building your winning team.

5 Ways for School Leaders to Think Like a Marketer 

#1. Culture is King–Marketing is about who you are, not what you are 

The first principle of marketing is that it’s not just advertising; it’s all of the lived experiences that your customers and employees have on a daily basis. You can advertise anything you want, but that doesn’t mean it’s real. Marketing starts with the culture of the school. It’s everything you do. For a long time, schools could operate without a customer service mentality because going to school is compulsory–everyone needs education and everyone sends their children to school. School choice changes that reality. Parents have options and teachers have options, more options than ever before. If we don’t build a positive culture on the inside of our organizations, nothing we say to advertise our schools will matter

Pro Tip: Great school leaders don’t just know that culture is king, they measure it. Check out our Reputable, Effective, Perception Survey for Schools (REPSS) for an example of an instrument that can measure the success and needs of any school culture.  

#2. Great Brands Make a Difference–Marketing is about innovation and leadership 

School leaders who care about marketing can learn from great brands like Patagonia, which has “cause no unnecessary harm” as one of its four core values. For schools to follow the “we make a difference” principle of marketing, the school should clearly be innovative, making a substantial change to what it means to be an effective school. The new crop of teachers who are entering into education wants to work at schools that are not only having an impact but are doing things differently, breaking the traditions and testing new waters. School leaders who want to reap the benefits of an innovative environment need to build a brand that speaks to taking risks and pushing boundaries. 

Pro Tip: Revisit your vision statement and core values. Do the words speak to innovation, leadership, change, and risk-taking? If not, consider a revision. The information that you have posted online are your marketing materials. 

#3. First Follows Matter–Marketing is about knowing “the others”

One thing that great marketers do is to find their people. Seth Godin calls this tactic the “people like us do things like this” phenomena. People want to be part of something that makes them feel included with a sense of belonging that fills a very natural human desire. Knowing this helps leaders to make decisions about who to give certain tasks to and how to spread news quickly when the need arises. School leaders know who the big fans are of the school and those are the people who need to know first when something special is happening or when something new is on the horizon. They are the marketing team, whether they know it or not. 

Aside from Godin, you can check out this concept in more detail from Li Jin who wrote about 100 True Fans, Kevin Kelly who talks about 1000 True Fans, and Derek Sivers’ famous video called, Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy. The point is that when you want to market something, you need to spread the word through the voices of the people who are likely going to tell the story by finding “the others.” 

Pro Tip:  School leaders who want to build a reputation outside of the school walls should create a marketing team to discuss what to market and how to market the school’s story. The first step in this direction is to simply add a “marketing” agenda item to the leadership team meeting. 

#4. Stand Out Amongst the Crowd–Marketing is about being unique 

Unfortunately, schools in America are all very much the same in terms of the student and staff generic experience. It’s still very common to see English 9, English 10, English 11, and English 12 as the high school English curriculum versus naming these courses and teaching them thematically through the use of unique content and experiences that are relevant to our diverse student populations–whether that be their background or interests. The good news is that becoming unique and marketing something special about your school isn’t difficult. If you want to attract people who want to belong to a special experience then you need to market the uniqueness of your school or district. 

Pro Tip: Reflect with your team: what makes our school different for students and staff that would help us to stand out in the crowded space of teaching and learning? What can we do that would make us unique and special for our students and staff? 

#5. Show Up Regularly–Marketing is about being consistent

Anyone can send a tweet once in a while to demonstrate the things that are happening in their school. That’s not enough. Great marketers all have one thing in common–which is also common among great leaders–they’re persistent and resilient. They consistently show up with great messaging, new material, and interesting stories. Their news is on multiple channels with tons of likes, positive comments, and shares. The great story that you have to tell is only as good as your reach and the response that you get from your audience. The key is to be loud and proud. 

Pro Tip: We hate to say it, but get on Twitter. Three posts a day is the magic formula. If you’re on Twitter, get on more often. Twitter has become an educator’s workspace for sharing ideas, posting photos, and building a school, district, and personal brand. We’ll see you there: @tjvari & @Supt_Jones

Your School is a Brand 

As we wrap up this post, we encourage you to think about the things that great brands have that schools also tend to create: vision statements, core values, logos, merchandise, etc. As a school leader, your access to taking photos, posting news, and promoting a daily message is far greater than what many other professions offer in terms of an image. It’s just about taking advantage of what you’re already doing by telling your story to the world. 

And, we owe it to ourselves and the profession. When you see schools in the news, it’s rarely a depiction of the good things that we’re doing. Let’s change that narrative together

We want to hear from you. Please hit us with a like, a follow, a comment, or a share. It helps us and it helps other readers, like you, to find our work so that more school leaders can lead better and grow faster. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

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