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.

Season 3, Episode 13 of FocusED with John Almarode #FocusED

Season 3, Episode 13 of FocusED with John Almarode #FocusED

John Almarode Joins FocusED to Discuss How School Leaders and Classroom Teachers Can Focus on Clarity for Learning

This is Season 3, Episode 13 of FocusED, and it features our guest, John Almarode. 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 Dr. Almarode says about the importance of clarity for learning, evidence of learning, the science of teaching…and so much more. 

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John Almarode Brings Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

When John was 10-years-old, he walked down the hallways of Stuarts Draft Middle School to find his locker and classes on what he believed was a normal “back-to-school” night. However, the moment he walked through the door frame of Room 30, he met his sixth-grade science teacher, Ms. Cross. From that moment on, he knew he wanted to be a teacher – not just any teacher, but a teacher as influential as Ms. Cross. 

That moment in Room 30 where he met Ms. Cross still fuels his drive as a teacher. Yet, his single greatest accomplishment, if asked, is his family. If you have ever worked with John via Zoom, WebEx, Google Meets, or Teams, you have almost certainly met each member of his immediate family through their impromptu cameo appearances. 

John lives in Waynesboro, Virginia with his wife Danielle, a  fellow educator, their two children, Tessa and Jackson, and Labrador retrievers, Bella, Dukes, and Ollie. Oh, and Tessa and Jackson affectionately call Ms. Cross, Grandma Sally.

Outside of being a husband and father, John is an Associate Professor of Education in the College of Education at James Madison University and works with preservice teachers and graduate students across multiple teacher preparation programs.

John is a bestselling author (of 11 books) and has worked with schools, classrooms, and teachers all over the world on the translation and application of the science of learning to the classroom, school, and home environments, and what works best in teaching and learning.

Today, we discuss John’s book, Clarity for Learning and what that means for teachers and students as well as school leaders who are looking for instructional excellence in the classroom. 

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FocusED Show Notes with John Almarode 

Don’t miss what John says about clarity of learning for teachers but also students. 

What do we want our students to learn? 

How do we want them to learn? 

How will they know if we’ve learned? 

Relaying feedback to learners is important but it’s also important for learners to relay feedback to us. 

Having learning intentions and success criteria is one thing, but they can’t just be practices on the board. 

Teachers need to pay attention to the verbs in the standards: “compare and contrast” versus “explain” and other behaviors that we want students to communicate and display. 

Don’t miss the secret that John tells us about what separate teachers who have the highest degrees of learning and growth. 

The science learning has been around since 1885. Once you learn something, if you don’t practice retrieving it, you’ll forget it. Unfortunately, we don’t always use the science. 

Our work now: how do we support teachers with the science of learning to apply it in the context of the classroom so that we can learn more about the science of teaching. 

John talked about his other book, How Learning Works, as a place to go to support teachers now in terms of where we might start with the science of learning. 

It is very difficult to learn in an environment where you don’t feel like you belong. ~ John Almarode 

Listen to John describe what happens in a threatening environment; students will simply not care about what the teacher planned for them to learn. 

John ends the episode with a message about focusing on what really matters most versus what we don’t have any control over. 

John Almarode Quotes 

It is very difficult to learn in an environment where you don’t feel like you belong. ~ John Almarode 

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.

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. 

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. 

Season 3, Episode 12 of FocusED with Robyn Jackson #FocusED

Season 3, Episode 12 of FocusED with Robyn Jackson #FocusED

This is Season 3, Episode 12 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Robyn Jackson. 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 Robyn says about building culture as a school leader…and much more. 

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Robyn Jackson Brings Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Robyn Jackson is passionate about building better schools. As the CEO of Mindsteps Inc.®, she has helped thousands of K–12 administrators and teachers develop the clarity and confidence to turn their classrooms and schools into success stories.

Jackson combines her experience as an English teacher and middle school administrator and her work in thousands of schools and districts to help teachers and administrators develop rigorous instructional programs that provide students with the support and motivation they need to reach or exceed the standards and helps refocus vision, mission, and core values to build better schools.

She is the author of 10 books, host of the School Leadership Reimagined podcast, and an internationally recognized keynote speaker and consultant.

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FocusED Show Notes with Robyn Jackson

Robyn talked about the failed leadership models that we all learned but that aren’t working since they are designed to maintain. 

Don’t miss what she says about doing the work of leadership in schools without a new program, without firing people, without adding…by building. 

Don’t miss the 4 things that Robyn teaches in her builders’ lab. 

Robyn talked about vision statements being promises for our students. 

There’s great power in the way that Robyn describes teacher development, growing them one level in one year. Picking one thing to develop and targeting that area. 

We need to know the most critical areas of instruction to set as our focus for teacher growth. 

Robyn talked about this mantra: Bosses say “you go.” Leaders say “let’s go.” Builders say “come.” 

The leader dictates the vision but that staff should put boundaries around their own behavior by setting the core values. This is the purpose stage that Robyn teaches. 

Don’t miss what Robyn says about every teacher becoming a master teacher. 

Listen to what it means to interrogate your teacher evaluation system. What’s one thing that teachers need to do to get to the next level? 

Books mentioned by Robyn Jackson on FocusED

Never Work Harder Than Your Students by Robyn Jackson 

 

Robyn mentions books outside of education, including the book Upstream by Dan Heath. She talked about trying to solve problems at the source. 

Robyn Jackson Quotes 

Being successful is boring. Being really successful is really boring. ~ Robyn Jackson 

The best gift you can give every student is a master teacher in every classroom. ~ Robyn Jackson

We need staff to grow in both their skillset and their willset so that they’re not just better teachers but also that they feel safe to try new things, take risks, and improve practice. ~ Robyn Jackson

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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.

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. 

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