Graduation Gains – One district’s success

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Federal Way’s success with continuous improvement: An Interview with Superintendent Tammy Campbell Dr. Tammy Campbell became superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools in 2015. Federal Way, located 25 miles south of Seattle, serves 23,000 students in one of the most diverse districts in the nation.  Graduation rates have risen from 76% to 87% with significant gains…

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Leading in Crisis

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Leading in Crisis We are living in unprecedented times.  Due to COVID-19, virtually all school buildings in America are closed.  School leaders are called upon to sort out untold new ways of doing school.  School lunches.  Distance learning. Day care. Special Education.  Union rules.  New technology platforms.  And at the same time, district leaders are…

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The Superintendent as Instructional Leader

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21 ways to become a learning leader Superintendents and District Leaders Matter Teachers matter most in improving student learning.  Principals are a close second and are now expected to be instructional leaders.  What about superintendents and district level leaders.  Their role, though less visible, is every bit as essential in growing the culture and the…

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Growing Instructional Leaders

7 Ways to Grow Quality School Leaders: Coherence and Capacity People are our most important resource. Dedicated staff engage students daily – 180 days a year – helping them be successful. Teachers are the most important in-school factor that improves student learning. Principals are a close second.  High quality schools don’t appear by magic. They…

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Making Change Stick

How to make change initiatives stick Making Change Stick: 90% of change initiatives fail … because they rely so heavily on one tool, motivation.  According to Patterson and Grenny, successful initiatives include will and skill, not just motivation.  The difference between a problem and an opportunity is the amount of skill available.  No matter how…

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Leading in the Gap

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Leadership for Learning – Leading in the Gap Top Challenge In recent polls, nearly 90 percent of superintendents say that their biggest challenge is boosting the academic achievement of underprivileged and/or struggling students. What can school districts do to close gaps? Some of the most common approaches Speakers Schedule a prominent speaker to talk to…

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Leading High-Performance School Systems: Lessons from the World’s Best

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Leading High-Performance School Systems … by Marc Tucker A New Higher World Standard Marc Tucker heads the National Center on Education and the Economy.  For thirty years he has made the case that our students will need High Skills for High Wages.  Here in Leading High-Performance School Systems he points out that basic jobs…

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Starting Strong – Launching the New Year

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Starting Strong – Launching the New Year One of the highlights of my time as superintendent in Seattle, was “opening” the monthly PD sessions for principals. These openings were my opportunity to: a) say good things about what I had seen in buildings; b) add context to current events; c) share and reshare the importance…

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Moving from Alignment to Coherence

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Peter Senge and Systems Improvement I am a long-time fan of Peter Senge’s work.  When AASA asked me which author had had the greatest impact on me – my response was Peter Senge and his book, The Fifth Discipline. I spent time with Peter Senge in Boston and devoured his material on common purpose, shared…

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Keeping Hope Alive in Tough Times

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Keeping Hope Alive … In Tough Times These are challenging times for educational leaders.  Expectations for student learning keep rising while available funds shrink.  Leaders face pressures to balance budgets, keep teacher salaries competitive, AND invest more in student learning.  Often the district leaders, especially the superintendent, are the only ones that see the bigger…

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