Embracing Community Conflict

Addressing Community Conflict … And Living to Tell About It When in doubt, reach out: collaborate. The answer is in the room. Invite the group to help resolve issues of the group. Polarized Schools have become the battleground for polarized views on COVID, race, books, and more. When in conflict, we have only so many…

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Making tough personnel calls

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Principals … Key to Student Learning School improvement rarely (possibly never) happens without great leadership. Principals’ building-wide impact makes them one of the most important forces in student learning. Earlier blogs have highlighted the power of principal pipelines and ongoing capacity development for principals. This blog focuses on discernment: what to do when a principal…

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Value Based Budgeting

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Budget Priorities: What You Value Most Spring brings April showers—and enrollment projections, staffing allocations, and budgeting decisions. Essentially, we are doing three jobs at once: finishing strong, celebrating with grads and retirees, and hiring for the coming year. As one colleague puts it, “God blesses educators with a forgetful memory; otherwise, we would never go…

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Transforming culture in uncertain times

Transformational Leadership When in doubt, reach out! Positional power is dead.  Fear, lack of trust, and chaos call for new leadership: collaborative, adaptive, transformational. Guard, Guide, and Grow Borrowing heavily from Bridges (Transitions), Deal (Corporate Cultures), and Heifetz (Leadership on the Line), three words seem to embody the need for transformative leadership in our times:…

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Learning our way forward

Learning Resilience Together Our superintendent cohort met last week.  Resilience and strategic alignment were our themes:  coping with the present and cautiously moving forward at the speed of trust.  Here (not polished yet) is an emerging toolkit of our collective thinking on resilience.  How we went about it is, in itself, a case study in…

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Adaptive Thinking

Adaptive Thinking We continue to adapt our thinking around COVID.  Just when we have it all figured out, something changes.  In times of certainty we look for technical solutions.  Now, in times of UNcertainty, we seek adaptive solutions. Here is a big picture look at Adaptive Thinking: Bay of Pigs: It was clear to his…

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Adaptive Tools for UNcertain Times

Adaptive Tools for Reopening Starting Strong: Every year we hope for a smooth start.  Every year brings surprises … wrinkles that always take more time to resolve than we expected. Here are some tips and tools for starting strong from a group of great superintendent colleagues: Getting ready for reopening … Before … During ……

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Student Voice

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Know better … Do Better … Listening to Student Voice Want to build back better? Listen to student voice. Students are in class all day every day.  Their wisdom will astound you.  And hopefully change you for the better.   Those are some of the take-aways from this interview with Jenn McDermott, Director of Innovative Initiatives…

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Learning Improvement – Steps to Success

How Seattle Keeps Improving Learning In 2017 Seattle was ranked third among large urban districts for student growth. And they keep striving to get better.  Seattle’s improvement journey illustrates the three aspects of a “community of practice:” Domain:  Student-Focused Collaboration has been a steady focus. Community:  District teams keep working to get better as do school…

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Growing High Capacity Direct Reports

 Grow High Capacity “direct reports” who can share the load Situation The pace of change spins faster and faster.  Challenges keep coming … more quickly than we can respond. Do your direct reports pick up the slack?  Or are they awaiting your decisions? Solution Senior executives must step up.  No longer can they remain siloed…

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