Attitude & Investment #cuerockstar admin

It was a whirlwind three days.  I loved every minute.  It just doesn’t matter what your role is–attending on your own, attending with a team, faculty, visitor, newbie, guru–learning is all about attitude and investment.

Any time I share with a group, my own WHY gets clearer and clearer.  I’m reminded of best practices that sometimes fall by the wayside.  Do I walk my own talk?  Mostly, yes.  But there’s always room for improvement.

I love that pregnant pause when a group is digesting a new idea or strategy.  We sit in silence. Thinking.  Considering. And then someone breaks the quiet with a personal exclamation of discovery.  It’s awesome.  And somewhere in those few seconds of silence I’m panicking: Did I share the most obvious thing ever?  Did I confuse everyone?  I must have missed the big idea.  Why doesn’t anyone say anything?  But I know, from my own experience, when a big idea hits me, I ruminate on it for those few extra moments.  I’ve found myself shushing the silence as a big idea takes shape.

One Google Doc for Everything.  It’s one of those big ideas/workflows that blew many minds at #cuerockstar.  For me, when I figured it out, it was a forehead slap moment.  Why am I JUST NOW doing this?  We can let ourselves off the hook: shifting from a Microsoft Word brain to a GAFE brain is a lengthy, bumpy transition.  The concept is simple (hence ‘forehead slap moment’).  Any standing meeting (agenda and minutes) can exist on one google doc for the entire year.  There is no need for a new document at each meeting.  None.  Same goes for your Weekly Bulletin, Friday Notes or Week-at-a-Glance.  And with a quick ctrl-F or command-F, you can search the whole darn thing for the nugget of info you’re after.  Now not only is it all in one place but it’s actually useable information.  Whoa.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 5.46.02 PMBut even more important, a little shift like this can mean huge savings of time and energy to buy time back for kids!  The whole point is mobile leadership that puts you out and about with students.  It’s not about Google; it’s about kids!  But when we’re stuck in our office, tied to a desktop computer, it isn’t about students at all.  That’s the big idea.  We’re here for students!

This is where learning is about attitude and investment.  If you were sitting in the room with us and heard me start in on Google Docs, you might tune out.  How hard is Google Docs?  I’m pretty good at that already.  But it’s attitude that opens my mind to new nuggets of learning, new ideas, new ways of thinking.  I’m invested in this experience so I won’t miss the takeaways, big ideas and methods that will make me a better leader.  And the big idea here was NOT a Google doc tip.

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Day 3 gave me an ah-ha moment from @ERaven06 and her fellow VP.  We were discussing feedback: who we survey, what we ask, what we do with the information, etc.  The group had mostly settled on a student survey–a group we are most likely to leave out of annual surveying.  With questions being thrown around, form how-to’s demonstrated and anonymity discussed,  Esabel (@ERaven06) shared that she and her VP counterpart at another site were going to give their student survey and then review their data together.


Together?  Review the data across sites?


Yes!  I love that!  We have an amazing elementary admin team! This will be perfect for us!  Site review and analysis was a given but this extra layer of leadership reflection just made my day!  Yet again, an attitude for learning and investment in my own growth as a leader for students and staff.  BAM!

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And now we’ll connect to see how it all goes.  Thanks Esabel! #accountabilitypartners  Positive attitudes and investment in our leadership for the benefit of students!



Relentlessly Obsess About Your Story #exploitingchaos #leadwild

Relentlessly.  Obsess.  About.  Your.  Story.

So says Jeremy Gutsche in Exploiting Chaos.  One of my top 10 edu-reads.  Get it.  Now.

Currently, this paragraph speaks to me:

A Culture of Revolution breaks down structure and liberates your organization’s ability to adapt.  Within your organization, intentionally destroy in order to create, encourage failure, obsess about your customer, and understand specifically what it is that you are trying to do.

This paragraph shouts at me.  And challenges me.  And makes me wonder about changing education and if it’s even possible.

School doesn’t feel very adaptable right now.  We have financial, institutional and cultural barriers.  We don’t do ourselves any favors either.  Our own worst enemies, as it were.  Many barriers.

Intentional destruction just hurts my heart when I think of current students, their needs, their growth and well-being.  But with a future-oriented mindset, we must break down the structures of traditional education to ever arrive at what students will need for THEIR futures.  Change for more than change sake.  What do we know about our students’ futures?  What can we reasonably project?  What do we know about their present situations, needs, ways of learning?

Encouraging failure works.  By nurturing risk-taking, outside-of-the-box approaches, and processing/reflecting on outcomes, I encourage failure.  It’s not a negative.  It’s a growth opportunity.  For students and adults.  If you’re an educator uninterested in your own learning, you don’t belong here.

My customer is students and their families.  I love that part of my work.  Just today, our kindergarten team remarked at how often I’m in kinder.  They appreciate my connectedness to students and what they’re doing in class.  Our cafeteria manager remarked recently, “You check in often.  I feel like a real part of the staff.”  The staff is my customer as well.  Relationships are everything.

Specifically what we’re trying to do… harder to define.  Or at least hard to define in fewer than a novel length text.  It’s academic, it’s social, it’s about learning to move through the world, it’s about problem solving, and so much more.  How do students nurture the world around them, how do they lead others, how do they think critically?  When should I speak up for a peer, share my scientific thinking, give 100% on the mile run, ask my teacher for help?  School is amazingly complex and, for me, shockingly simple: build & nurture relationships.

Mentally, I’m deep in a Culture of Revolution.  I feel it.  But the realities of school drop it down a notch.  Ok, honestly, my Revolution is gets squashed.   It’s a big ship to steer.

So what now?

Exploiting Chaos (via a JP Morgan story) has an answer:

  1. Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that day.
  2. Do them.

… the time to act is always now. Thanks @jeremygutsche Ready to continue my Revolution.  My list of things needs to focus on Relentlessly Obsessing About Our Story.  #leadwild