Monthly Archives: September 2016

PMP:038 Celebrating Good Deeds with a Class Cup

I know a lot of schools have creative ways to celebrate the positive behaviors they want students showing on a daily basis.
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This school year, our student council and their sponsor, Ms. Franklin, launched plans to award a Class Cup to the grade of students who show the most participation in good deeds and school spirit throughout the school year.

Similar to the award given to students in the fictional world of Hogwarts, the wizardry school in the Harry Potter series, students will be tracked throughout the year in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. Based on which class earns the most points, one class will be awarded the big trophy and bragging rights at the end of the school year.

When I met with our student leaders earlier in the semester to talk about their plans, they explained some of the steps they would follow to introduce the idea, track points among students, and recognize merits as the momentum builds. If you’re thinking about starting a new initiative for improving school culture, consider three simple ideas from the Class Cup implementation: Continue reading

PMP:037 Are You Growing? Learning to Celebrate the Small Wins

Last week I left school early so that I could watch our cross-country teams run at a local race.

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My daughter Mattie being hugged by her big sister after a grueling 5K run when she improved her personal record time by 2 minutes.

It was one of those days where the sun and clouds kept alternating in the sky. My oldest daughter, Emily ran in the first race. When it ended, clouds moved in and a heavy shower began falling with scattered lightning and thunder. We huddled under the team’s tent canopy, and waited it out. Before long, the clouds moved away, the sun broke through again, and the races continued: boys’ varsity then onto junior varsity. My second daughter, Mattie, runs on the junior varsity team for our school.

All summer long these kids have been training: showing up for early morning runs or staying late for long runs. Sprinting 1,000 yard sets or running for 60-minute long runs have become a part of various routines as they’ve worked to increase endurance. I’m so proud of the dedication of all our high school athletes, but the dad in me is also proud of my girls. Continue reading

PMP:036 Four Suggestions on Providing Meaningful Feedback from Observations and Evaluations

I have a lot of friends who are good golfers. I am not one of them.
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But I recognize a good golfer when I see one. He or she is usually the one who gets the ball in the hole with the fewest strokes. One observation I’ve made about great golfers, however, is that most of them have been coached.

Teaching is often a solitary profession. You may have hundreds of students before you on a daily basis, but you are often the lone adult in the room. But even those of us who often do our work outside the observation of peers or advisors can benefit from coaching. Continue reading

PMP:035 Are You Growing? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

I remember when my daughter began taking clarinet lessons from a private tutor in junior high.
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When I picked her up from her first session, she said, “I have been playing for three years, but I learned today that I wasn’t putting the mouth piece in far enough. That one tip has helped me hit my first high notes ever!”

We all have a lot to learn, and none of us ever reaches a point in our lives, positions, relationships, or responsibilities where we have “arrived.” Sometimes this is frustrating. But it is also a relief. So what are some helpful sources of support and instruction that can help you keep growing in your life or calling in school leadership? Here are a five questions to ask yourself to discover some right in front of you: Continue reading