November 2013 archive

Week 15: Setting Goals #SAVMP

Marie Rogai, one of our #SAVMP mentors recently reached out to George and shared something she has done with her mentees’.
She asked them to send her :
  1. their “short-term” goals for the first semester (now until January) and the challenges they foresee in achieving them
  2. their “long-term” goals for the year (also with any challenges)
  3. any current issues they are facing that they would like some “outsider insight” on
Her purpose?  She wants to be sure that she is supporting the leaders she is working with, but not pry.
It can be really hard to achieve your goals if you don’t have people to encourage you, support you, and hold you accountable. Take advantage of the #SAVMP relationships you’ve developed and hold each other accountability with these goal setting ideas. And remember, just writing down a goal isn’t enough. You have to take measured, actionable steps to make it happen!  Be careful with your phrasing…many times goals are too vague, have no deadline (or a completely unrealistic deadline), and are worded in the future tense (“I will”)…which your brain interprets as a message to keep that goal in the future. 
What goals can you personally/professionally set? How can you help your team be successful with their goals?
Thanks, Marie, for the great idea!

Week 14 – What is school for? Staff Activity #SAVMP

This is a powerful Ted Talk by Seth Godin that asks the question, “What is school for?”:

A powerful way to do simple professional development with staff, is to take a Ted Talk like the one above, and open up conversation on our staff. Think about it…how many times do we spend with staff to talk about the purpose of school? If we want things to change, is it not important that we embed time where we can talk to staff about how things are changing and where they are at?

I encourage you to blog about some of the things that you do with your staff to help understand where they are at, and how to move them forward.

Week 13 – Individual Learning and Mass Sharing

In my leadership role, I have started to do “1-on-1” days with staff where they could ask questions on initiatives that they wanted to learn about.  This has been the most effective way to do PD (in my opinion) and I learn a lot from their questions as well.

Although I have done this several times, I decided to try something different and summarize what I did with each teacher in a tweet.  Why did I do this?  Well, I wanted people to know in the school who was working on what, and to also make great learning viral.  People probably would not ask about what others learned in their individual session unless they were exposed to it.  This goes back to what I discussed in the post on the different roads to innovation.  Both 1-on-1 time and mass sharing will get you places quicker if combined.

Below is a Storify that I put together to share what was learned by each staff member,


Here are some questions…

How do you share the work that you do during individual staff PD to ensure that great learning goes viral? I would love to see some other examples of how people are sharing.

Week 12- Involving Parents with a New Vision for Schools #SAVMP

savmpSchools play an important role in determining how involved parents are within our schools. What does your school do to solicit your parents? How much and in what different ways is information communicated through your teachers about the happenings throughout the building?

A New Wave of Evidence, a report from Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (2002) found that regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:

*Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
*Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits
*Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school
*Graduate and go on to postsecondary education (Henderson & Mapp, 2002)

Given that many parents only interpretation of school comes from their own past, it is important as a leader to communicate just how different education is today. The headlines certainly aren’t helping them understand our reality. There are amazing, life changing, DIFFERENT things that are happening within your walls…it’s up to you to make that understanding happen!

No longer is sending home a flyer in a brown envelope enough to solicit and encourage our families to be involved. There’s a variety of tools available that involve technology, social media, student creations all designed to communicate to our families. One of the first comments that is always shared when I talk about this is that “all of our parents don’t have computers”. In 2011, 75.6 percent of homes reported having a computer, with 71.7 percent accessed the internet. Statistics still vary across ethnicity, but the bottom line is that we are still making strides.  By combining the technology resources we have available today and some of our “traditional practices” there’s no family we can’t reach.

We’re going to discuss several of them with two leaders who are on the forefront of connecting and involving parents, Joe Mazza and Tony Sinanis. Keep an eye out for that #SAVMP hangout to happen soon!


This week, I encourage you to blog or comment on the following:

What are you doing to encourage parent involvement?

How are you thinking out of the box to involve ALL of your families?

Have you encountered resistance to breaking away from the traditional strategies that parents may be used too?


Hope you have a GREAT week!