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As the 9th largest school district in the state of Ohio, the Hilliard City School District serves more than 15,500 students in grades K-12, through three high schools, three middle schools, two sixth-grade schools and 14 elementary schools.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 25, 2013

5 Characteristics of an Effective 21st Century Educator

My selection this week is yet another take on the characteristics that effective educators in the 21st century need to possess if they're going to be most effective and stay current with the ever-changing landscape that defines the classroom and students of 2013 and beyond.

Here's what eSchool News Readers identified as the top five characteristics:
  1. 1.  Anticipate the future.
  2. 2.  Be a lifelong learner.
  3. 3.  Foster peer relationships.
  4. 4.  Teach and assess all levels of learners.
  5. 5.  Discern effective vs.non-effective technology.
"One of the most common responses from readers was that 21st-century educators must be lifelong learners … and should be willing to learn not only from their peers, but from their students as well."

The Essence of Leadership in Five Letters

Dan Rockwell, a.k.a. the Leadership Freak, discusses and publishes a particular aspect or approach to leadership on a daily basis.  In this recent blog post Dan highlights the works of Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller, two highly regarded leaders in their fields, and their "secret" to leadership.  This "secret" can be summed up with one 5 letter word, SERVE.  As I read the meaning behind each of these letters, I couldn't help but find similarities to the spirit of their meanings and how they relate to hear of our core values in the Hilliard City Schools.  These 5 characteristics are as follows:
  • S = See the future
  • E = Engage and develop others
  • R = Reinvent continuously
  • V = Value results and relationships
  • E = Embody values

The New Ed-Tech Leader Models by Digital Example

"Modeling is crucial. If you want your kids and teachers to be users of 21st-century tools, … you have to show that you can do it too," he says. "It shows that I'm still a teacher—I can still instruct and still learn."  This quote embodies the essence of my selection this week.  The impact technology makes the day to day instruction and operations of our schools today is enormous.  As educational leaders, it is essential that we take the risks to utilize these new technologies to enhance student achievement, and, as the quote above illustrates, we must effectively model how our teachers and students should be utilizing the tools at their disposal.

The New Ed-Tech Leader Models by Digital Example

Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do

Larry Ferlazzo focuses on the fact that working alongside students, knowing their interests and goals, and developing trusting relationships that help students to connect their learning to their goals are paramount to working successfully with challenging students. In fact, he says there are eight things that truly skilled teachers think, say, and do (hence, the title of the article):
  1. 1.  Remember that authoritative beats authoritarian. Authoritative wins (and this is a great one for professional self-reflection).
  2. 2.  Believe that everyone can grow. Think Carol Dweck and mindset.
  3. 3.  Understand that power isn’t a finite pie. Shared leadership isn’t a sign of weakness.
  4. 4.  Give positive messages. Ferlazzo targets three practices – the use of positive framing (if
    you do this, these good things will happen), saying yes (emphasizing what you DO want people to do), and saying “please” and “thank you.” It’s our opportunity to help students feel valued.
  5. 5.  Apologize. W e’ re human. W e must seize every opportunity to “humanize” our profession.
  6. 6.  Be flexible. Ferlazza suggests that this may be the most important thing we can do to help those who challenge us. He points out three ways that flexibility aids teachers in differentiating instruction and managing the classroom.
  7. 7.  Set the right climate. Extrinsic rewards don’t produce true motivation.
  8. 8.  Teach life lessons. Consider “front-loading” the year with lessons focused on life skills, and
    refer back to them throughout the year in order to create a growth mindset.
This article serves as a wonderful reminder that fostering relationships can help to fuel student motivation. 

Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do

Those People

This is a dead ringer for a powerful read to share with your staff(s). If you haven't noticed by now I am a fan of Seth Godin and his thoughts on many topics, this one in particular.  How often have you heard one of your staff members or even yourself at times use the phrase "Those students".  You know the students we are referring to.  The same students that "all the other" students thought were going to be using the ILC as their new location.  The students that are predestined for mediocrity. Their family expects it, their teachers expect it, so they expect it.  Seth G. asks a simple question "What if we expect more?".  What if as a district we viewed 'those students" with the same expectations of succeeding at their highest level, just like Johnny straight A's ? What if we were a district of inspiring staff members that rallied around the common theme of every student can, and will succeed.  Success can be defined individually, nonetheless it's the goal.  I know all of you feel this way already, just thought you would like to see it in print from a guy that can write, Seth Godin. Have a great week.

Those People

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 11, 2013

What Makes You Itch?  What would You Do if Money were No Object?

My selection this week is a short video that is sure to make you think!  As I watched it, I couldn’t help but think of how much it reinforces the importance of the “experience” we create for students every day.  The video’s messages illustrates the power in having choice, sparking an interest, and finding a passion.  It’s also a great reminder for us of just how important those college & career readiness skills and real life, authentic experiences are to all of our students!  Most importantly, it drives the question: How are we preparing students for their futures?

7 Essential Principles of Innovative Learning

As we are well underway with HS course registration, and soon to begin both MS and 6th Grade course registration, it's amazing to see the types of new opportunities and experiences our students have been afforded.  My selection this week hits at the very core to the importance of how we create these experiences in our classrooms.  I think you'll find some major connections to these 7 Essential Principles and our 7 Characteristics of Highly Effective Leaders; Teachers; and Students.  Enjoy and have a great week!

Why Leadership Requires Prudence and Temperance

In this week's article, "Why Leadership Requires Prudence and Temperance", we are reminded of the 7 Characteristics of Highly Effective Leaders. In HCSD, we know that effective administrators "challenge the status quo to address academic needs and establish clear goals". This characteristic requires courage on a daily basis!  Blogger Deborah Mills-Scofield recognizes the importance of leadership courage in order to "disrupt the status quo" and make the greatest impact.  However, she presents two additional virtues that leaders must practice:  prudence and temperance.
Leadership is a complex role that requires more than perfecting one isolated virtue. The author knows that great leadership is "...the ability to deal with overlaps, to integrate, to identify synergies and interdependencies and support our people in maximizing those opportunities to create profit (output) and purpose (outcome)." 

Why Leadership Requires Prudence and Temperance

Why Educators Should Spend 15 Minutes a Day on Social Media

Roscorla’s article, “Why Educators Should Spend 15 Minutes a Day on Social Media,” reminds us of the importance of staying connected for the benefit of our continued professional growth.  Professional Learning Communities allow us to go beyond sharing ideas with colleagues who have similar interests.  Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, just to name a few, help us to reach out to the online community to gain access to a world of rich, diverse perspectives.  

How do we find the time?  Roscorla shares a few ideas she’s come across through other educators.  Maybe we could spend a few minutes each morning on Twitter, “favoriting” thinks we might find valuable and then spending a bit more time with them when we have extended periods of time available.  More important than finding the time, though, is sharing the discoveries we make with our colleagues who need it most.  “None of us is as strong as all of us.”

Solving the Problems of Dumb Leaders

Where does it say leaders can't be wrong?  Likewise, where does it say that leaders shouldn't admit when they are wrong? I know the reaction is that it comes across as a sign of weakness right? Leaders always tell their followers, it's ok to fail because you're going to learn from it.  The only problem with that statement is we remove the human decision and "assume" they will learn from it.  In order to learn from a mistake, you must first accept the fact that you made a mistake.  Can a leader admit to making mistake, learn from it, and still continue to lead?  I believe yes, but what do my beliefs matter for your leadership style? The important question is do you believe it? 

Do you believe leadership comes from a title? 

Are leaders expected to be perfect? 

Are you willing to be a learning leader?  See the article for a description of what a Learning Leader truly is. Have a great week.