What do you think of when you think about your personal experiences with your school principals? Did he/she know your name? Did you see them out and about in the school, events and in the community? Was going to the Principal’s office the worst thing that could happen in your school career?
So many leaders today are working so hard to #redefinetherole of what leadership looks like preK-12th grade. Even promising leaders think leading means looking and acting the part they were modeled when they went to school. In today’s schools-leaders need to meet the needs of their staff, students, and families…..and in most cases that can’t be done in the office behind your desk.
- Office Space….redesigned. A summer challenge with the @voxer group from #NAESP16 shared how Principal’s removed their desks in the office and replaced them with learning nooks, flexible seating and created a space that showed learning occurs here with students as well. I took out a huge filing cabinet and replaced it with a book case full of student/staff preferred books and comfortable seating for conversations with staff. The whole atmosphere of the office has moved from ‘formal and frightening’ to ‘comfortable and safe’.
- Whatever it takes….whatever you might have to wear. Yesterday I did my first TV interview with a student created Indian Headdress balancing carefully on my head (FYI 5 year old head circumferences are a ‘little’ smaller than their 40 year old principal’s). I have dyed my hair pink, I have worn outfits my children would be mortified to find out I ever left the house in, and there have been way to many times to count when families catch me in my running clothes out and about in the community. While some of your student’s might think you are a ‘celebrity’ that status comes with a huge responsibility to be visible, present and engaged with all your stakeholders. Every morning I am out greeting families-last year at recess I started a dance party…this year I moved the dance party to morning drop off. Yes at times you can look outside from your classroom window and it looks like I am dancing completely by myself….but what you don’t see are the smiling faces coming off the bus, the parents grooving with their kids down the sidewalk and you certainly can’t feel the positive energy and excitement each person senses as they walk by knowing that they matter.
- Yes….and. This year our district leadership team is working with Brave New Workshop’s Creative Outreach and working through “Mindset of Discovery”. In improvisation a common phrase is “yes…and”. During the year this has made me reflect how to translate that approach into our school culture:
- Yes we can have recess everyday and lets make sure all stakeholders know the importance of physical activity at all ages.
- Yes we should celebrate mini-successes in our PLC journey-in what ways would staff most like to receive this praise?
- Why of course we can have a staff ‘Hungry Hungry Hippo Challenge’ to build relationships with the new team members for the upcoming year.
- Yes it sounds like there are a few low level referrals coming from the playground this month…and how can we best support our staff outside in ensuring students have a safe and enjoyable experience with their peers?
If you need any more reasons to #redefinetherole where you lead please follow the following leaders who I learn with and from everyday.
Keep Dreaming Big for our Littlest Learners,
Leaders #redefinetherole :
For more ideas to start your movement:
- Hacking Leadership
- What Great Principals Do Differently
- Better Leaders Better Schools
- Educators Lead
- Kids Deserve It!