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The Principal Entrepreneur
Supporting Educational Leaders
Category: K-12
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by Jonathan Royce
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August 01, 2018 06:36 AM PDT

As principals we protect our students, and staff, budgets and everything else, but rarely do we protect our time with the same vigilance. As building leader time is always in short supply because we give it away. Being efficient with our tasks creates the opportunity for us to have more time to focus on our goals that move that actually have a chance of moving our schools forward. Summer, when we MAY have more time smiley, is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the best way to protect it and spend it. These 5 ways to save time are strategies we can add to our toolbox.

Skip the nonessentials
What do you absolutely need to do in order to be highly effective and efficient? Those are the priorities that you focus on first. Everything else can either be eliminated or delegated.

Keep focused on your mission
Keeping focused on your mission will help you make decisions about what you bring into your school. This will save time as you only allow programs that support your plan. Often times we get caught up in something that is cool or fun for the kids and it doesn’t support our overall goals. Stay focused on the mission until it is complete.

Implement multiple strategies
When it comes to time management come at it from multiple angels. Use technology to help save time, find others who complement your weaknesses so that important tasks can get done more quickly. Save your bandwidth for things only you can do. Stacking time saving strategies will compound the effects and provide you the hours for which you’ve been looking.

Make time for yourself
Making time for yourself actually increases your productivity. It gives you the mental capacity to do deep thinking. You actually will accomplish less if you try to pack more busy work in. Your brain like a muscle needs to rejuvenate so it can come back refreshed.

Time for a principal is precious. Often times it is wasted putting out other people’s fires. By managing our personal time consistently we can find more time to focus on quality work.

What are ways that you save time? Share your strategies in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection, please follow me and click share so your friends and colleagues can benefit as well.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

#theprincipalentrepreneur #leadership #principal #secondaryprincipals #nassp #massp #maesp #edchat #educhat #edadmin #sharedleadership #howtobeagreatprincipal #jonathanroyce #principallife

July 24, 2018 03:08 PM PDT

Summer time is the season for principals to craft a new version of the student handbook. This is a time honored tradition as eagerly anticipated as the annual trip to the dentist. The student handbook seems to be updated and revised every year as new state laws and new societal situations impact our schools. Like the Iphone a new one is needed each year or it will no longer be compatible with new situations.

Perhaps this year a section will need to be added about transgender students or about procedures in case of a school shooting. Regardless of what is added, as principals it’s something that needs to be done regularly. These five tips will help yours be awesome, or at least as awesome as a student handbook can be. big grin

Write from one student/parent perspective
Imagine and pick one parent as your avatar. This would be your typical parent that you want to inform of your most relevant school policies. By focusing on a single archetypical parent your writing will be more focused. If we try to write for every type of parent we could find ourselves with an overdone, unwieldy piece of writing.

Short and Sweet
By short I mean concise and focused. You still want all your policies in there but cutting and editing it down to the most essential components is necessary. A good idea if you want to expand on certain issues or give scenarios is to provide a link or QR code for more information. With the ever shorter attention spans this is a great way to have a hard copy of the essentials as well as a way to get more information out there as needed.

Research other handbooks
Don’t reinvent the wheel! There are many examples of handbooks that you can check out online. Facebook is also a great source if you’re a part of a principal's group. Every group that I am a part of is very supportive.

Attention to Detail
Being short and sweet does not mean leave that important information out. Make sure things like the school address and phone number are correct. Even your own number. I accidently put my cell phone number in a version and only noticed after the first copy was printed.

I’s and T’s
This falls easily in the realm of attention to detail. Usually we’re doing this thing on our own during the summer. If you can, have someone give it a good once over. Put it aside for a day and come back to with fresh eyes. Review it in reverse. These are great ways to avoid the trap of glazed eyed rereading. Also, double check to make sure what you have aligns with your board policies and can be backed up if you get push back from that one parent.

These 5 simple steps; having a single avatar, keeping it concise, using exemplars, attention to detail and making sure to dot your i’s and cross your t’s can support you in writing an awesome student handbook.

What is your writing process for a student handbook? Share your tips in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection, please follow me and click share so your friends and colleagues can benefit as well.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

#theprincipalentrepreneur #leadership #principal #secondaryprincipals #nassp #massp #maesp #edchat #educhat #edadmin #sharedleadership #howtobeagreatprincipal #jonathanroyce #principallife

July 17, 2018 01:14 PM PDT

5 characteristics of a great school and 5 simple ways to promote them to increase student enrollment

It’s summertime and a lot of us are reading, reflecting, looking for new books to read, reviewing handbooks, trying to come up with themes for the new school year and in general not relaxing at all big grin.

Part of my reflection is thinking about what makes a great school and how to promote that greatness to increase student enrollment. This is also the time when parents from other schools may begin to look for new schools as their children move from one grade to the next. This is a great opportunity for us to begin planting the seeds of change in their minds.

One of the difficult aspects of our public school system, however, is that it’s hard to differentiate one school from the other. As schools of choice, charter schools and perhaps an impending voucher system for every state proliferate, standing out becomes more difficult.

These days districts with money are using radio spots, billboards, and the back of city buses to promote their schools. There are lower cost and far easier ways to get the word out about our schools. Identify your 5 characteristics of greatness and use these three strategies to promote them. Use these easy to implement strategies to stand out in a crowded educational field. Help your school stay top of mind when families begin thinking of the best place for their child.

Distinctiveness
This isn’t easy for a public school because we have to be everything for everybody. This makes it hard to be unique. One of the advantages that private and charter schools have is their ability to define their own niche. A private school can be religion based and focused solely on a particular faith. Charter schools can have a specific theme or cater to specific ethnicities. As a public school finding your focus is essential to increasing school enrollment. This has traditionally been done through an emphasis on things like athletics or band. In today’s technological age, what are ways you can stand out from the crowd? Answering this question will help you be unique.

Remember, regardless of whether you’re a newly established principal or a veteran you are an expert at what you do. You know exactly what the students need to do to be successful and you’re able to deliver it. The families in your community need you and your school’s particular expertise. Once you identify your unique school culture the next step is spreading the word.

So how do you deliver this information? The easiest way to do so is to use social media. Presumably your school already has a Facebook account. If it doesn’t, start one. According to Facebook stats, Facebook has the largest number of users between 25 and 35. That is a prime age for beginning families. Leverage your demographic data and use a social media platform to meet your families where they are. Use pictures and the smiling faces of your staff and students from the previous year to show how welcoming and safe your school is.

While, as public schools we have to accommodate everyone, we can still specialize in certain areas. Using social media will help spread your unique characteristics.

Dependability
Another way to stand out is to be dependable. Depending on the change in leadership, every few years schools lurch from one new directive to the next. This fosters uncertainty and parents aren’t sure from year to year what their child is going to get. Being consistent in your offerings helps parents know what they’re going to see when they come in for their second and third child. With that expected way of doing things the parents and the staff can confidently state what is happening year to year and promote your school. No one likes instability. Being unstable will creates anxiety among your stakeholders and make choosing another option more likely. Be dependable and not only will families stand by you they’ll sell your school for you.

The most dependable assets at a school are also the greatest asset. The staff. Often we forget that they can do more than just teach. They have hundreds of contacts in their own email and social media accounts. Use them to help spread the word of how dependable and stable your school is. Once a month pass something onto them that they can share with those with whom they have influence. It could be as simple as a picture of them working with their students. Add a brief caption about how great the students are and send it to their friends and families asking them to share it with their friends. As the end of the year approaches have the teachers spread the word that they’ll be back and and are excited to see the new crop of kids. If this becomes a consistent practice you'll be surprised how far the word spreads.

Passion
Passion for your work is the secret ingredient and leads to sustained excellence. If you think of the great Principals they demonstrate enthusiasm on a daily basis. This enthusiasm helps principals promote their school because they're the first ones at the door in the morning greeting families, students, and staff as they come in.

An enthusiasm for the work can also lend itself to the creation of content. If you’re excited about the things you do particularly well, spread the word. Your school might have small learning communities or have a great curriculum. Write a blog post or an article highlighting the researched based reasons these unique qualities positively impact your students’ growth.

These families that you greet every day, you have them on an email list. In marketing this is one of the most valuable commodities because it give you direct access to those families. Use that list to share your content. Ask them to forward the email to families who might be interested in seeing the good things your school is doing.

Collaboration.
Collaboration is something that we all know intuitively is something we should do consistently, but sometimes we get so caught up trying to get something done that we forget. Gathering the advice and listening to the point of view of those on our staff is important in building a strong culture and helps lead to successes. Treating your entire staff as integral parts of a whole, creates the opportunity for more wins.

Families might not be able to see that collaboration first hand but they will see the impact of it. Staff will be happier and more involved and this will spill over into how the students are treated.

A great way to share the those successes that come through collaboration is through Twitter. Twitter is a great way to give a distilled version of events. Where on Facebook there’s the opportunity to expand on updates, Twitter forces you to be concise. A great way to connect to parents is through a school twitter account. Keep parents in the loop so they can feel a part of the community as well. I’ve also seen schools tweet out school events like band concerts and athletic contacts. In addition, because you have limited time you can simply grab headlines from your Facebook posts and tweet those out including a link back to your Facebook page

Growth Mindset
Schools with a growth mindset are always learning. They don’t rest on past accomplishments and continually look for ways to improve. Just like people with a growth mindset aren’t afraid of failure, schools with a growth mindset aren’t afraid to try new things and look for ways to innovate. Just like collaboration spills over from staff to students so does the growth mindset. Students with the growth mindset tend to have more grit and are more likely to find long term success. This grit is easily seen in the intense looks and focused concentration students have when working on new tasks.

Sharing these pictures is a great way to let parents know how hard their child is working. Using a school Instagram account to capture these moments and share with families is another way to promote your school’s culture. Instagram is visual based and is most often only comprised of simple pictures with captions like “hard at work”. For busy principals with a visual style it only takes a minute to say a thousand words.

Successful Principals and by extension schools promote themselves with their one of a kind offering, dependability, enthusiasm, collaboration and growth mindset. Using social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, leveraging your staff, and sharing your enthusiasm for education through content creation are quick easy ways to spread the positive word. These simple strategies can help you maintain and increase your student enrollment.

What are other tactics you use to stand out and what are ways that you connect and spread the word to your families? Share your thoughts in the comment section below

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection, please follow me and click share so your friends and colleagues can benefit as well.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

July 11, 2018 05:32 AM PDT

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook you can’t help but to have at least caught a glimpse of kids skateboarding, BMX riding, or doing playground gymnastics and falling painfully onto sensitive body parts.

Well this is the principal’s version. My personal highlight reel of areas in which I need to improve. The school year is often composed of many fires each day which we race around and extinguish. Sometimes we’re moving so fast that embers remain and ignite the very next day so we repeat the same race. Before we know it a Quarter, Semester and then 3/4ths of the year are gone. The goals we put in place for ourselves, no matter how SMART, are not fully reached.

Below are my top fails of the 17-18 school year. These are areas that I will improve on in the 18-19 school year.

Consistently Reach Out to Parents
Connect consistently with community partners
Complete evaluations in a timely manner
Support struggling teachers consistently
Increase student attendance to 80%
Immediately address staff member/s who are out of line
Spend more time with wife/family
Spend more time with close friends
Consistently appreciate my wife’s support
Learn more, more consistently.

As you read these you’ll notice that there is almost an even split between school stuff and school’s impact on my personal time. I’m wondering if I do a better job of managing school related items this will free up time to be with my family.

As I look at my list there are items here that can be delegated and streamlined with my excellent staff and perhaps even my students. I’m thinking 1, 2, and 5.
Consistently Reach Out to Parents
Connect consistently with community partners
Increase student attendance to 80%
This will free me up to do 3 and 4.
Complete evaluations in a timely manner
Support struggling teachers consistently

Number 6, failure to address a staff member who was out of line is a priority. It is something I need to work on because I get really uncomfortable calling people out in the moment. I consistently do it the day after and come at it sideways by asking questions about the incident. I don’t know if this is the best way to handle those types of situations and is something I will continue to think about.

To spend more time with wife and family I should schedule that time just as I schedule time for school meetings and appointments. I can probably do the same thing with close friends. As for consistently appreciating my wife’s support that’s going to take the most work. I do do it, but not as much as she’d like.

Number 10 can also probably be handled like I hope to handle family and friends. I can set aside time for personal growth and independent learning. The more I learn, especially about leadership the better both my role as principal, husband, father and friend will be.

These were my top 10 failures of 17-18. My goal is to eradicate them in 18-19. Just like those kids in the Facebook videos, I’ll dust myself off, put on some ice packs and try again. It’s not the falling that counts, it’s the getting up.

In what areas do you seek to improve? Share your growth areas in the comment section below as well as possible strategies. That way we can continue to learn from each other. I know you’ll have some ideas that I haven’t even thought of.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection, please follow me and click share so your friends and colleagues can benefit as well.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website. If you’re interested in principal swag that speaks to our #principallife you can take a look here.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

#theprincipalentrepreneur #leadership #principal #secondaryprincipals #nassp #massp #maesp #edchat #educhat #edadmin #sharedleadership #howtobeagreatprincipal #jonathanroyce #principallife

July 02, 2018 08:52 AM PDT

7/2/2018 Interview with former teacher, current principal, leadership coach, author: and creator of the Principalnerd, Ms. Katrina Riley

This week’s blog is a summary of my conversation with Ms. Katrina Riley. Ms. Riley has 20 years of experience in education. She’s been a teacher, is a leadership coach, and principal. She’s seen education and how education systems works from a number of different states including Florida, Louisiana and Maryland. She earned her bachelor's in English from Florida State University, her Masters in Ed leadership from Nova Southeastern University and completed the New Leaders for New Schools Principal Residency program in New Orleans.
Not only has she brought her skills and passion to various states she also has worked in public, charter and non profit educational settings at both the school and district level. In other words she has seen education from every angle and brings those insights to her newest passion the Principalnerd. You can get even more in depth by going to her website www.principalnerd.com.
Not only do we talk about how the principalnerd supports educational leaders we delve into her educational journey.
She describes how a poor leader inspired her to the principalship. The importance of mentorship and how her own mentor influenced and guided her development. We also talk about her toughest challenge AND the process she used to overcome it.
In this conversation you’ll learn how each of her experiences lead to the creation of the Principalnerd.

Some of my top takeaways from her educational journey included:
Three lessons she learned
Hire quality teachers to begin with. (which isn’t as easy as you think in an urban school district and she describes how she works through that challenge as well)
Reflect and gut check yourself to make sure you’re making the right decisions.
Find the right pace to make the decision, neither to fast or too slow.

Three things she looks sees in great teachers
great relationship builders
strong forward thinkers
Data driven instruction

Three things she looks for in hiring a new teacher.
demonstrated learners
flexible mindset
excitement and enthusiasm

As her passion for coaching developed so too did the idea of the Principalnerd. She describes her untraditional path to ed leadership and how that created empathy for those, like her, who are looking for training. She also touches on how the needs of newer administrators around her and their frequently asked questions helped guide her development and creation of tools that would support them.
A couple of the tools she mentioned that support new leaders included, 1st and 2nd interview support and once you get the job, support for the first 90 days.
As mentioned before you can find all this information at www.principalnerd.com, and for the most up to date tools you can go to www.principalnerd.com/hey.
Two books that she recommended as we wrapped up our conversation were What Great Leaders do Differently:18 things that matter most by Todd Whitaker and Driven by Data: A practical guide to improve instruction by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo.

Share your thoughts on the interview with Ms. Katrina Riley in the comment section below. If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection, please follow me and click share so your friends and colleagues can benefit as well.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website. If you’re interested in principal swag that speaks to our #principallife you can take a look here.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

#theprincipalentrepreneur #leadership #principal #secondaryprincipals #nassp #massp #maesp #edchat #educhat #edadmin #sharedleadership #howtobeagreatprincipal #jonathanroyce #principallife

June 26, 2018 11:08 AM PDT

This past school year was my second in the role of principal. During this time I have asked for help in creating a schedule, asked for advice on repairing a professional relationship with a colleague, looked for support on planning for the upcoming school year as well as sought council on how to support a staff member and friend who didn’t get a leadership role in my building. As I reflect there is one thing that has been driven home during these first two years as school principal; collaboration is key.

Collaboration has made me easily ten times better than I would be if I was trying to figure things out on my own. At times I have been unable to sleep as problems and solutions chase each other in my mind like a crazed dog chasing its tail. Each time I collaborate with a mentor, a colleague and/or in a Facebook group the decision making processes smooths and ideas that I couldn’t have thought of on my own are revealed. All the successes that have occurred within the school this year are based on collaboration. Below are two simple ways I bookended the school year using collaboration as a tool to 10x my leadership.

Beginning of the Year
Collaboration is a team concept and obviously begins even before the official start of school. It’s something that we all know intuitively but sometimes we get so caught up trying to get something done that we forget. Gathering the advice and listening to the point of view of those on your staff is important in building a strong culture and helps lead to successes. Treating your entire staff as integral parts of a whole, not only highlights your integrity as a leader but also creates the opportunity for more wins. Each of these first two years I’ve brought the staff together early to plan out the first day and the first two weeks. This has brought energy, enthusiasm and accountability as each person understands their role and sees their input implemented

End of year
Not only does collaboration bring accountability it is also useful as a strategic evaluative tool. Collaborating is a great way to eliminate, diffuse, or at least mitigate anxiety over things like the evaluation. Instead of just dropping our evaluative conclusions on staff, like a ton of wordy bricks, we need to work with them and let them self-evaluate using the district tool. In addition have them create an online portfolio where they can upload evidence of their success. Balance that with your walk through and formal observation data. Make sure to leave opinions out and stick to observed evidence.

Once both of you have worked separately to “rate” the year or a specific lesson come together and discuss your findings. I’ve found that this type of collaborative process eliminates a lot of push back and helps give the teacher/staff member a sense of control over the process. Working together will build a partnership where both parties are striving towards the same goal.

Collaboration leverages multiple perspectives and will 10x your leadership. It is also one of the many tools principals and education leaders need when driving a school towards success. What are some other tools that are necessary for a strong building leader. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection, please follow me and click share so your friends and colleagues can benefit as well.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website. If you’re interested in principal swag that speaks to our #principallife you can take a look here.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

June 18, 2018 11:25 AM PDT

Learning never stops. Finding time to do it on consistent basis is one of the challenges we face as principles. That’s why I listen to books. Depending on the platform from which I’ve downloaded the material I can listen up to 3X normal speed. It takes some getting used to but I started gradually at 1.5, then to 2X and 2.5X as my brain adapted to the quickness. When I need to take notes I either pause or rewind until I can jot down the information. Below are the 10 best books I consumed this past school year. Each one influenced how I thought about leadership and education. This list of 10 are a combination of both digital and audio books. I’ve included a short summary from Amazon for convenience.

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
A New York Times bestselling author explores cutting-edge brain science to learn where talent comes from, how it grows-and how we can make ourselves smarter.
Multipliers by Liz Wiseman|with Greg McKeown
A thought-provoking, accessible, and essential exploration of why some leaders (“Diminishers”) drain capability and intelligence from their teams, while others (“Multipliers”) amplify it to produce better results.
Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss
A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations - whether in the boardroom or at home.
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
[John C. Maxwell] has combined insights learned from his thirty-plus years of leadership successes and mistakes with observations from the worlds of business, politics, sports, religion, and military conflict.
Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio, one of the world's most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he's developed, refined, and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business - and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.
Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S Grover
Fore more than two decades, legendary trainer Tim Grover has taken the greats—Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and dozens more—and made them greater. Now, for the first time ever, he reveals what it takes to get those results, showing you how to be relentless and achieve whatever you desire.
The Leading Brain by Hans W. hagemann, Friederike Fabritius
A cutting-edge guide to applying the latest research in brain science to leadership - to sharpen performance, encourage innovation, and enhance job satisfaction.
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable by Seth Godin
There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there's a third team, the linchpins. These people invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They figure out what to do when there's no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Start with Why shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way - and it's the opposite of what everyone else does.
The 12 Week Year: Get More Done In 12 Weeks Than Others Do In 12 Months by Brian P Moran, Michael Lennington
The 12 Week Year creates focus and clarity on what matters most and a sense of urgency to do it now. In the end more of the important stuff gets done and the impact on results is profound.
What are your top leadership books? Share some from your library in the comment section below. If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection, please follow me and click share so your friends and colleagues can benefit as well.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

#theprincipalentrepreneur #leadership #principal #secondaryprincipals #nassp #massp #maesp #edchat #educhat #edadmin #sharedleadership #howtobeagreatprincipal #jonathanroyce #principallife

June 12, 2018 01:16 PM PDT

You’ve probably got at least one staff member cheating on you and it’s probably your fault. It’s that time of year when administrative teams are getting together and looking to shake things up. If we’ve done our job at least one staff member isn’t comfortable and is looking to find a better match.

Sometimes a staff member may be cheating on us with one of our administrative colleagues. For whatever reason we just might not mesh and they find satisfaction and belonging in the building of another. These 5 behaviors are dead giveaways that your staff member is actively searching or already being courted by another.

They never have time to meet
You may have been trying the last three weeks to meet with your staff member and they continue to blow you off. They always have an excuse why they can’t make it down to your office. Or when you stop by their room, they’ve always got a doctor’s appointment. Most staff members that are sticking by you know it’s in their best interest to meet and don’t mind having conversations with you. Those that are on the way out. Don’t care if they’re burning bridges. If you notice this avoidance behavior chances are they’re looking to get out.

Misty Eyes and Far away looks
As teachers begin to contemplate leaving they may begin to display some of this type of behavior. You might catch them looking fondly at a kid they were furious with just a few days or weeks earlier. You might see them shake their heads and smile and say things like “That’s just Blankty Blank.” instead of correcting the behavior. As our staff members decide to leave, behaviors that once got on their nerves no longer do because they know there is an end in sight for them.

Brilliant Students
Another sign of teachers getting ready to leave may be a sudden uptick in classroom grades. Teachers may begin to take less time grading the papers that are being turned in as they prepare for another assignment. Perhaps there is less focus on the correct usage of a comma, capital city or congruence of a triangle. Or another indicator could be a sudden adherence to grades being turned in on time and the grade book updated. These changes in behavior could be signs that your staff has found another prospect.

They avoid making commitments
As the year comes to the end we start planning for the following school year. This is the time we tap staff with leadership potential to take on larger roles. Staff that plans on leaving are non committal about future plans. When you ask them if they’d like to lead they might respond with, “Oh that’s interesting, let me get back to you on that.” Staff who expect to be with you make commitments to the future. If a teacher puts off future commitments, they might not plan on having one with you.
Mopey Colleagues
More than likely your entire staff will know before you do that one of their members has found another. You may hear more expressions of black humor or innuendo as you’re walking through the halls. There may be awkward silence as you walk into a room where three or four teachers are gathered. You may also notice hugs and the giving away of valuables like staplers, rulers or lined paper. Or suddenly, teachers who never got along are now cordial as they realize they won't be seeing each other anymore. If you notice this type of behavior a staff member may be leaving.

As principals we are often the last to know that one of our valued staff members is leaving. It’s not even us, it’s them. The other district just might have more to offer. However, if you see misty eyes, an increase in grades, depressed staff members, have limited face to face time, and or a lack of commitment, be prepared to swipe right and find someone that you really connect with.

What are other ways staff members behave when they’re cheating on you? Share an observation in the comment section below. If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection, please follow me and click share so your friends and colleagues can benefit as well.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

#theprincipalentrepreneur #leadership #principal #secondaryprincipals #nassp #massp #maesp #edchat #educhat #edadmin #sharedleadership #howtobeagreatprincipal #jonathanroyce #principallife

June 05, 2018 06:07 PM PDT

If I had an emoji for how I’m feeling right now at the end of the school year, it’s some combo of the puke face, the head exploding and crying laughing. You wouldn’t think that it’s time already to start planning for the following school year, but it is. That’s how fast the time goes when you’re grinding and living the #principallife.

It’s time to simultaneously think of ourselves and how our school will look next year. The two are inextricably (that’s my big word for the day big grin lol) intertwined.. We need to think of ourselves because our schools are a reflection of our beliefs and vision.

Complete the paperwork.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably already started working on your school improvement plan (SIP) and looking at ways to enhance what you’ve already done this school year. While the SIP is a great place to start and really identify your needs, for me, it also leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to connecting viscerally with what I should be doing for next year. That’s because the SIP is a poor translation of what I feel a school should be. The SIP are the pieces that are put in place that try to encapsulate the feeling. Regardless, the SIP is just one of the things that needs to be completed.

Meet with the Superintendent
This should be an additional meeting outside of your year end review. The scheduled meeting doesn’t need to be longer than about ½ hour. The twist here is this meeting isn’t necessarily about you. Ask the superintendent what her/his goals and visions are for the district and your school in particular. As you listen think of ways your own ideas fall in line with that larger vision. In doing so if you have an “ask” you can frame it in a way that supports the district’s overall direction. This is also the perfect time to ask what she believes it takes for a school like yours to be successful. By eliciting a response to this question you can tailor your goals to fall in line with hers. By doing this you can create a bond where your success is tied to hers.

Goal Setting
Speaking of goals, your School Improvement Plan for the following year has goals written into it. Take those goals and rewrite them in common everyday language that actually means something to you. The following is an example of SIP goal setting language:

“All students will apply various reading strategies to comprehend, analyze, interpret, and evaluate text.”

We aren’t in a classroom teaching the reading strategies so our impact comes from ensuring that teachers are instructing students in the various strategies. A goal for us based off the SIP goal could be something like this:

“I’ll monitor ELA teacher’s lesson plans weekly with a focus on identifying reading strategies being taught.”

This goal is measurable and it impacts the overall SIP goal. A goal written like this is something that you’ll remember.

Student Meetings
This is an important foundational piece for the upcoming school year. Set up a schedule where you can meet with a cross section of students that will return. Talk with them about their experience. Find out from them the things that worked and those that didn’t. Take notes and find the common thread. If you have planning time where your staff is preparing for the following year give students opportunities to give their input. Give them ownership. The more students that buy in the smoother the first few weeks of school will go.

Staff Meeting
Yes, another one. This one is specifically planned to create buy-in for the following year. During my meeting I created the following categories:
What did we do well
What needs a tweak
One thing +/-
One thing +/- was one thing you absolutely thought we should keep or one thing you think we should absolutely get rid of.

Staff took stickies, filled them out and placed them under individual categories of need a tweak and One Thing +/-. . Once they were done we did a gallery walk. It’s purpose was to put a check mark next to just one of the items of each category. Once that part was done I cleared out the sticky notes that had no checks and then grouped the remaining stickies into thematic groups. Those groups are what we will work on as we continue to move into next year.

This particular staff meeting is important because it gives everyone a chance to have a voice. The selection of the most important ideas on the stickies creates an “idea meritocracy” (a term I first heard in Ray Dalio’s book Principles) where the best ideas get the team’s collective attention.

The end is coming and it’s already time to turn our gaze towards the future. These five tips will help us set up for success in 2018-19.

That’s it for now. Share your practices in the comment section below. If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please follow me and click share so your friends and colleagues can benefit as well.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

#theprincipalentrepreneur #leadership #principal #secondaryprincipals #nassp #massp #maesp #edchat #educhat #edadmin #sharedleadership #howtobeagreatprincipal #jonathanroyce #principallife

May 29, 2018 03:56 PM PDT

It’s the end of the year and school right now feels like complete anarchy. There’s so much to do. Not only are we finishing up the year, we’re also starting to think about next year. Last year was my first year alone and I felt utterly overwhelmed. One of my colleagues helped out with an end of the year check out list for staff, so I’m paying it forward and passing it along.

I hope it’s helpful.

_____________ 1. All keys have been returned to the building secretary in a labeled envelope.

_____________ 2. All retention lists and appropriate documentation/letters have been submitted to the building secretary.

____________ 3. All classrooms under your direction have been put in good order. Storage rooms have been cleaned, teachers’ desk drawers cleaned, bookshelves arranged neatly.

___________ 4. All bulletin board material has been removed from walls (bulletin board paper)

___________ 5. All reading and math books and materials have been counted, labeled and neatly arranged in your classroom.

_____________ 6. All supplementary materials (Title I materials) have been labeled and returned to Title I teachers.

____________ 7. Final report cards have been completed and sent with students on designated date.

____________ 8.. Mailboxes have been cleaned out – They are EMPTY!!!

____________ 9. All library books, media materials and borrowed articles returned and properly shelved.

____________ 10. Schedule a time for a walk through your classroom with the building administrator.

There were a few more on the list but these were my top 10.

As I was finishing out the year I vaguely remembered having a check out list in my role as AP, but I didn’t have the mental capacity at the time to think of all the things that needed to be done. If you’re new I hope this gives you a good place to start!

That’s it for now. Share some of the items on your end of year check out list in the comment section below. If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please follow me and click share so your friends and colleagues can benefit as well.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

#theprincipalentrepreneur #leadership #principal #secondaryprincipals #nassp #massp #maesp #edchat #educhat #edadmin #sharedleadership #howtobeagreatprincipal #jonathanroyce #principallife

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