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The Principal Entrepreneur
Supporting Educational Leaders
Category: K-12
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by Jonathan Royce
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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

May 22, 2018 04:02 PM PDT

Welcome to episode 107 of the Principal Entrepreneur where we support educational leaders with strategies and suggestions that answer the question. How do I become a great principal.

I also interview Principals and school and educational leaders just like me and you and discuss their areas of expertise and how they overcome the challenges within schools.

In today’s episode we’re discussing 5 Definitive Facts of the Principalship

The idea for this particular blog came to me as I was reflecting, going over old blogs, and reading Facebook posts. I noticed some themes that kept on repeating themselves. I’ll cover just a handful of them in this episode of the podcast. As principals, at some point, we will experience these five events. Sometimes we’ll experience them all in the same day!

Before we dive in, Special thanks to Sue Kster, Mitch Pascal, Michael Angelo and Catherine Bartlett for sharing their poignant and hilarious anecdotes. All of these contributers are from Stephanie McConnell’s Facebook group Principal Principles. If you haven’t joined that group yet. Please do. It’s awesome.

I hope you enjoy this combination of new thoughts, older reflections, and our colleagues stories.
You will F*<% up
I let the team down. Not intentionally, but all the same I disappointed them. There are some things that are traditional rites of passage in education that are important to the masses but really don’t matter much to me. Prom is one of those things. Because of this I let it slip from my calendar and scheduled another activity on the same day. I wouldn’t have known that I let people down if I didn’t have a colleague who called me out. He sent me a text letting me know I should have been there. I sent the following text back. “I agree. Appreciate the accountability. I apologize to you. It won’t happen again.” There was no reply back so I called back and let him know I wasn’t being sarcastic and that I was serious. It’s alright to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Not only that, there are at least two wins you can take away from a losing situation and make it a learning one.

You first have to acknowledge that you messed up. Reflect on what may have caused the problem in the first place and own it. At your next staff meeting admit that you’ve noticed some changes and let your staff talk. Listen to their concerns. You might find out that something that you thought was innocuous was actually a major problem that went against an unwritten norm that you didn’t know about. In that case take responsibility and let them know that their hurt feelings was not the intent of the decision that you made.

Learn from your mistakes and only make them once. This is simple advice that’s not easy to follow. In the case of scheduling another event the same night as prom, that mistake is easy to correct. However, most of us make mistakes because of the habits we have. We make decisions based on the well worn neural pathways that we’ve built and that have helped us in the past. Those same perceptions may be causing us issues in a new situation. Learn new skills and new ways of working with people and through situations. In some cases it may help to have a mentor with a bird’s eye view. She could help you uncover your blind spots. In this case I was lucky enough to have somebody care enough about me to call me out.

Your staff won't always appreciate you
This short anecdote is from Sue Kster and it perfectly encapsulates the hard work we do, the emotional toll it takes and how some staff just don’t “get it”.

“I know it’s May and May can be rough, but last night, after having the toughest day ever, I wrote my letter to retire. Not sure when I will use it, but it’s there. I really believe with my whole heart that I work very hard to support kids and teachers. However, it seems it is not enough to some. I know you should let it go, but it is very hard. I have one teacher who does very little, but expects a whole lot from others with never a show of appreciation. I need to do my post conference with her next week. How do you handle telling a teacher that her demands from others should actually come from herself?

Sometimes members of our staff are not self aware enough. Those are the times we have to have those tough conversations. The staff member might not always appreciate it, but the rest of your team will. They’ll see you’re not afraid to hold people accountable. This gives them a sense of safety, knowing that you’ll follow through.
Parents will cuss you out and/or complain on social media
One of our colleagues Mitch Pascal recently had the following experience which he posted in the Principal Principle’s fb group: “We talk here about dealing with angry parents, always focus on listening, their perspective etc. I have a kid who lies to his parents and they believe everything as is. Kid got in a fist fight today after teasing another, called father who started yelling at me on the phone, wouldn't let me get a word in, saying his son is abused here everyday. I think the point comes when trying to be calm and listen doesn't work for me. Parents and kid take no accountability for actions. I can't sit and take it from them when they're flat out wrong and verbally abusive.”

What do we do? One of the unwritten rules of education is that the parent is always right. No principal wants to hear from board members that they didn’t treat a parent well. However, always supporting parents will ruin our ability to lead effectively.

Did they really just ask me that?!!
If a parent believes that they are always right, regardless of rudeness, they can and often will ask for just about anything. They will demand that Sally be moved from one room to the next or that a teacher change a grade or extend a deadline. It also means that these oppressive parents are getting better treatment and more attention than their easy going polite counterparts. That just isn’t right. Unfortunately these parents aren’t shy about complaining on social media. When that happens it’s time for us to diffuse the situation, even when we know they’re being unreasonable.

OMG did they just post that?!!
Parents will talk crap about the school and the teachers. Those are often easier to deal with because it’s not necessarily a direct assault on us. There will be occasion, however, when parents will insult us and call into question the decisions we’ve made. Maybe we’ve cancelled a school dance or end of the year ceremony where all kids are affected because of the choices of a small group. In the heat of the moment when you first see the post you might feel an almost irresistible urge to defend yourself. . . . wait. If you do make the choice to address the issue, it’s a good idea to wait until the next day and then respond directly, over the phone, to that person.

Diffuse the situation as best you can and if it’s a personal attack wait until the following day to address the situation and have a trusted colleague review your message. These two strategies can help you make it through a school year relatively unscathed by social media.
You will be sleep deprived
A couple funny anecdotes from FB to prove the point.
Michael Angelo “Tired is talking on your phone and driving 40 minutes home, pat your pockets and realize that you do not know where your phone is so you get back in your truck to drive back to the office and half way back you discover that you are on the phone that you are looking for. So pissed I say I’ll call you back mom so she won’t hear me swear loudly.”

Catherine Bartlett “Tired is ... I actually asked my secretary after school if I had been at work in the morning! (In my defense, I was there, left for a meeting, came back... any principal would get confused about that in May!)”

Both these hilariously true moments put an exclamation point on how tiring this job is. You will always be running, so take time to rejuvenate and follow these tips to survive!

Healthy Snacks. . . when you can!
Have healthy snacks available. As your body wears done it will crave the deliciousness of fat, sugar and salt. Somehow I always find myself doing walkthroughs in the room with the candy jar. Avoid that trap! Make it easier to get the healthier stuff. You can get a good sweet with strawberries and bananas and a good crunch with carrots. While nut as fun as chips and cookies you’ll feel better eating healthier as you give your body what it actually needs.

Principal Eating
I’m no trainer or health nutritionist but I know that after a day of eating to excess my brain and taste buds have had enough. It’s much easier to eat healthy after a day of chocolate and salty snacks. It’s much easier to eat right and be disciplined an entire week of school if I eat what I want on the weekends.

Being the principal of a school is a mental and physical marathon. I don’t know if it’s completely possible to avoid a principal hangover, but it is probable that you can limit it (except maybe in May). Stay hydrated throughout the week, keep healthy snacks easily available and don’t beat yourself up if you have one day where you just eat whatever. (or gasp! take a day off!!)
Students will make your day
The students are easily the brightest spot of this job. In some capacity they are always inspiring. For those who don’t know, I serve at an Alternative High School. My students deal with a tremendous amount of hardship, heartache, family, peer and even community drama. They are children of trauma. Despite this they continue to come to school (mostly and often late smiley ) to put their best foot forward. It amazes me when I see them overcome their personal situations as they work to get an education.

The students are where I find joy. Just last week the counselor was counting how many were going to graduate. Twenty six out of fifty one will walk across the stage. I know that seems like a low number, but it’s an increase of 8 from last year! Small wins matter and we must make sure to celebrate them.

There are at least 5 definitive facts of the principalship, you’ll F*<% up, staff will take you for granted, you’ll get cussed out, you wont get enough sleep and the students will be your joy!

What are other facts that new principals coming into the game should prepare for? Share your truths in the comment section below.

Total aside: I think this post might be the foundation of an upcoming book with a similar title, maybe jump up to 15 facts. . . (if you’re an author and you noticed that the formatting changes, that’s why.) If so, I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to you for your anecdotes!

That’s it for now. If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please follow me and share with your friends.

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.

May 15, 2018 04:13 PM PDT

What to do when what you do is never ever enough

As principals we know that giving of ourselves is the first order of business, especially as it pertains to leading by example. We do our best to re energize our staff by giving the gift of time and eliminating staff meetings, or showing our appreciation in a dozen of small ways from posted notes to candy bars. Ironically during teacher appreciation week when we make a concerted effort to show we care, perhaps bringing in their favorite lunch, we don’t even get a thank you.

Regardless, as leaders we recognize that by serving our staff they in turn will hopefully better serve the students. Under ideal circumstances this would be the case. Unfortunately, sometimes the adults in the building are an even greater problem for us then the kids. They’ll be the first ones to demand we hold students to account, but turn around and not do something as simple as taking attendance . . . every hour. And then they’ll get upset with us for calling them out on it. These 3 indicators are clues what we do for our staff will never ever be enough, and we need to to recharge.

“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” Confucius
Most times this job brings us joy. Exhaustive joy, but joy. If you’re alone hiding in the bathroom and you find yourself smiling less, that could be a simple indicator that you’re giving more than your fair share. We know that our energy fuels a building so we dig deep even when we’re exhausted so we can fill our staff up with positive energy. This often works, but when we’re alone our body reminds us that we’re not feeling it. Pay attention to your own physicality and find your peace. If you’re not smiling when you're alone your staff could be “doin’ too much”. That doesn’t mean we’ll stop doin’ but it does mean we need to find a way to re energize!

“The only thing she felt was numb. And Tired” Nenia Campbell
You would think this wouldn’t be the case during teacher appreciation week but it’s sad to say, sometimes our staff can be emotional leeches. It’s our job to deal with their issues, the students issues and the parents issues as well. Being the head of a school is like being in a relationship. Sometimes it’s emotionally exhausting. Ideally, there are aspects of the job that can reflect positive energy back into you. For me, it’s often the students. Seeing them learn something in a class when I walk by or when they give you an unexpected, “what’s up!?” can be the brightest part of a tough day. A lot of elementary principals I know go into the young fives to get their energy boost. If you’re constantly emotionally exhausted it could be an indicator that your staff is taking advantage of you and you need to scale back a bit.

“A truly special teacher is very wise, and sees tomorrow in every child’s eyes.” Author Unknown
You’ve spent the year doing your best, setting up and getting ready for each and every day. You’ve decorated the staff lounge, made baskets and prepared holiday treats. You’ve shown your appreciation in any number of small ways, from gift cards to personally subbing in a classroom. You get the perfunctory, obligatory thank you but it seems as if they’ve taken your Herculean and Jobe like efforts for granted. Maybe someone even complained because you didn’t have vegetarian pizza or the students were hyped up when you left the room from subbing. As servant leaders we don’t necessarily do what we do for recognition but a heartfelt thank you goes a long way. When you have one of these days find a community of peers with whom to share your burden. We get it!

Being a principal can literally impact thousands of lives. What we do matters. Unfortunately, sometimes we get beat down by the adults we’re working with. If you find yourself without a smile, emotionally exhausted and feeling unappreciated remember what you do is more than enough! Take a breath, scale back and share your story with your peers. We know what a grind the principal life is.

What’s your story? Share your feelings in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please follow me and share with your friends.

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 08, 2018 03:30 PM PDT

In today’s episode we’re discussing Why Culture and Inclusivity Really Matter as Students look to the summer

ABC news reported a couple day of days ago, on May 5th, that “ President Trump railed against the nation’s immigration laws and suggested Saturday that a government shutdown may be necessary to secure his long-promised border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.”

As Principals what are we supposed to do when we hear that type of rhetoric, especially those of us who work in diverse settings? We are trained to be inclusive. In order to be great leaders we must believe that every child deserves a chance to be treated equitably regardless of background. When the president puts policies in place to be exclusionary either by erecting a wall or discriminating through immigration policies how are the children of these excluded groups going feel knowing they’ll soon no longer have the safety of our schools? How do you ensure that every child feels safe when they know they’ll be leaving in just a few short months? These three reminders will help your children feel secure in your school while they prepare for the world outside.

Safe Space
This is the technique with which most of us started the school year. At the beginning of the school year we had the power to disperse money for posters, books, speakers and classroom materials that highlight our community's’ diversity. During the year we have used these funds, and with the help of our staff decorated our buildings with images from around the globe. Now at the end of the year as we plan closing ceremonies we can ask students, families, and community members who their cultural heroes are and find ways to display them during that time. This helps reaffirm our commitment to the larger community and creates a positive vibe for the following year.

Personal Vulnerability
Just like the interactive software program Rosetta Stone, we want to be interactive with our students who come from different linguistic backgrounds. Something as simple as “good morning” in a student's’ home language will bring a smile to their face and help them feel safe. This small gesture is especially powerful as we make mistakes in pronunciation and cadence. This vulnerability gives them a chance to be leaders and show their strength as they help us improve. As our staff and students see us model this behavior they will follow our lead. This act of personal kindness and cultural sensitivity will help break down superficial barriers that often separate us.

Techno Teacher
This is a simple tip that must be used judiciously. Apps and technology like Google Translator don’t always address context. When we send newsletters and other communication out to families about upcoming summer programs, using Google Translator is an easy way get information to all our families. If we’re lucky enough to have someone in our district for each language that is spoken, having them review the newsletter is always a good idea. I’ve found that even if there are mistakes the families appreciate us reaching out to them and making that attempt. It shows that we respect them and their culture.

Creating community is the job of the Principal. Using these tips to help keep our schools together, as the anxiety of a summer without us begins to set in, is a way to combat the fear that some of our students feel as national policies change.

What are some ways you help your students and families feel welcome throughout the year, especially here at the end? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please follow me and share with your friends.

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. (Full disclosure this can sometimes be sporadic as time is an issue laughing

If you’re an auditory learner you can download episodes of the podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes are 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.

That is it for this epidsode of the principal entrepreneur

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

August 24, 2017 02:29 PM PDT

The Principal Entrepreneur: 3 Habits to combat the principal’s first few weeks hangover

The first week has simultaneously felt like forever and gone by in a flash. Your body feels like it has been hit by a Mack Truck. You’ve got a to do list the length of a census scroll and all the vitamins in the world haven’t done the job to keep you energized. You’re a principal and only others in the role understand the phrase “principal tired”. The combination of mental gymnastics and physical movement in the first week is second to none. These 3 habits are a good reminder of what can help combat that first week principal’s hangover.

Hydration
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, so I’ll just reiterate it. Hydrate. Hydrate before you eat and drink more as you make your way down the hall for the one thousandth time. Keeping hydrated helps your mental function, keeps those headaches at bay and has numerous other health benefits. It’s also one of the easiest things to forget as we’re running throughout the week. For a more in depth look at how water impacts your health, check out this easy reading from Fitday.

Snack
Have healthy snacks available. As your body wears done it will crave the deliciousness of fat, sugar and salt. Somehow I always find myself doing walkthroughs in the room with the candy jar. Avoid that trap! Make it easier to get the healthier stuff. You can get a good sweet with strawberries and bananas and a good crunch with carrots. While nut as fun as chips and cookies you’ll feel better eating healthier as you give your body what it actually needs.

Balance is key
This is my favorite. Take your one day and splurge! Eat all the mac and cheese, greens, ham or turkey you body can hold, and then eat some more. Pile up your plate with pie and tasty treats. I’m no trainer or health nutritionist but I know that after a day of eating to excess my brain and tastebuds have had enough. It’s much easier to eat healthier after a day like that than to try and be disciplined an entire first week of school.

The first week of school is a mental and physical marathon. I don’t know if it’s completly possible to avoid that first week principal hangover, but it is probable that you can limit it. Stay hydrated throughout the week, keep healthy snacks easily available and don’t beat yourself up if you have one day where you just eat whatever. Sometimes eating your favorite tasty treat is better for your mental health.

What strategies do you use to keep your sanity and your energy up that first week of school?
Leave your helpful suggestions in the comment section below.
If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please follow me and share with your friends.

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, new episodes 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.

August 22, 2017 01:27 PM PDT

3 things veteran principals know when dealing with a parent’s online rant.

One of the unwritten rules of education is that the parent is always right. No principal wants to hear from board members that they didn’t treat a parent well. However, always supporting parents will ruin your ability to lead effectively. Veteran principals know that when dealing with parents who are going on a social media rant there are at least three things they have to remember.

Communicate and Diffuse
If a parent believes that they are always right, regardless of rudeness, they can and often will ask for just about anything. They will demand that Sally be moved from one room to the next or that a teacher change a grade or extend a deadline. It also means that these oppressive parents are getting better treatment and more attention than their easy going polite counterparts. That just isn’t right. Unfortunately these parents aren’t shy about complaining on social media. When that happens it’s time for us to diffuse the situation, even when we know they’re being unreasonable.

A good first step is to bite the bullet and make the call to the parent. Let them know another concerned parent forwarded the message to you so you would be able to address it. Once you’ve heard them, ask if they’d mind taking down the post.

Supporting Staff is Key
In conflicts between aggressive parents and teachers it’s okay to consistently side with your teachers. They have to put up with and be great in the face of parents’ complaints, societal judgements and unrealistic expectations on a daily basis. Treating staff like quality members of the team provides them with the value that they’ve earned and deserve. It shows you have their back. If you don’t support them in the face of an overwhelming parent, smaller things will cause huge resentment and inhibit your ability to lead. Of course there are ineffective teachers who don’t communicate well or appropriately with parents, but in a conflict, that is not the time to coach those behaviors. In fact this could actually leads to worse parent teacher communication.

In the event that a conflict like this get recounted online in an unfavorable manner sometimes a good choice is to just ignore it. Veteran principals often have a good sense when this would be the wiser course of action. If you’re new, run the scenario by a colleague and get their perspective.

Every Night has its Dawn
Parents will talk crap about the school and the teachers. Those are often easier to deal with because it’s not necessarily a direct assault on us. There will be occasion, however, when parents will insult us and call into question the decisions we’ve made. Maybe we’ve cancelled a school dance or end of the year ceremony where all kids are affected because of the choices of a small group. If you make the choice that you need to further explain your choice and the reasons for it a good idea is to wait until the next morning.

If you’re like me by the end of the day you’re often physically and emotionally drained. This is not the best time to send out an email responding to a parent’s attack. The tone in an email response cannot be easily interpreted and is often read with the recipient's emotional lens. Wait until the following morning and write your response. Again if you have a trusted staff member have them preview it before you send it out.

Veteran principals know of at least three strategies to use when dealing with parents that are online, ranting about school. They know they must communicate and diffuse the situation as best they can, support the staff member who may be caught up in an awkward situation and possibly just ignore the online chatter and finally, if it’s a personal attack wait until the following day to address the situation and have a trusted colleague review your message. These three strategies can help make it through a school year relatively unscathed by social media vitriol. their staff first knowing that this builds a culture of caring that spills over into students and their families.

What are your strategies for dealing with a parent’s online mayhem? Share your strategies in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please follow me and share with your friends.

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, new episodes 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.

August 19, 2017 09:37 AM PDT

In this episode we’re talking with Mrs. Donita Townsel. We discover the events that triggered her desire to teach, dig into the advice she has for principals and learn the lessons that sparked the inspiration for her book.

Mrs. Townsel has been an educator for 31 years. She spent about ½ that time as a middle and high school level science teacher and the other has as a lead counselor. In that role she worked hand and hand with the principal positively impacting school culture and academic achievement. Along with Dr. Selina Thedford she is the co-author of " The Ultimate Survival Toolkit for High School Students and their Parents" a step by step guide to navigate the college and career application process. We’ll get into some of the great advice and strategies in her book, but before we do so we get into her educational journey.

Summary Educational Journey
After graduated from Atlanta public schools. Donita attended Telladega College in Alabama with the intention of going into medical school. Realizing she’d done a little too much partying to pass the Med Cat she decided instead to join a lab. While living in Miami and looking for jobs in that field she discovered that there was a teacher shortage in the Sciences. Taking a look at her own skills she realized that there wasn’t enough interaction with people working in a lab. So, she decided to give teaching a shot on a provisional teaching certificate.

Tweetable quotes
I was determined to become a great teacher despite the mentoring I got.
I wouldn’t have survived if I didn’t have the thirst to become a great teacher.
Something in my personality made students confide in me.
Our (counselors) time is precious just like the principal’s
Counselors are the heart of the building.
Involve others and empower them in the organization.

Words of wisdom
Go to other content area teachers and shadow them to see what they’re doing and what you can bring back to your own classroom.

The mindset [of students] can impact whether or not the student is retained or drops out of college.

You create buy-in when you include counselors in the leadership team.

Jesus had a team he couldn’t do it all himself. He had the disciples.

Educational Challenge
Getting principals to see and understand the role of the counselor
Principals often give disciplinary duties to counselors which blur the lines and makes it difficult for students to trust them.

Solution
When it comes to discipline, find someone else to fulfill that role. Perhaps have someone switch duties.
Create systems that can smooth out work loads.

About Her Book
The inspiration for book " The Ultimate Survival Toolkit for High School Students and their Parents" a step by step guide to navigate the college and career application process, came from the many parent nights where the same questions were asked repeatedly. She and her coauthor Dr. Selina Thedford realized there was a pain point and they could address it. They are currently building a curriculum around the lessons they learned and plan to have that out as well in the near future.

Ideal audience includes juniors and seniors and their families as well as other counselors and schools looking for a handy guide for their students.

Most impactful sections of the book: Mindset and Communication sections

Advice for Principals
Counselors and Principals need to be a team.
Find space for counselors to create a curriculum of college and career readiness and socio emotional content.
Include counselors in the leadership team.

Book Recommendations
Jesus CEO by Laurie Beth Jones
21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership by John Maxwell

Contact Information
www.ultimatetoolkit.net.
Email: bntwhitlock@gmail.com

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please follow me and share with your friends.

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, new episodes 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.

August 17, 2017 09:05 AM PDT

08/16/2017 The Principal Entrepreneur: 3 Tips For Leading With Integrity When The President Doesn’t

In a time when civil liberties and raw racial fault lines are the current topics of conversation and not black and white historical images on Youtube leaders must speak. There is a struggle to reconcile the leader of our United States words, with the reality some of us live on a consistent basis.

With the recent racist and violent acts in Charlottesville and President Trump saying,
"I think there is blame on both sides," and that within the group of those with Swastikas and yelling out anti-Semitic slogans there were some "bad people .... but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides." As principals we are left to parse words and determine how to lead our schools with vulnerability and integrity when the person in the highest public office of our land does not. The following are three ways to demonstrate leadership when the president does not.

Action are more important then Words
Do the little things. You’ve heard it before, but this is one of the best ways to show integrity and self discipline Doing the jobs that you expect others to do is an example of integrity. Show them that you aren’t afraid to get in the trenches with them. If you’re school holds ISS (in school suspension, take a turn sitting in their with the students. Join your staff in performing the jobs you know they dread. Leading by example, demonstrating through your actions that you mean what you say is a great way to show your integrity.

We is greater than Me
This is a team concept and those with high integrity demonstrate this value. Gathering the advice and listening to the point of view of those on your staff is important in building a strong culture. Hiring those who can support you and compensate for your weakness is key. Being able to ask for help and not pretending to have all the answers is an offshoot of this concept. Not only must you create a team you actually have to listen to them. Treating your entire staff as integral parts of a whole following their insights when necessary highlights your vulnerability and integrity as a leader.

Be comfortable with discomfort
This is often about honesty. Telling the truth tactfully lets your staff know where you stand. They don’t have to worry that you’re hiding something from them. Often making the decision to confront someone is more difficult than having the actual conversation. You must embrace the discomfort. When a teacher is disrespectful to the student and then the student responds in kind. Intervening in a respectful way is the right thing to do. Asking your staff what they could have done better isn’t easy. It’s your job to do it anyway. Integrity means having the courage to be uncomfortable.

In an age of hyperbole, increasing racial tensions, and alternate facts and hard line stances demonstrating vulnerability and integrity is one of the most important characteristics of a principal. Leading by example through your actions, showing that the team is greater than the individual and embracing discomfort are all components of integrity.

What are other ways you can demonstrate these characteristic. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you’ve gotten this far and found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection and you’d like to help me out please share with your friends!

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, new episodes 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.

August 15, 2017 08:43 AM PDT

Hi there everybody welcome to the Principal Entrepreneur I’m Your Host and author of the book How to be a great principal Jonathan Royce.

Welcome to the 100th episode of the Principal Entrepreneur where we support educational leaders with strategies and suggestions that answer the question. How do I become a great principal.

I also interview Principals and school and educational leaders just like me and you and discuss their areas of expertise and how they overcome the challenges within schools.

Before we get into today's episode I’d just like to thank you listeners from all over the world joining me on the podcast. For those who don’t get the stats, we have listeners from not only the US but also Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Canada, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of the congo, Brazil, India, Australia, Egypt, Mexico, Cameroon, South Africa, Nigeria, Philippines and Bosnia. If you’d like to join me on the show from any of these countries and talk about your educational experience we’d all love to hear about what education is like for you. Just email me at jonathanroyce@theprincipalentrepreneur.com. Once again thank you for listening and please share with your friends and colleagues.

Now for Today’s episode we’re discussing:3 Things Principals sensitive to Charlottesville think about

After the Charlottesville incident where racist white nationalist battled counterportersters and three deaths occurred President Trump gave a statement, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,". Was this a strong enough statement? When domestic terrorism raises it’s ugly snout in the form of alt right racism, in such a visible, 1960’s manner, there is a process many school leaders go through as we try to process the event and the media and political circus that follows.

Should we address the event
The answer isn’t as easy as you would think. The reason for this is because every school is different. Is there a strong culture of courageous conversations in which people feel safe touching the live wire of emotion that speaking about race based topics can ignite? Often times the answer is no. This can be especially true if you’re a new principal and you haven’t yet learned your staff. Even if you’re a veteran leader your school culture might not lend itself to these types of intense conversations. Wondering if we should even address the issue is often the first step in the reflective process.

Composition of staff
Is having a conversation around this worth the potential disruption between staff? Does my staff have strong enough relationships with each other where a difference in perspective will not negatively impact the day to day operation of my school? These are at least two of the questions that I ask myself as I take in the current visible reality in our America.

Student and Staff interaction
If you bring the conversation to the students, does all your staff have the capacity to lead the conversation and diffuse tensions as necessary? Often times there are one or two staff members that are able to constructively have the conversation and work through the emotions that inevitably rise. Typically these are classrooms where teachers have strong relationships and high expectations with their students. These types of teachers aren’t as numerous as we would hope. The reason more than the one or two highly competent staff is necessary is because the other staff members will need to work with the same students that just got hyped up in the previous class. This is the third question that must be pondered when deciding if a discussion about overt racism should be endorsed.

These are all questions a building leader must process before making a decision; should the event even be addressed, is the staff composed of the “right” mix to have the conversation amongst themselves and finally is their a strong enough relationship between most of the staff and students. Often times you may be able to answer one or two of the questions positively. Knowing this is an opportunity for authentic learning are those great enough odds to take the risk. For me, the answer is almost always yes.

What is your process for working through these types of intense situations? Share your strategies in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please share with your friends.

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, new episodes 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.

August 13, 2017 08:22 AM PDT

In this episode we talk with Dr. Tommy Watson. Dr. Watson is a former elementary principal, acclaimed author, and speaker. He is also the owner and driving force behind his company TA Watson, Speaking, Coaching and Consulting. We discuss his book A Face of Courage and his area of expertise; the systematic motivation of students. Before we do, however, we get into his educational journey and the struggles and successes he’s navigated to get where he is today.

Summary of his educational journey.
Dr. Tommy Watson grew up in Denver, Colorado with parents who who drug addicts, shoplifters and were in and out of the criminal justice system. As a result he and his siblings were placed in and out of foster homes. He was forced to bounce around to five different elementary schools in his first six years of school. As a result there were huge gaps in his education. He spent all of his 8th grade year living out of a motel after getting kicked out of his house in front of all of his friends.

It was in 8th grade however when a pivotal encounter with a coach inspired he and his inner city friends to play football. Just like a movie, Tommy found himself traveling across three city bus transfers to get to a private suburban mostly white school. This presented its own challenges both with the suburban students and his friends from the neighborhood.

To learn more about his journey and the Nun who challenged him and helped him succeed . . . listen to the entire episode smiley

Tweetable Quotes
I discovered the power of education and the difference it made in my journey
Education is a game changer
No one [teachers] killed my dreams. They simply had a philosophy that life would teach [me]
It’s not about hammering kids! It’s about teaching kids
I had no control over my life, so I came to school and tried to control that.

Words of Wisdom
I want to inspire young people to maximise education, utilize i [education] t and give back in the same way.

I had a coach, who for the first time, really believed in me, pushed me, motivated me. Who constantly spoke life into me. And talked to me about the possibilities beyond my neighborhood.

Often times we kill the dreams of our young people by telling them that their chances of making it to the NFL are slim. Not realizing that there’s never been an NFL player who didn’t first go to college

The kids who need love the most are often the kids who ask for it in the most undesirable ways.

We as educators, have to dig deep and have to learn to suspend judgment and allow a young person to do what it is that they enjoy doing.

Challenges
Walking into school with high poverty and low morale
Low principal during district cuts, lost job along with third of staff was brought back to building after district had assigned another principal who had brought his own staff. Had to rebuild again.

A Snippet of What he learned
Begin to change the culture “first class staff, serving first class students”
Move away from punitive discipline

Advice for Principals
Continually speak life into your staff
Place heavy emphasis on instruction and instructional strategies and classroom management.
Get community volunteers involved
Switch mindset from getting parents involved to getting caring adults involved.
Create PLC’s and create common language throughout building
Heavy emphasis on reading
Focus on building relationships with staff, student, parents and community.
Model the change you want to be, spend time in the community.

About his book A Face of Courage
An autobiography of his journey used to inspire educators about what their students could be going through. It can be used as a tool to create empathy in educators working with students from high poverty areas.

Secrets to Motivate Students Workshop Teaser
Step one - find students value of valence (find out what this means on the podcast) or by contacting Dr. Tommy Watson. You can learn the entire system for motivating students.

Recommended Books
The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell
Leading Change by John Kotter.

Contact Information
Dr. Tommy Watson
www.tawatson.com
Phone number 704.944.3555

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please our one ask is to follow the show and give a rating and review. This helps other educators find the show and helps give credibility to the work which makes it easier to get more great educational leaders on the show.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, new episodes 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.

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