Wednesday, July 17, 2013

5 Principal Commitments for the New Year

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As a new principal, I have plenty to be nervous about for this coming school year.  I learned early on in my musical career that nervous energy is powerful once you harness it and direct the energy in the right way.  Having a clear vision and plan is key to harnessing that energy.  Here are 5 commitments I am making to my school this coming school year.

  1. 900 Lessons - Based on Kim Marshall's article, I am committing to observing/visiting at least 900 different lessons/classrooms this year.  At 180 school days, that will be 5 lessons/classrooms a day.  It is the only way I will learn what is going on in the classrooms at my site and the only way I will observe what students are learning.

  2. 24 rule for new ideas - On my recent flight back from Washington, D.C., I caught Daniel Pink on the Jeff Probst show.   He presented the idea that you should wait 24 seconds before you to criticize any new idea.  Some of the best ideas are quickly shot down because they haven't been thought through. Committing to at least 24 seconds.

  3. PLC - We ask our teachers to collaborate with their colleagues, why shouldn't principals?  I commit to work and collaborate with other principals either through my PLN (twitter, Google+, etc.) or and with my fellow Salida principals regularly.   

  4. Healthy Lifestyle - If you've read here before, you know that I have lost quite a bit of weight over the last two years with still some more to go.  What it did for my life was extraordinary.  I commit to encouraging all kids (and adults if they want to join in) to be physically active for 30 minutes each day. Also part of this will be to encourage healthy eating habits whether it be through portion control or healthy choices.  Thankfully our school and district has an established history with healthy eating.  (UPDATE:  Thanks to John Patterson for the video link)

  5. Principal Practice - Teachers never have enough time to go see their colleagues teach.  Each week I will provide 30 minutes to a teacher to go see their colleagues teach while I dust of my teaching skills and do what I do best; teach music, to their class.  I plan on implementing the same strategies and practices that we will be asking the teachers to implement.  The teacher can go see a colleague or watch me and provide me with feedback.  The goal here is to promote conversations and collaboration about teaching practice.  Credit to my middle school colleague who inspired the idea.
What are you committing to this next year for your school site?