Building Culture

The School Leader as Connector in Chief During #COVID19

Never in a million years did I think I would be writing a blog post on how school and district leaders are supporting stakeholder efforts while locked down in their homes due to a worldwide pandemic. But here we are, looking COVID-19 square in the face as it impacts our students, staff, and parents in ways once thought unimaginable. These are challenging times. And yet, challenging times present opportunities for school and district leaders to lead in unconventional ways—such as from a dining room table or living room couch. (more…)

A Principal’s COVID-19 Diary: Perspective

Because I’m moderately overwhelmed by the admirable level of virtue that I see on social media amongst, well, everybody, especially educators, I’m hard-pressed to find something original I can contribute during this crisis. But I’m reminded of what my mentor told me: “When it comes to leadership, the best thing you have to offer is your authentic voice—your stories.” (more…)

My Letter to Families: ‘We Will Get Through This’

Leaving school last Friday, I’m not sure that any of us knew what to expect. I know as I leave tonight, for the last time for a while, I’m feeling similar emotions. Tuesday was our last day with kids, Wednesday with staff. Our building will be shut down beginning this Friday afternoon. It’s surreal. (more…)

How Twitter Can Serve as a COVID-19 School Resource

With the “new normal” that we are all facing and trying to navigate during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantines, communicating with our school community has a sense of urgency about it unlike anything we’ve ever faced. We’re all looking for ways to connect. I’m often asked, “Should we use Twitter, email, Instagram, or Facebook?” And I just say, “Yes.” (more…)

Experiencing the Loss of a Student or Teacher: Responding to Crisis

Over the past seven years, Beachwood High School in Beachwood, OH, has been severely impacted by the untimely deaths of eight individuals—seven students and one teacher. In all seven cases in which a student was lost, mental health played a significant role. (more…)

The Zero-Waste Revolution in Schools

Hawaiʻi is an isolated island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that is desperately short of landfill space and good soil. Located on the windward side of Oahu in beautiful Kailua, Kaʻōhao School has embraced a growing worldwide environmental movement that embraces a philosophy encouraging the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. (more…)

Maximizing Space and Talent in Your School

I think one of the best parts of being a principal is when a fleeting comment becomes an idea, an idea becomes a conversation, and that idea then becomes an integral part of your school’s DNA. These ideas and conversations might answer the question, “How do we make this better?” or, “What’s the next big thing?”For us, the next big thing involved taking advantage of our space through partnerships that expand learning opportunities for students in our school and others in the district. (more…)

Taking Time for You

Wellness (noun): The state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

In a field of serving others, how often do we take time to take care of ourselves? Not just a spa trip, random yoga class, or a nice meal out with a friend, but intentional, continual self-wellness? (more…)

Finding Unexpected Community Resources for Your Student Support Network

When a headline broke in USA Today several years back calling Farmington, NM, “the worst place to raise a child,” my school took it personally. Having raised two daughters in the town, my wife and I had often commented to each other what a great community it was, and the great quality schools were part of that discussion. But the article went solely off of data, and I’m sure the authors had never set foot in our town. (more…)

Student Voice in School Communication

In a world where young people are familiar with opportunities to express themselves online and in person, it is important that we present our students with excellent models of interpersonal communication. Our students come to us with great ideas that they want to express. Why not channel that communicative energy and put it to work to promote your school? (more…)