Sunday, September 25, 2016

Because I Said I Would

Recently, in a conversation with a couple of other administrators, it was discussed how culture won't change itself. We have to be intentional about it. We have to talk about it.  We have to talk about what we're going to do about it. And then, we have to do it.

It's easy to talk about school culture in the summer months of June and July. It's fairly easy to continue those conversations into the start of the school year during the months of August and September. But the school year is long; it's a marathon, not a sprint. Circumstances arise that try our patience, test our spirit, and challenge our best intentions. How do we plan for that? How do we respond to that?

The promise cards that we asked each of our staff to inscribe with a personal commitment

At Van Allen, we are focusing on our culture this year. We are talking about it. We are trying to be intentional in regards to what we do about it. In fact, recently, we asked everyone to make one commitment, one promise for something that they could do, individually, to have a positive impact on our school culture.

The Board in our teacher lounge/work room that displays all of our promise cards
My commitments. My promises. 
(They stem from the four principles of the FISH! Philosophy.)
My own two kids

Be there - I will disconnect from my phone for stretches of time (at home) because work-life balance is important and my own family has to be my priority
Thanks, Adam Welcome! I love your idea of putting your phone on Airplane Mode. I need to do this more.  

My view from the pitcher's mound
Play - I will engage with students at recess and/or eat lunch with students on a weekly basis.
Thanks, Admins In Action! Everyone in this Voxer group has helped me redefine what a principal should do...and it all started with a simple challenge in the fall of 2015 of going down a slide!

Make someone's day - I will write a daily thank you note to someone to let them know they are appreciated.
Thanks, Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis for your book Hacking Leadership and the Voxer group led by Todd Schmidt over the summer that studied this text. This isn't a new idea, but the practice  is something that I've committed to this year as a result of the book and book study.

Choose your attitude - When asked how I am, I will ALWAYS respond that I am doing great (or a similar answer.
Thanks, Hamish Brewer. You introduced me to these three simple words - choose your attitude - and you recommended the FISH! book.

I'm sharing my promises with the world, or at least the couple of hundred of people that will read my blog, in hopes that this act of making them public will strengthen my commitment. So help me out, because we're all in this together. It is all of our actions that will ensure that our school is a place where staff LOVES coming to work, kids LOVE COMING to school, and parents and community members LOVE visiting. We don't want to settle for anything less than those feelings.

Tee-shirt worn by one of our students at Van Allen.
Culture Wins

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