Byron's Babbles

Changing The Narrative For Our Students

Yesterday was another powerful day of learning at Harvard University. It started out with Liya Escalera walking us through changing the narrative, valuing the cultural wealth of our underrepresented students in order to achieve equity. Additionally, she taught some great asset-based approaches to leading for student success. The best part was how she had us start this session. She had us reflect on situations in an educational setting that made us feel unwelcome and then reflect on a situation that made us feel welcome. This was a great way to get us in a mode of thinking about changing the narrative for our students. Liya also worked us through asset based communication. Below is a slide that does a great job of showing what our discussion included: IMG_6148Then we spent time digging into family engagement and making families true partners with Stephany Cuevas of Harvard University. We know that students with engaged families:

  • Exhibit faster rates of literacy acquisition
  • Earn higher grades and test scores
  • Enroll in higher level programs
  • Are promoted more and earn more credits
  • Adapt better to school and attend more regularly
  • Have better social skills and behaviors
  • Graduate and go on to higher education

IMG_6149The learning did not stop here. We then spent time with Daren Graves diving into issues of race with intentionality. This was very powerful learning. We discussed how racism can happen without it being intentional. In education we must be diligent in monitoring the areas where we see disparate racial outcomes or impact:

  • Curriculum
  • Groupings
  • Assessment
  • Relationships with students and faculty
  • Relationships with the community
  • Recruitment/Retention

IMG_6157Just like in Thriving Students and Developing & Supporting Our Students: Future Identity Versus No Future Identity here is the top 30 list from our Tuesday learning:

  1. Reflect on a situation in an educational setting that made you feel unwelcome.
  2. Reflect on a situation that made you feel welcome.
  3. Asset-Based versus Deficit-Based Communication
  4. It is a bad habit to not look at all our communication through a critical lens.
  5. What is the problem? The problem is not our students.
  6. Is the problem that our students aren’t post-secondary ready, or that our education system is not student ready?
  7. Cultural competence will not cut it. We need to be highly skilled, not just competent.
  8. We need to make sure all schools are student ready.
  9. Google Translate™ is a good thing, but must be edited, or those reading will feel disrespected.
  10. We need information to go to parents as well as the students.
  11. We need to offer parents parents questions to ask their students.
  12. Our families are collaborators.
  13. We need to have parents presenting to parents.
  14. Have parents talk to each other.
  15. Students need to be thought of as part of a family, and then the family as part of all the practices of the school.
  16. Staff needs to view families as collaborators and partners.
  17. Staff Relationships With Parents + School Knowledge = Family Engagement As Confident Partner
  18. Staff needs to think of themselves as mentors to their parents.
  19. Family engagement is a way of thinking, not a practice.
  20. Family engagement is a value, not just a practice.
  21. There is no gene for race. Science saved the day!
  22. Race is an idea.
  23. Race is not culture.
  24. Race is something that happens, not something we are.
  25. It’s not about doing well in school, it’s about doing school well.
  26. Racism is usually pretty mundane.
  27. A system that confers privilege and produces disparate outcomes on the basis of race.
    1. historically-based systems
    2. actions/beliefs/policies/practices/conceptions
    3. confers visible and unacknowledged privilege
  28. Sometimes we set students up for failure by trying to not set them up for failure.
  29. Start with implicit biases, then move to structural biases.
  30. Racism can happen without anyone intentionally wanting it to happen.

 

Advertisements

Developing & Supporting Our Students: Future Identity Versus No Future Identity

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Monday I had the opportunity to dig deep into adolescent development and how this plays into future aspirations, beliefs, and behaviors of our students. I was introduced to identity development by Dr. Mandy Savitz-Romer of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She advocates that articulating aspirations and expectations, forming and maintaining strong peer and adult relationships, motivation, and goal setting should become a part of our DNA in education.

Mandy has so much knowledge in adolescent development and how to advance student success. In fact, she has quite literally written the book on it. We were given her new book this week, Fulfilling The Promise: Reimagining School Counseling to Advance Student Success. I am almost done with it and have to say it is awesome. I am sure you will be seeing blog post from me about the book in the near future.

9780520287266There was also the opportunity on Monday for learning from Roberto Gonzales who is the preeminent academic expert on undocumented immigrant youth and the struggles they face. It was great to spend time with him because he has spent time with these youth getting, as he called it, “a worm’s eye view.” He understands how these issues play out in real-life. Most powerful for me was the idea of our undocumented immigrant youth straddling two worlds: neither from here or there. No one should have to live like that. Additionally, it was so powerful to gain an understanding, and I still have a huge amount to learn and understand, of the undocumented youth’s transition to “illegality.” As Roberto taught, illegality is not a noun but a verb as undocumented students move from protected to unprotected. I really needed this learning and can’t wait to read his book, Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America (University of California Press).

9780674976894-lgThen, if that was not already a lot of learning in one day, there was Dr. Anthony Abraham Jack. He wrote the book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Poor Students. Our interactions with students matter. I was struck thinking about how some of our engagement strategies favor a selected few – the students we like, that impress us, and we know. What about making sure we have the chance to know all students, not just the ones that are inherently comfortable interacting with teachers. We need to help all understand how to do that. One way he advocates for is office hours. But not like we have always done office hours. Office hours need to be collaboratively with students understanding exactly how they work. Students also need to be comfortable in asking questions and bringing anything to office hours.

As I did for Sunday’s learning this week in Thriving Students, here is my top 30 list of takeaways from the day of learning:

  1. Information ≠ Action
  2. A college going future identity
  3. Dimensions of identity: groups, roles, self concept.
  4. Marshaling: how do we use our resources.
  5. Throwing forward: seeing oneself in the future.
  6. Self-efficacy is the belief in the ability to accomplish a specific task.
  7. Self-efficacy is domain specific.
  8. We all have the ability to build self-efficacy.
  9. What shapes self-efficacy?
    1. Mastery of experience
    2. Vicarious learning
    3. Social persuasion
    4. Affect
  10. The “why” students go to college is very important.
  11. There is a big difference between wanting to go to college and someone telling you they want you to go to college.
  12. Motivation = Goals + Beliefs
  13. Students need to be better planners for obstacles. We need to be their GPS and give them three different routes.
  14. Control of Thoughts + Control of Emotions + Control of Behaviors = Self Regulation To Attain Goals
  15. Many students straddle two worlds; they are neither from here or there.
  16. We need to pay attention to how issues play out in real life.
  17. We forget how powerful having an I.D. card is to a person.
  18. Access is not inclusion.
  19. Beware of unwritten curriculum – the unwritten rules of getting along in an institution.
  20. We need to teach students how to interact with teachers and faculty.
  21. Doubly disadvantaged = Lower Income + Attended Public School
  22. Privileged Poor = Lower Income + Attended Private School
  23. Secondary school and college officials disproportionately reward proactive engagement strategies. Instead of who deserves reward, it becomes who we like, who we know, and who impresses us most – not necessarily the deserving students.
  24. Impress upon students it is more than normal to ask for help.
    1. It is smart
    2. It is expected
    3. It is rewarded
  25. We must inspire students to build an inter-generational support network.
  26. There is a difference between building a network and networking.
  27. Language matters.
  28. We need to make explicit what is now hidden to our students.
  29. We need to make basic things accessible and digestible for our students.
  30. We need to partner with families and promote our parents as super heroes.

Think about how great our country’s education system would be if we were able to make all 30 items above values that were in the DNA of our system and not just desired practices or boxes to check?

What We Know, And Don’t Quite Know We Know

Posted in Adaptive Leadership, Growth Mindset, Leadership, Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on May 16, 2019

IMG_5683I finished a great book by David Brooks this past week entitled The Second Mountain: The Quest For A Moral Life. He used a phrase in the book that really intrigued me: “What we know, and what we don’t quite know we know.” I’ve written about not knowing what we don’t know before, but this idea there being things we don’t quite know we know is intriguing to me. At first I related it to being curious, but I believe it had more to do with our learned knowledge and experiences that give us knowledge and perspective about things yet to be learned.

“There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” ~ Donald Rumsfeld, Former Secretary Of Defense

Case in point: this past week I was asked to research what we needed in terms of a website to market new professional development materials and services we have for schools to buy. At first I’m thinking, “I am so the wrong person for this!” I’m not a marketer, nor web development person. Then I started doing some research and got hooked up with a great resource at a web development company, who was happy to mentor me, fill in the gaps of my research, and help me develop the right questions to be asking back with the team.

What I found was, that while I did not have much (actually none) of the technical knowledge necessary for moving this project forward, I did have valuable user knowledge of what the website needed to be like. These were the things I didn’t know I knew, but by asking questions of the right people I was learning. I found I knew some vital things crucial to product success, such as:

  1. Making the website fast and easily navigated.
  2. Make it simple.
  3. Make the landing page in a way that hooks readers.
  4. Make it about solving problems.

Just understanding these things from my own experience using websites I was able to fill in the knowledge gap with the help of the website design gurus. No matter the scale, discovering your explanatory gaps is essential for innovation. An undiagnosed gap in knowledge means you might not fully understand a problem. That can hinder innovative solutions. To discover the things you can’t explain, take a lesson from teachers. When you instruct someone else, you have to fill the gaps in your own knowledge. A couple of tips would be to explain concepts to yourself as you learn them and engage others in collaborative learning.

Next time you take on something outside your current knowledge base, think about what you already know and what you don’t quite know you know. I’ll bet you know more than you think.

You’re Not a Fraud!

IMG_5200Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. This definition came from Wikipedia (retrieved 4/6/2019). To start this post I needed a definition to frame the discussion. The context for this post came from a discussion during one of our Indiana 3D Leadership sessions last year and I am just getting to it on the list of topics I want to blog about. We were discussing how sometimes individuals move quickly to different positions in schools for doing good work. These aspiring leaders were concerned, however, that sometimes they have some imposter syndrome symptoms and believe they might not be as good as others think they are. At first I wasn’t sure I was catching what they were pitching, but then in studying this I have found this really is real.

For example, a perfectionist sometimes falls into this trap. Think about it. The perfectionist sets lofty goals for themselves, tend to be micromanagers, or won’t delegate at all. Then, when things aren’t perfect, he is super hard on himself. This is also the person who had to have straight A’s and the highest scores in the class. I never needed to worry about this and am certainly not a perfectionist. My dad, conversely, was a perfectionist and actually it would keep him from getting things accomplished at times. I remember when he passed away back in 1988 I found several projects not completed around the farm because he was constantly working to make whatever it was perfect. I always said it was like the old adage “measure twice, cut once.” The problem was he kept measuring to try to get it perfect and never got the board cut. Make no mistake, I loved my dad and I respect him more than anyone, but we were very different on the trait of being a perfectionist. I’m not sure I have ever worried about being perfect a minute in my life and have certainly never worried if someone didn’t think I was perfect.

Sometimes people with this syndrome want to know it all. She never believes she will know enough. Remember, to lead a highly effective group or organization you do not want to be the smartest person in the room. Learning has to be agile. There are things we will need to know tomorrow that we don’t know today. Don’t worry about trying to second guess, just be ready to learn when the need arises (which will be always).

If you’ve ever experienced imposter syndrome you need to realize that you have gotten where you are for a reason. It may have been because of your ability to produce, chance, connections, or some other factor, and that is great. Go ahead and embrace your abilities, embrace what makes you different from everyone else, and play off of your own strengths and capabilities. You are not a fraud.

 

 

Community: Aggregating For Innovation

IMG_3385Last week I had the opportunity to be part of a webinar with Peter Block, author of Community: The Structure of Belonging, 2nd Edition. I already blogged once about this webinar hosted by  Becky Robinson at Weaving Influence in honor of the release of the second edition of this book last week. Click here to read, Why Does Community Matter?

During the webinar I had the opportunity to ask a question of Peter Block. My question was, as a public policy maker, how can we scale the use of community and convening of people to really solve the issues at hand; in my case in education? You can listen to Peter’s response to my question here:

This was such a deep and thoughtful answer from Peter, don’t you agree? I had to do some follow-up study to really get my mind wrapped around all of the thoughts he presented here. First of all, this idea of aggregation. There are so many ways you can use and think about the idea of an aggregate. Many times the aggregate is thought of as the whole, like a country, and then the community as part of that whole. Peter challenged me to think about aggregating as opposed to bringing something to scale. He said, “When I aggregate I bring big things and people together that do not need to be alike.” This was powerful and made me think about aggregates like components of a composite material that resist compressive stress. In other words, we need to aggregate people who are co-creating what education, in my case, needs to look like.

Peter was also very clear that legislation follows the innovation phases; you can’t legislate innovation. You innovate through experience. As I was putting this thought process together I realized the aggregation theory was so powerful because by aggregating we are developing by the merging of the differences of the people we are bringing together. Therefore, when we aggregate people together, we get a great deal of experiences to draw from. Peter also pointed out we need to make visible the people who are doing great and important things with the idea of replication. I believe an aggregate can also be made up of many different communities with diverse experiences. Across the country, we find a wide array of communities. However, when you put all of them together, we get an aggregate or the whole.

IMG_3386Then we need to begin aggregating for co-creating for education (in my case), and we then get people talking to each other.  I love the question that Peter suggested we should be posing when convening, “Who wants to participate with us by making it real for you?” Two other things I have learned from Peter Block are to always ask, “What can we create together?” and elected officials and policy makers need to be conveners and not problem solvers. I have always tried to take this very seriously and convene communities with no preconceived solution. This idea of aggregating really drove home the value in convening groups with a wide array of experiences and then valuing those differences – not being afraid of them.

As you can see, this was a very thought provoking webinar that caused a lot of reflection. Here is the entire webinar for you to watch:

 

Leadership Traits Of A Farmer

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 8.39.13 PMLast week was one of my favorite times of the year. It was the week of our county fair, Besides loving helping my son prepare his dairy show cows for the 4H and open shows, I love visiting with community members. My favorite visits, though, are with former students. It is like a big reunion. All of my former students are special, but I have one former student that always schedules some time to sit and have a very quality visit. I end up blogging about our visit every year. I value this time because I learn so much. He always wants to know about what is going on in my life. This year, like every year, he had advice, words of wisdom, and encouragement that I will use in my professional life. Click here to read last year’s post entitled I Have Paid For An Education With My Mistakes about Andy Clark. Andy easily makes it to the top of my list of most respected students. He has truly become an outstanding agricultural leader.

IMG_3330During our visit this year I became even more proud of Andy than I already was. He has done an outstanding job of improving, expanding, and innovating his family farming operation. As we visited I realized what a great leader Andy had developed into. The impressive part to me is that he continues to develop himself and grow professionally. He does not settle for status quo. We had the chance to visit for about five hours sitting at our cattle stalls and I picked up on six leadership traits that Andy has really developed and honed that would make many CEOs jealous. I’d like to share these traits with you here:

  1. Innovating – Innovation is a very important leadership trait. Andy has created different paths for producing for markets with specific needs. These specific needs offer a better chance at evening out the peaks and valleys of commodity marketing. Amazingly, once he has innovated in one area, he is already looking for the next.
  2. Resourcefulness/Adaptation – Andy clearly has a handle on looking for ways to improve efficiency, make use of byproducts, and reformulating to keep the farming operation on a progressive track.
  3. Managing Time and Leading People – I was so impressed when Andy was describing his plans he had recently put in place to retain and develop his employees. His wage/compensation plan has made it possible for him to retain and attract employees and have them where they need to be, at the time they are needed. A large part of his operation is in forage making for dairies. Anyone who has ever made hay or chopped silage knows you must harvest when the crop is right. Andy has developed his leadership skills for maximum employee efficiency. He understands that the achievements of our workforce are crucial to the successful delivery of strategy.
  4. Financial Management – Every dollar saved in expenses is a dollar that directly benefits the bottom line. While expense control is time consuming and tedious, great farmers spend the time to reap the benefit. Living expenses, equipment and machinery purchases, decisions related to using contracted services (like custom chopping of silage), spending habits, areas where can you cut back, and investments that aren’t the best ideas today. These can be the differences between breaking even, losing money or just eking out a profit. Andy knows to the exact penny what it costs to produce a bushel of grain or ton of forage.
  5. Attention To Detail – During our visit, Andy pulled out his cell phone and began to give me a tutorial lesson on JDLink™. This allows Andy to see critical and timely information about his machines, online, and better yet, on his cell phone. By using the MyMaintenance™ app, he is able to move data to and from his machines – easily, securely, and wirelessly. This enables Andy to support his machines and employees, thus keeping the operation running smoothly and efficiently. We talk a lot about SMART Manufacturing and Industry 4.0, but this is truly Agriculture 4.0. Andy is on the pioneering side of using it.maxresdefault
  6. Growing Professionally – I don’t think I know anyone who is constantly learning to the extent that Andy Clark does. He was like that in high school – always studying something and thinking about the next thing he might want to do. He’s like the farmer version of Curious George®. Andy stays connected to knowledgeable sources of the latest information and innovations. He is very interested right now in robotics and wants to be a pioneer in the use of robotic equipment. The bottom line is that Andy is motivated to learn – a characteristic of a great leader.

As you can see, Andy Clark has developed into quite farmer and leader. Every year when I visit with him I become prouder of him and more impressed with him. We are planning to get together before another year passes and I hope we do because I learn and grow every time I have the opportunity and sit and visit with Andy. Do you have leadership traits that you need to develop and hone?

Show Me A Leader

cupmc51wyae0csxBy now, most of you know that the great rock band, Alter Bridge, has changed my life in the last year. The release of “Show Me A Leader” has rocked my world and the way I think about leadership. Click here to watch the video I made of “Show Me A Leader.” Here are some verses/phrases from the song that have really resonated with me:

  • “Well they’re selling another messiah here tonight; But we’re all way too numb and divided; To buy it”  – we should never put our leaders in a position of needing to be a messiah, or the chosen one. Nor, should we ever consider ourselves, as leaders, above others and in messiah status. According to my faith, there is only one of those and there will not be another.
  • “Show me a leader that won’t compromise” – we cannot as leaders compromise our values.
  • “Disillusioned and tired of waiting; For the one; Whose intentions are pure unpersuaded; We can trust” – we need to earn trust and make sure our intentions are always pure and unpersuaded by self interest and are for the good of the whole.
  • “‘Cause a promise is never enough” – pretty self explanatory; don’t promise what you cannot deliver, period.
  • “It’s getting harder to fight out here on our own” – Sun Tzu taught us the skillful leader subdues the enemy without any fighting. This means we need a leader that will help us have the conversations of what we can do to create the future. The communal possibility rotates on the question “What can we create together?” This emerges from the social space we create when we are together.
  • “Show me a leader that knows what is right” – To do “the right thing” means to make a choice among possibilities in favor of something the collective wisdom of humanity knows to be the way to act. Great leaders must call upon a broad band of intuitive knowledge and use it to give guidance and direction. If a person comes to a position of power as a leader in an organization or in society without knowing how to do the right thing, then the people under his or her influence are in for a bad time. At worst they will find themselves plunged into brutal conflict with outside forces, or at best they will spend a lot of time and energy struggling with internal disharmony and damage control.
  • “Show me a leader so hope can survive” – Great leaders often earn their credentials before they become successful. Often, it’s during the times of darkness and hardship that the greatest leaders are born. Hope is the ingredient to which failure knows no answer. And great leaders instill this belief to help the others around them. Hopes and dreams can become real. But often to do so they need life consistently breathed into them. To keep them alive until they are transmuted into reality. Great leaders do this by consistently communicating their beliefs to their followers in the form of visions. They take every opportunity they can – through being a role model, meetings, presentations and writing to describe their visions as crystal clear as possible.
  • “We need a hero this time” – There are leaders, there are great leaders, and then there are heroic leaders. The best of the best put others before themselves. They sprint into danger. They pay dearly for their courage, and they often go years, if ever, without the recognition they deserve.

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-11-21-39-amThese bullets have become guides for me and benchmarks for some of my personal core values. Particularly this thought of not compromising. Click here to read my thoughts on compromise in “There Can Be No Compromise!

Furthermore, the music video for “Show Me A Leader” is amazing. Click here to watch the video. In fact, I have now used it three times to lead discussions on leadership. Throughout, and at the beginning of this post are graphics done by Mike Fleisch of the sessions we have facilitated on this great song and video.

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-11-14-06-am

Be A Leader!

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-8-25-23-pmIf you aspire to be a great leader, the first requirement is that you look and listen, so that you can find out the true needs that a situation demands to be fulfilled. It seems to me there is a general myth that leaders are born rather than made, that somehow nature produces a peculiar species of human being who is bigger, more powerful, smarter, braver, and more charismatic than the rest. During this presidential election year I have been reflecting more and more on this. I have caught myself saying, “Is the right person even out there to lead our country for continued greatness?” A democracy, more perhaps than any other form of government, needs great men and women to lead and inspire the people. Now, there are lot’s of different theories out there as to why we might lack great leaders, such as:

  1. Our system of government does not always lend itself to the best people being elected to office.
  2. We seem to linger in a perpetual leadership vacuum.
  3. Are we open to having dialogue with leaders who are going to bring the spark of creativity to the situation?
  4. Are we open to having dialogue about new and tranformative ways of doing things?
  5. Ego causing leadership failure.

Americans, however, myself included, maintain that when the hour comes, it brings the right person. For example, it brought Abraham Lincoln. When he was nominated by the famous convention of 1860 his name had been little heard of beyond his own state. But he rose at once to the level of the situation, and that not merely by virtue of strong clear sense, but by his patriotic steadfastness and noble simplicity of character. If this was luck, it was just the kind of luck which makes a nation hopeful of its future, and inclined to overlook the faults of the methods by which it finds its leaders.

I believe we can all be great leaders, with all the rewards this carries, while still serving the needs of the whole group. We must, however, take an introspective look at ourselves and the areas for improvement we need to make. Having looked and listened, you will know the situation you are in and the need that is crying out to be fulfilled. This deep listening coupled with the criterion values and not compromising those values shapes a model of successful leadership.

We also need to have someone else…share with us the way they experience us…because it’s hard to see our own blind spots or limiting assumptions. We need to get feedback from trusted folks we either know or do not know. Here is my challenge to you: Connect to your top professional priority. Ask yourself: What is the one thing I could get better at that would help me most with my most important professional priority? Create a personal improvement goal around this professional priority. Does the goal implicate you? Your goal implicates you if it is clear that you must get better at something. Your goal should focus on something you can control. It should focuson something specific about yourself that you want to improve. Let’s all own being a better leader.

2016-2017 Welcome Back

Posted in Education, Educational Leadership, Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 22, 2016

victoryfieldAs Head of Schools for the Hoosier Academies Network of Schools, I want to extend a warm welcome to our returning students and family members and those of you who are new to the Hoosier Academies Network of Schools. Thank you for partnering with us in the education of your children. Many of us here are also parents and we understand the huge responsibility we have for ensuring that all children find success at every level of their academic experiences.

I am so excited to welcome you back to school today.  I have told others that this is the most excited I have ever been to start a school year. In fact Mr. Hurst, our science/biology teacher, was so excited that he could not sleep last night – think about this; he has been doing this for 41 years and he still gets nervous. I’m excited because of our new vision, mission, and core values we developed last year and the implementation around these that will guide us this year.

Our vision is “Success for Every Student in Indiana.” We define success using the definition of Dr. Felice Kaufman – “Knowing what one wants in the world and know how to get it.” We understand that success looks different for every student.

Our new mission is “Hoosier Academies Network of Schools Engages Students in a Customized and Accessible Education by Collaborating with Parents and Families for Student Success.”

We have five core values:

Students First for Success

  • We are implementing the National Family Academic Support Team with fidelity this year in order to give students and families the support needed to be successful in our schools.
  • We started the Insight School of Indiana in order to support students who are behind or need extra support to be successful.

Educating, Supporting, and Empowering Teachers, Staff, and Families for Success

  • This year we are implementing the National model for Instructional Coaching. Our teachers will be getting regular coaching in order to help them reach their full effectiveness in facilitating learning for your children.

Safe Environment for Success

  • We will continue our anti-bullying campaign.
  • We will have drug awareness programs.
  • We will be using our Raptor (instant background check) system here at our Franklin Road 7-12 Learning Center and at our Caito Road k-6 Learning Center to ensure that everyone that comes into the building has had a background check. We have alarmed our doors so we know no-one is coming in or going out that should not be. Students are assigned to a teacher for every minute of the day and instruction will be happening from the minute the students come on campus until they leave. We have implemented our School Master attendance program so that attendance is being taken with fidelity. I have set the goal of no less than 95% attendance for all of our schools, but particularly hybrid days. I believe you will find that the ship has been tightened at our hybrid centers. We must take full advantage of the face to face time that your children have with our teachers.

Strong Community Relationships for Success

  • We have had many Back to School Expos across the state and a few more to go. Check the website for other community events where you can connect with staff for support you may need.
  • Hoosier Helpings is a food pantry that can help families in need access food, toiletries, clothing, pet supplies, and some household items. Click here for  information for support if needed.

Accountability for Success

  • With our new Academic Plan we have put in place improvements to make sure that your son or daughter is receiving the support necessary for academic performance and achievement.
  • We are clearly communicating expectations
  • We are supporting a culture of continual improvement

You will be hearing more details about many of the initiatives I have touched on here during your specific school convocation break outs, but please know I am excited for us to be back together for an exciting year of learning.

Imagine A Place Where Everyone Is A Leader!

IMG_3422

Greatest Waitress Ever Jenn Becknell With David Marquet and I!

Earlier in the week I had the incredible honor of having dinner with my friend and leadership “idol” David Marquet. David is the author of Turn The Ship Around and developer of Intent Based Leadership™. He is making a cross country bike ride with a group and had a rest layover in Indianapolis, so it enabled us to get together. In a later post I will probably talk more about our great conversation and all the insight I gained from this great man, but for now I want to tell you about our dinner and the insights we gained.

David has a great thing he likes to do when at a restaurant – let the waitress pick his entrée’s. I knew this so I suggested we do this for our meal. I was hoping he would agree even though we were at my very favorite restaurant and Indianapolis icon Harry and Izzy’s. David agreed immediately and gave our waitress, Jenn Becknell, his intro that he is a control freak and that part of his treatment is to let the waitress pick his meal. I have to set you straight though; David is not a control freak and is the inventor of Intent Based Leadership™. He is anything but a control freak. Anyway, he gave the waitress his one boundary and I told her that I really didn’t have any boundaries except maybe not being the fondest of chicken.

thumb_600

Harry & Izzy’s Shrimp Cocktail!

At first Jenn looked at us a little funny and was a little taken aback, but quickly warmed to the idea. We could then very quickly tell that she was going to have fun with this. I was so impressed with David because when asked about a drink he even told Jenn to pick his wine. Now that is Intent Based Leadership™ at its best. We had truly empowered Jenn to serve us and put the best foot forward for Harry and Izzy’s for my friend who was from Florida and eating there for the first time. Long story short, it was the best and most enjoyable meal I have ever had. We had no idea what Jenn would be bringing us and each time she came out with something different it was incredible. Keep in mind we didn’t even look at the menu. We started with the signature Shrimp Cocktail, of course. I am going to ask Jenn to add a comment to this blog and tell you what she brought us out to eat. The point is, however, that as David and I walked back to my truck we both commented that there was no way we would have picked as great a meal as Jenn did. Particularly, we would not have picked the bread pudding dessert that just put us in heaven to end the meal.

FullSizeRenderSo what does it mean to practice intent based leadership? I have included a slide here from David Marquet’s website that gives all the important points of intent based leadership, but I believe there are two that really apply here for both Jenn Becknell and Harry and Izzy’s. First of all it is obvious that Jenn has been empowered to: “Feel inspired, by pushing control and decision-making down the organization people take responsibility and have the authority to rise to the occasion, even during times of change.” Jenn certainly rose to the occasion and was a tremendous ambassador for Harry and Izzy’s. Thus providing David and I the time of our lives. This was such powerful evidence as to why intent based leadership works.Indy_Downtown-sml

Furthermore, Harry and Izzy’s are modeling that, “the organization’s success should be on the shoulders of all people and not simply the top “leaders” of the organization.” It is clear that this top Indianapolis restaurant has empowered their entire staff to “make it so” for customers. I can tell you a large portion of Harry and Izzy’s success is due to the great staff! Harry and Izzy’s is about great food, but is even more about the experience. Do your people feel valued and proud of the work they are doing for your organization?