In Jim Collins’ bestselling book “Good to Great” he points out that the enemy of Great is Good. He explains that we don’t have great schools because we have good schools – society is content with good. It has always been my dream to work at a school that acts as a "home away from home"...a Great school! As a former head football coach our teams were never satisfied with being good. We equated being good to being average. Most sports teams strive to be the best, to be Great. My mindset is no different when leading a school. Are you ready to take action?
How do you move from being a GOOD school to becoming a GREAT school?
Have a Shared Vision:
"Vision at our school will not be empty aspirations, but obligations, deadlines & concrete accomplishments!"
I shared this quote form Richard DuFour with our staff on the 1st day we met and let them know that this was our school (Normandin MS) and we would collectively develop the vision and direction that would establish a path to GREATNESS. As educational leaders we must believe that our schools can, and should be, the model school for the state. In order to move to the next level, each school must build upon its strengths and face challenges head-on. This complex task cannot be accomplished by any one persion; it requires strong commitments from students, staff, administration, parents and community members. Success is dependent upon the ability to work as a team and plan, implement and execute our shared vision.
**I shared the following questions/document with our entire school community. These conversations become the basis for our shared vision.**
Greatness can be scary, uncomfortable, extremely hard work and pressure packed. My father used to say "if being the best was easy everyone would do it." That is certainly true about Greatness. The next step on the Journey to Greatness is asking the smartest people in the room (your teachers) what Greatness is and looks like at your school. Remember, it may look different at every school. I gave all our teachers colored index cards and had them work in small groups to define Greatness. The results became the values our school uses to guide all decisions.
Once a clear collective vision is in place and Greatness has been defined at your school you need to walk the walk. It's starts with the Principal. The Principal needs to model it, promote it, hold people accountable for it, and acknowledge it when it happens at your school - Celebrate it!!! I often say enthusiasm is free and contagious, but so is negativity. The choice is yours, which will you chose today. The goal is to build capacity at our school in the form of student and teacher leaders, then getting out of their way. We want everyone at the top of the mountain! Have fun becoming Great!
Greatness is:(Please feel free to add to the list in the comment section)
When students come early & stay late...because they want to
When there is just as much activity after school as there is in school
When1st year teacher's volunteer to go into veteran teacher's classrooms to learn/share
When veteran teacher's volunteer to go int 1st year teacher's classrooms to do the same!
When teachers volunteer their own time before school, after school, during vacations and evenings to help kids
When teacher's room discussions revolve around student learning & effective teaching-not bickering about everything wrong with the school