In response to the post, “Who are We Letting In – Part 2,” one of the early LYS’ers writes:This is so spot-on! When given the task of taking over a high school to improve the graduation rate, math scores, drop out rate, AP participation, etc., what you described was one of the first things I did. We had already set a precedent among the principals. As a middle school principal, I would hear my 6th grade teachers complain about the lack of skills taught by the 5th grade teachers from our feeder school. The principal of that campus happened to be a close friend. Her 5th grade teachers said it must be the problem of our 6th grade team, because they knew they had sent the students to our middle school well prepared. We decided to see what was really going on at both grades. We started by flipping teachers for one day. Our 6th grade teachers taught 5th grade and their 5th grade teachers taught our 6th grade. What a revelation! That opened to door to awesome collaboration. The first meeting after our “Walk in My Shoes” day was incredible. There was no more finger pointing, but instead a focus to meet throughout the year to improve vertical alignment and support vertical instruction. TAKS scores rose on both campuses. While I couldn’t do all that I wanted when I went to the high school, because of my elementary school / middle school experience, it set the stage for open and ongoing vertical collaboration from all our feeder campuses. Everyone benefited. We really didn’t involve central office. I don’t remember asking for permission. We did it and shared the information after we did it. I think central office was relieved they didn’t have to plan anything. Our efforts were totally supported and the benefits were easily documented.SC ResponseI was talking to a principal today and the conversation came the point that you just illustrated beautifully. There are two types of leaders. The first type are those who understand the power of networking, collaboration and capacity building. The second type are the ones that for any number of reasons see success as a zero sum game and shun the power of the network. Unfortunately, it has been my observation that there are more leaders of the second type, than the first type. Luckily for me, the LYS Nation gives me strength and encouragement when too many number two’s (pun intended) start to drag me down.The other thing I like about your comment is that you didn’t need, nor seek central office permission to collaborate with your fellow principals and campuses. The proactive answers that a campus and principal needs to maximize student success are invariably found in the field, at the campus level, by teams of educators. If you are trying to come up with the answers all by yourself, or you are waiting for Central Office or Consultants to save you, the odds are not on your side. And this is coming from the man whose combined experience as a central office administrator, state administrator and consultant now far outweighs my experience as a principal.The bottom line, talk to your people, talk to your peers, and talk to the educators who have taught or will teach your students.Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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