In response to the 11/11/2010 post, “Yes, I Know the Hours are Long – Part 5,” a LYS Principal writes: As an old LYS principal, I can tell you most administrators are running scared. The game is instructional leadership, and most administrators have very little training or experience in this area. Lets face it, traditionally about 70% of the principal’s job was monitoring extra curricular activities, which required about 50% of the time. Now monitoring extracurricular activities still takes 50% of our time, but it is only 10% of the job. The other 90% is instructional leadership. Obviously there needs to be a shift in what administrators spend their time doing, but we are so locked into tradition. It sounds like your school needs to take a deep breath, focus only on curriculum and instruction, in particular the Fundamental Five. Believe this – an aligned curriculum, implementation of the Fundamental Five, and a commitment to frequent curriculum assessments, will transport your school a long way towards success in one year. All of the other things you are doing are taking away from the time, energy, and effort that you can spend on the fundamentals I just listed. I know, you are thinking it can’t be this simple. It can be. I have been asked to lead four AU high schools. Three went Recognized. I am now working on my 4th. Several things: I NEVER remove teachers from the classroom for meetings or professional development. The only exceptions (which I loathe) are if they go to a conference or to our Education Service Center. My faculty meetings ALWAYS include a discussion on the Fundamental Five. I may discuss other instructional and assessment issues, but I almost NEVER discuss operational issues in a faculty meeting. Teachers can read about the operational (managerial) needs of the organization in a memo. I look for things to take off of teachers’ plates. I subtract mandatory fund raising, class sponsorships, and as much duty as possible. At this point only AP’s, counselors, and paraprofessionals do duty on a regular basis. And of course, me. A note on high quality instruction. High quality instruction doesn’t have to be difficult to develop. Sean observed a teacher on my campus recently with a simple C-Scope assignment requiring the students to identify similarities and differences. The teacher hit a home run by merely having the student turn the page over, take a position on the learning objective, and had them write a paragraph defending their positions. Time spent developing lesson – minutes. Time preparing the materials – minutes, it was just one page. Impact on learners – synthesis and evaluation level with a high level of relevance. In other words, a home run. SC Response The concept is easy, the execution is difficult, the expert execution is a life-long endeavor. Dr. Rod Paige (my first superintendent, former Secretary of Education) asked me if I was worried about other school improvement organizations and/or consultants, stealing the LYS system. I laughed and said “No.” Because our real “secret” is purposeful action, hard work, and bulldogged determination. The LYS Nation simply outworks the field. You did an excellent job of explaining what we do in about four paragraphs. When those outside of the LYS Nation read what you wrote they either think, “I already do that,” or “we’re already beyond that simple solution.” They are wrong and the proof is in the data. All things being equal, the student taught by a LYS teacher outperforms the student taught by a non-LYS teachers and the LYS school outperforms the non-LYS school. You can love the LYS Nation or hate the LYS Nation. But if that love or hate distracts you from the work of teaching and learning, you are falling further behind the LYS teacher who is in the Power Zone working with teams of students as they craft their argument (using historical and modern elements) for or against joining the League of Nations. Going… Going… Gone! Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…Visit the LYS Booth at the TASA Mid-Winter ConferenceHear the LYS Presentation at the National Conference on EducationVisit the the LYS Booth at the NASSP Conference