Quit Doing Things That Don’t Matter

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I just met with the leadership team of a campus I am coaching.  The campus trails its peers when it comes to student performance and is working to catch up.  Today was a process check-up meeting.  I asked how things were going and the report was:

1. Common assessment scores are a significant concern, with a number of deficits due to the fact that content pacing is lagging.

2. Student discipline is sloppy, most noticeably in the hallways during passing periods.

As we began to discuss proactive interventions for these issue, a roar rumbled thru the hallways during the middle of the class period.  I stopped the discussion and asked the principal if they needed to go investigate.  The answer was “No. It’s just the school-wide door decorating contest.”

“Why,” I asked.

“For school spirit,” was the answer.

I then asked, “If we’re not on pace with the curriculum and student behavior in the hallway is not under control, wouldn’t it seem that a second period door decorating contest might be counter-productive?”

Sound of crickets in the conference room. Sounds of a hurricane in the hallway.

The lesson is that the schools that out-perform their peers reduce the stuff, things, and activities that do not directly align with their critical goals and targets. The schools that do not out-perform their peers do a lot of high energy meandering.

Bottom line: If your students are behind, don’t stop teaching and learning to decorate the door.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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