The following is the fourth of a multi-point field report from a LYS Principal.

Once a school is acceptable, most of the support a principal receives for improving instruction and learning vanishes.  Very little pushback from staff will be allowed from central office administrators.  The amount of tolerable pushback varies from district to district, but invariably the level is small.

SC Response Again you are correct.  Improvement always includes a level of gritching and discomfort.  It’s a natural by-product of the movement away from the status quo.  In systems that understand and accept this, the gritching is viewed as an indication that people are engaged in the process of improvement (an obvious good thing).  Unfortunately, though Boards, Superintendents and Central Office personnel may understand this at a theoretical level, many miss the boat at the real world application level of this concept. 

Instead, they evaluate campus leadership based on the lack of complaints that are brought to their attention.  This ensures that the informal (and in many cases the formal) principal evaluation system is based on maintaining the status quo.  This is a doom loop accelerator.  

In fact, with every struggling campus I have ever worked with (now in the 100’s), almost every employee on those campuses exceeded expectations on their last evaluation.  Or as one LYS Principal so eloquently put it, “I’ve inherited a staff of happy superstars that by any objective data haven’t done anything of merit in the last four years.”

The critical factor remains… Leadership

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on!
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool)
  • Upcoming Presentations: Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations), Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association Fall AP Conference, The Fundamental 5 National Summit (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on  and like Lead Your School on Facebook