I grew up in a family of professional and military pilots. And I too (briefly), flew small planes.  I mention this because there is a fundamental pilot practice that I learned in the cradle that served me well as a school leader.  A practice that every school leader should make a daily activity.

Before EVERY flight, EVERY pilot does a walk around his/her aircraft.  The pilot visually inspects every inch of the plane looking for anything out of the ordinary.  If anything is not perfect, the flight does not occur. 

The pilot does not skip this task because he/she is running late or has other important things to do. The pilot does not delegate this responsibility.  The pilot does not leave this inspection to chance, so he/she uses a checklist to insure he/she didn’t miss something due to a distraction.  The stakes are too high.

So how does this translate to school leadership? Simple.  As a school leader, every morning when I got to school, I walked the inside and outside of the building.  I made sure that the physical plant was maintained and ready for the business of school.  And if something was out of place I made note of it and assigned someone the task of correcting the issue.  This simple act of checking for the little things, every day, without question made my campus safer and more effective.

My challenge to you, school leader, is to adopt this practice for a month and see if you can tell the difference. Below is a basic checklist:

Campus Checklist – Exterior

___ Grass and shrubbery maintained ___ Fences and gates in good repair ___ Signage appropriate, current and in good repair ___ Doors locked ___ Lighting adequate and in good repair ___ Windows clean and in good repair ___ Gutters in good repair ___ Paint in good repair ___ No graffiti ___ No trash ___ Other exterior maintenance issues: ______________

Campus Checklist – Interior

___ Floors clean ___ Windows clean ___ Bathrooms clean and stocked ___ Cafeteria clean ___ Signage appropriate, current and in good repair ___ Bulletin boards appropriate, current and in good repair ___ Office areas: organized, clean and professional ___ Reception areas: organized, clean, presentable furnishings ___ Paint in good repair ___ No graffiti ___ No trash ___ Other interior maintenance issues: ______________

Campus Checklist – Classrooms

___ Clean ___ Clutter-free ___ Organized ___ Furnishings clean and in good repair ___ Technology working and in good repair ___ Paint in good repair ___ No graffiti ___ No trash ___ Other classroom maintenance issues: ______________

Campus leader, it is your responsibility to make sure that your campus is ready to take off every day.  Embrace it.

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 Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: American Association of School Administrators Conference; National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
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