Managerial Efficiency / Leadership Failure

It should go without saying, but sadly, common sense is not common practice…   If you are in a leadership position and your staff is attending training, you have to attend and participate. At the campus level, this means that the Principal, Assistant Principals and Instructional Coaches attend teacher training.  At the district level, the…

The Anonymous Critic

The scourge of the field-based leader (in schools, think Assistant Principal and Principal) is the anonymous complaint. It will make the field-based leader question what she is doing and throws weak, rear echelon managers into a tizzy.   Which is exactly the goal of the anonymous complainer.   Lacking both a spine and a legitimate complaint, the…

A Reader Asks… Proof My Resume

A LYS Assistant Principal requested that I proof her resume prior to applying for a Principalship. The following are the notes I sent back to her.   First, there is nothing overtly wrong with your resume.   There are about as many formulas for the “right” resume as there are job openings, but it all…

A Reader Writes… A Common Scope and Sequence

A LYS Assistant Principal shares the following:   SC, You recently presented in our district on The Foundation Trinity. It should be required training for every school administrator in the country.  But specifically, it was your explanation of why a school must have a Common Scope and Sequence that changed my entire way of thinking.…

Student Punishment Alternatives – Option 3

You are starting to feel a little more confident with reducing the amount of punishment administered on your campus. But having only two punishment replacement options seem limiting. It is. So here is my favorite strategy. I implemented it when I was an assistant principal and it changed the culture of the campus almost overnight.…

A Reader Asks… Campus Administration Survival Skills

A LYS Assistant Principal asks the following: SC, What knowledge or skills help a campus leader move through a range of demands and decisions required to efficiently and effectively manage operations and resources? SC Response Great question that has a two-part answer. Part 1: Experience.  The principalship represents the greatest learning curve in education.  To…

The Problem and the Solution

Today, I was on a campus training teachers. A teacher comes to my third period session beet red and spitting venom. It seems that she sent a student to the office for immediate execution and the assistant principal just administered a slap on the wrist. Yet another case of administration not supporting teachers. After she…

When Observing a Class – Do Something if Necessary

This year I’ve been training a large number of professional support staff on how to conduct formative classroom visits. This is a good thing.  But these new observers aren’t Assistant Principals or Principals and that has highlighted a blind spot in our observer training, which I’m rectifying now. You are the observer, and you visit…

The Positive Benefit of Dropout Accountability

I was recently talking to a group of high school educators who were bemoaning the fact that in their state they would now be accountable for reducing the dropout rate.  The crux of their complaint is that they should not be held accountable for a student/parent decision that they essentially have no control over. For…

A Superintendent Shares… Wanna Be An Adnimistrator

An old school LYSer and Superintendent shares the following. LYS Nation, I received an email today from a candidate for an assistant principal opening in my school district.  I thought you would enjoy my response: Dear Mr. Superintendent, My name is (MASKED).  I am currently teaching Spanish at (MASKED) High School.  This is my third…

A Reader Writes… A Stressed Out Staff – Part 2

In response to the 1/27/15 post, “A Stressed Out Staff,” a reader writes: This is absolutely absurd. There is no empathy in this article. This is more “blame the teacher” propaganda. If a school staff is supposed to be a team, this completely undermines that idea. Encouragement and stress relief is what is needed. Support…

A Reader Asks… Five Assistant Principal Hacks – Part 3

In response to the 4/14/16 post, “Five Assistant Principal Hacks,” a LYS Principal asks: SC, I need to know more about #1, “The written apology letter to the offended teacher is the best consequence for the student sent to the office, for almost every offense.”  Sounds soft, but I know you better than that. SC…

A Reader Asks… Five Assistant Principal Hacks – Part 2

In response to the 4/14/16 post, “Five Assistant Principal Hacks,” a LYS campus administrator asks: SC, Tell me more about #4, “Take care of discipline in the hallway, outside the classroom, not in your office.” Thank you, SC Response I figured this one out within the first month of being an assistant principal. My first AP…

Superintendents Write… Five Assistant Principal Hacks – Part 1

In response to the 4/14/16 post, “Five Assistant Principal Hacks,” some LYS Superintendents stepped up and shared the following: Here is what I wish I knew back then. Listen a lot, talk little.  If you do talk, talk last. You may be the smartest person in the room, but virtually everyone in the room knows…

Five Assistant Principal Hacks

Recently, I was talking to a first year Assistant Principal who was explaining the challenges of school administration to me (the AP had no idea who I was). I let the AP talk because I’m always interested in the mindset of the person who is new to the job.  After the conversation, it got me…

The Campus Pre-Flight Check

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…

Strip Away the Complexity

For instructional leaders there is an ongoing, yet hidden, battle between IQ (intelligence) and EffQ (effectiveness).  And in almost all cases, the wrong Q wins.  Let me explain.  Your typical instructional leader is smart.  They see the complexity of problems and create complex solutions to solve those problems. When these smart people were solo operators…

A Principal Shares… This Is Hard

A first year LYS Principal (and former LYS teacher and Assistant Principal) shares the following: LYS Nation, Here is what I have learned in my first nine weeks as a principal: There is nothing more important than a culture of high achievement, respect and professionalism. And trying to move people towards that can be pure…

A Stressed Out Staff

I recently met with a first year assistant principal for a coaching session and the first thing she said was, “I don’t know what to do.  Teachers are coming to me crying.  Telling me that there is just too much to do. That there’s not enough time. That our students are too far behind to…

An Assistant Principal Asks… Lesson Frame Clarification – The Close

A LYS Assistant Principal asks the following: SC, I have had some great conversations about Lesson Frames with my Teachers. Should the closing task be a separate task from the main activity of the lesson? SC Response Great question. Don’t think, “task.” Think, “proof of learning.” The Close (which occurs at the end of the…

Just 1 Week Away – The Fundamental 5 National Summit

The second annual Fundamental 5 National Summit will be held in Austin, Texas on October 5th and 6th.  Last year over 400 educators from across the country (and Canada) met for the purpose of better implementing the Fundamental 5 on their campuses. This is a practitioner’s summit, with real live teachers and campus administrators leading the breakout sessions.…

Fundamental 5 National Summit – Early Registration

  This wise owl is worried you’ll miss your chance to save money on your  2014 TASSP 2nd Annual National Fundamental Five Conference on Student Success Registration. And he is keeping watch on our calendar – MONDAY, September 22, is your last chance to register at the discounted rate and to secure your housing at…

The Fundamental 5 National Summit – Just 2 Weeks Away

The second annual Fundamental 5 National Summit will be held in Austin, Texas on October 5th and 6th.  Last year over 400 educators from across the country (and Canada) met for the purpose of better implementing the Fundamental 5 on their campuses. This is a practitioner’s summit, with real live teachers and campus administrators leading the breakout sessions.…

Coming Next Month… The Fundamental 5 National Summit

The second annual Fundamental 5 National Summit will be held in Austin, Texas on October 5th and 6th.  Last year over 400 educators from across the country (and Canada) met for the purpose of better implementing the Fundamental 5 on their campuses. This is a practitioner’s summit, with real live teachers and campus administrators leading the breakout sessions.…

Register Now… The Fundamental 5 National Summit

The second annual Fundamental 5 National Summit will be held in Austin, Texas on October 5th and 6th.  Last year over 400 educators from across the country (and Canada) met for the purpose of better implementing the Fundamental 5 on their campuses. This is a practitioner’s summit, with real live teachers and campus administrators leading…

A Reader Writes… Resume Basics – Part 1

In response to the 6/5/14 post, “Resume Basics,” a LYS Principal writes: LYS Nation,  One way to stand out is an online résumé! Check out re.vu Here is what mine currently looks like, http://re.vu/jessicahanson   SC Response I like it. Click on the link because it is worth checking out. Here’s the website, http://re.vu if…

Resume Reminders

Just a couple reminders about your resume. First, you should update your resume at least once a year.  Add your new accomplishments and cull the experiences that are now ancient history.  You should do this just prior to your annual appraisal. It’s a great way to be prepared to discuss the year in a way…

Resume Basics

LYS Nation, it’s time to think about your resume, whether you are looking for a job or not.  In fact, if you are not looking for a job this is best time to pull it out and polish it up a bit, when there is no pressure.  In my career, I have reviewed 1,000’s of…

A Superintendent Writes… Getting the Job – Now

In response to 4/17/2014 post, “Getting the Job,” a LYS Superintendent writes: SC, As you know, I read the blog every day and I loved your post on getting the first principalship. Timely, because right now I am looking for a new principal.  Here’s what I’m looking for, NOW: The ideal candidate will be a LYSer…

A Superintendent Shares… Retention

A LYS Superintendent reflects on the following: LYS Nation, My first year as an assistant principal was a whirlwind.  I wanted to do a great job, so I was tough, on everything.  I worked discipline and truancy with a vengeance.  Too many missed days, and I would put you in Saturday school to make up…
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