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…

I Have A Big Problem With Hypocrites

A half kudo to the Waco Independent School District School Board.   They recently accepted the resignation, with a partial contract buy-out, of their Superintendent.  The buy-out is why I’m subtracting half of the kudo.   The Superintendent was busted with pot in his car during a routine traffic stop. Once busted, the Superintendent began…

You Don’t Get Credit For The Unicorns

As educational leaders (at all levels), we all make the same mistake. We present some THING to our staff and let the staff know that we want the THING implemented. Then we go back to doing our vital and important leadership tasks.  A little later, we circle back to see how the THING is going.…

Why Schools Fail

Are there bad public schools? Absolutely. But schools don’t fail because of bad teachers and bad kids. Schools fail because of leadership failure and/or political design.   Show me a school that is failing, and nine times out of ten it is failing because of one or more of the following reasons:   A Weak…

Chronic Misbehavior

I was recently on a campus where I observed the following;   A chronic and wide-spread tardy problem.   Chronic and wide-spread unpreparedness for class. Simply showing up with assigned readings not being completed, notebooks forgotten, and nothing to write with or on.   Wide-spread personal use of cell-phones for entertainment purposes during lectures and…

A Little Real Talk…

It’s time for a little real talk for the Oblivious and Unaware in our profession.   High School and Middle School Football Coaches, you had all summer to prepare for August football practices and revise the playbook.  When you sit in the back of the room during August staff development sessions and diagram plays and…

Politics 101 – Blame the Victims

Recently, a high ranking, politically appointed education official was addressing an audience of school administrators. Here was the gist of his message to the most motivated of school leaders, the ones who were at a professional conference, out of town, during the Summer.   “Educators, across our state we have over 1,000 Future Farmers of…

Say It Out Loud

I have trick that helps me from doing things that are contrary to what I want to actually accomplish. I say the thing I’m doing out loud. It’s amazing all of the things we do every day, because that’s the way we have always done it, that actually fail the “Say It Out Loud,” test.…

No Walk-Thru’s… No Real Time Problem Solving

Last week I was on a campus that is doing OK. Not great, but not bad. School is going on, students are doing work. And, like all campus leaders, the administrators are running around the building like firefighters… Putting out little fires all day long.   But, what they are not doing is faithfully getting…

Ignorance Vs. Willful Injury

There is not a single campus that I have visited that is not actively and aggressively implementing practices that are detrimental to student outcomes.  That is not an indictment.  Even the most forward leaning campus has to overcome engrained habits, routines and traditions. Habits, routines and traditions that were inflicted on us and we have…

Brezina Says, “Just Do SOMETHING”

Recently I was speaking to a group of new Principals that wanted to avoid making any mistakes that would get them fired.   Note: Experienced principals generally don’t have this fear.  They are usually at the point in their career where they think, “Go ahead and fire me, I could use the vacation.”   So,…

We Have the Best People…

“We have the best football players in the county. We just trust them to practice on their own and show up on Saturday and win games.” –Never said by University of Clemson Head Coach, Dabo Swinny “We have the best ball players in the league. All I have to do is just work at my…

Character Education Programs

Due to my background and travels, a lot of educators will ask me about character education / discipline management programs.  Which ones work best, which one to avoid, etc.?  There are lots of good ones out there.  Personally, I endorse Girls and Boys Town.  Girls and Boys Town is to discipline management what Benjamin Bloom…

Curriculum Sources

Recently, I was meeting with a school board to provide some training on the practices of effective school districts. I was pointing out the providing teachers with a common scope of sequence is a leadership responsibility, and to not do so is a failure of leadership.  This board instantly understood the logic of this and…

LYS Tweets from the Week of August 13, 2017

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of August 13, 2017 when they were first posted.  And if you are on Twitter, you might want to check out the Tweeters who made this week’s list. 1. In Mary we see that humility is…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of August 6, 2017

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of August 6, 2017 when they were first posted.  And if you are on Twitter, you might want to check out the Tweeters who made this week’s list. 1. Drama is a weak leader’s way of…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of June 25, 2017

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of June 25, 2017 when they were first posted.  And if you are on Twitter, you might want to check out the Tweeters who made this week’s list. 1. Lousy leaders spend too much time imposing…

Get Off The DAMN Intercom

Ok, I hit my breaking point today. After years of hints, suggestions and recommendations, I’m done. So Principals, pay attention. You and your office staff, stay off of the DAMN intercom during the school day.  Teachers have more to teach, to student body of more diverse abilities, with greater accountability than ever before.  Every time…

The Uncomfortable Truth About Leadership Failure (B)

A continuation of the discussion from yesterday. It is leadership that is positioned to see the “big picture.” It is leadership that controls resources. It is leadership that oversees the system. It is leadership that leads.  When all, or even some, of the critical components of instructional infrastructure are not provided in a district or…

The Uncomfortable Truth About Leadership Failure (A)

When one or two teachers are not successful, that generally represents a personnel issue.  Personnel issues are best solved through coaching. A leader will coach the teacher to success or coach the teacher out of the organization. But when lots of teachers are unsuccessful, that generally represents leadership failure.   The mere suggestion of leadership failure…

Being a Smart Ass Isn’t Leadership

Recently, I observed a Principal who was sitting with some teachers during a staff development session. A nice guy with a quick wit.  For each point made by the trainer, he had the funny, sarcastic example that belittled the point.  When doing a group exercise, he focused of the attributes of two of the teachers…

Enemies to Instruction

We just wrapped up the two-day TASSP/LYS Leadership Academy, a fantastic experience with almost 250 campus-based school leaders participating and networking. One of the presenters was the Maverick Superintendent of Wyoming and LYSer, Fletcher Turcato.  In his presentation he talked about Enemies of Instruction. His premise, which I agree with, is that we allow too…

A Superintendent Writes… Red Shirt Your Freshmen – Part 1

In response to the 4/29/16 post, “HS Accountability – Red Shirt Your Freshmen” a LYS Superintendent writes: SC, Something to consider and a possible warning. When restructuring the order of high school tested subjects, you must keep in mind that rearrangement will mean some tests will not be given for a year or two.  That’s…

Checkpoints and the Un-informed Leader

Sometimes I’m in a district and I witness leadership making a huge mistake. Today was one of those days. Today, I heard a Superintendent tell his Principals that if their checkpoint scores didn’t improve then their jobs would be at risk. Definitely a case of backwards thinking. Checkpoint scores are about providing the following information:…

Failed Leadership Begets Failed Teachers

Today, I heard a teacher on the staff of a school that is experiencing declining student performance say, “I’m satisfied with my performance.”  He said this in front of his principal.  And his (non-LYS) principal had no response. By their words and their actions, this teacher and his principal are OK with marginalized student outcomes…

A Superintendent Writes… A Reader Doesn’t Like the Perfect Storm – Part 1

In response to the 8/5/15 post, “A Reader Doesn’t Like… Observations From the Perfect Dysfunctional Storm,” a LYS Superintendent Writes:  To My Central Office Brethren: Offended? No offense was intended, but allow me to retort. First, full disclosure: I am the Principal who wrote the posts that Sean responded to. And yes, as an old…

A Reader Doesn’t Like… Observations From the Perfect Dysfunctional Storm

In response to the series of posts, “Observations From the Perfect Storm,” a reader writes the following: SC, I am offended by many of your views of central office. In large districts, I have seen this as being an issue, but in the majority of districts, many in upper administration are there because we want…

A Principal Submits… Observations From the Perfect Dysfunctional Storm – Point #1

The following is the first of a multi-point field report from a LYS Principal. SC, The difficulties attributed to urban schools are largely a myth.  I find the little difference between the students in poor urban settings, poor suburban settings and poor rural settings. For the record, I have worked in all three setting.  What…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of June 28, 2015

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now Twitter users.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of June 28, 2015. 1. “Texas public schools are fully funded.” A lie…

Exactly How Many Guns Do We Need

We continue to arm ourselves and we continue to kill each other with greater ease and efficiency. It sickens me to hear the comments that if only the good people at a church service were armed that maybe the armed racist, terrorist would not have shot them all down. Perhaps we should reflect on the…
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