Response to Barriers – The Complete Series

Based on reader requests, here is the entire Response to Barriers Series, edited as one post.   This short essay will address seven primary barriers to changing instructional practices and the appropriate response by leadership.   The Response to Barriers – Ignorance   The first barrier to changing instructional practices is ignorance, meaning that there…

When is the Best Time to Change

School leaders often ask me when the best time is to change. The answer is easy.   1.As soon as you realize that something isn’t working.   Once you realize something isn’t working, change.  To do otherwise is to willingly allow the organization to at best, waste effort, and at worst, self-inflict harm.   2.Or,…

Overwhelming Change

I work with a lot of principals that have accepted jobs at schools that are struggling.  Without fail, someone at Central Office will give them the unwanted advice of, “Don’t overwhelm the staff with too much change.”   But when the only positive practice occurring on campus is that daily operations resemble school, not overwhelming…

Reciprocal Frustration

Most people don’t want to actually get better. Scratch that. Most people want to get better, as long as it doesn’t require additional work and discomfort. Which means what they want to hear is this,  “You are doing everything that can be done.  Improved performance is not possible. So keep doing what you are already doing.…

The Best Time to Change

I recently met with a principal that I mentor.  She had identified some long-standing processes and procedures that were ineffective and impairing campus performance.  Her question, “When is the best time to make the change?” My answer, “Now.” “But won’t that be disruptive?” “Yes.” “Then shouldn’t I wait?” “No.” What is the value in prolonging…

Changing Habits is Hard

It is not easy to change a habit in general.  In the classroom environment, it is darn near impossible.  Between unchanging environmental cues, tenure, and stress the habits of teachers are cemented into place. So, expecting teachers to change a practice because we told them to is naïve. Believing that threats and memos will get…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of November 13, 2016

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of November 13, 2016 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. Congratulations to LYSer, Brandy Corbin! She is…

The Glorious Sound of Gritching

Too many school leaders (from Principal to Board Member) have an unrealistic view of the human condition.  They mistakenly believe that the best indicator of effective and productive staff is the lack of complaints.  This would be wrong. Today’s educational arena is in constant flux.  Standards change, accountability increases, the knowledge base expands, practices evolve,…

A Reader Shares… The Power of The Fundamental 5

A LYS Principal shares the following: LYS (and the LYS Nation), I wanted you to know that recently I was asked to write about one program that I implemented from curriculum and instruction that made a significant impact at my school. Consider this my personal endorsement. The one curriculum and instruction initiative that I have…

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…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of March 1, 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 March 1, 2015. 1. Why is there even a doubt which high…

The Kentucky Department of Education Writes… The Fundamental 5 Changes Schools

Three years ago, the LYS Team began working with the dedicated staff of Fairdale High School. The purpose, to help teachers and instructional leaders work just a little bit different in order to increase student opportunity.  Since then the student performance trajectory for this large, diverse, Title I school has been, quite simply… unprecedented. But…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of November 30, 2014

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 November 30, 2014. 1. Increasing academic achievement in schools doesn’t require acts…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of August 10, 2014

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 August 10, 2014. 1. Dear “Cut All Taxes” Political Candidate: Either you’re…

Moving the Entrenched Teacher

Evidently the scariest, most terrifying threat to education is the bitter, cynical, entrenched classroom teacher. They impede progress, sow dissent and are bad for students.  Oh by the way… these are the same teachers that for past twenty years have had no meaningful training, tools or support, have had their jobs threatened, their salaries eroded…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of June 1, 2014

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 1, 2014. 1. Congratulations to LYSer, Mary Paul! She is the…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of February 16, 2014

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 February 16, 2014. 1. Congratulations to LYSer, Duane Limbaugh! He is the…

A Reader Writes… The Power of Instructional Coaching – Round 3

In response to the 1/14/14 post, “The Power of Instructional Coaching – Round 2,” a LYS Assistant Principal replies: LYS AP Response Thanks for giving us something to look for.  It seems that Number 5 (Teachers not Closing the Lesson) is what we need to keep working on.  We just found an example of “the…

A Superintendent Writes… Chain of Command

A LYS Superintendent shares the following: LYS Nation, My understanding of Chain of Command has evolved as I have progressed through my career. And I have recently learned a very valuable lesson this year that I want to share.   Entry-level and mid-level administrators often view following the chain of command as essential to maintaining…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of January 5, 2014

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 January 5, 2014. 1. “Winging it” is not a plan and a…

A Reader Writes… Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game – Part 3

In response to the 6/26/13 post, “Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game,” a LYS Assistant Superintendent writes SC, Amen brother… I LOVE THIS!   We are literally meeting about making these changes.  Thank you for the ideas.   Keep them coming and GOD bless you. SC Response  Thank you, and I can always use…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of April 7, 2013

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 April 7, 2013. 1. Ms. Richmond (West Ave ES) was 5 for…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of February 24, 2013

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 February 24, 2013. 1. The unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of November 11, 2012

And we’re back… I hope everyone had a safe and restful Thanksgiving Holiday. Before we roll into the posts we’ll catch up on LYS Tweets, which continued during the break.  If you don’t follow @LYSNation, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of November 11, 2012. 1. If your students repeatedly can’t,…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of August 19, 2012

School has started, or is soon to start, across the country.  Hopefully, your school has moved forward in embracing bootleg technology.  If not, don’t give up.  Bootleg technology represents a significant and positive shift in education culture. It is a shift away from the illusion of absolute adult control and the role of the adult…

A Reader Requests… The Secret

A new LYS reader sent in the following question: SC, I enjoyed your presentation. I look forward to following the blog and learning your secrets, those that worked and those that didn’t.  I understand that the secrets are continuously evolving based on ever greater experience and I appreciate your sharing of emerging insights into this…

PowerWalks Hero Schools – 2011/2012 Roll Call

Change is hard. Change that leads to measurable improvement in student performance, harder still.  Which is why I post the monthly PowerWalks Hero School list.  If teams of teachers are to have a fighting chance to not only teach at full speed but also incrementally change the way the way they do it, they need…

A Principal Shares… The Power of the Fundamental 5

In response to the 3/7/2012 post, “State of the Blog – The Last 100 Posts (1,000 and Counting),” a reader shares: SC, The LYS blog has been a great companion and source for strength when bringing change to my middle school campus. In the Fall semester, we completed a campus book study of the “Fundamental…

A LYS Principal Shares… The Unexpected Side Effect!

A LYS Principal shares the following: SC, I just finished reviewing campus discipline data. Our campus discipline referrals have dropped 43% from Fall Semester 2010 to Fall Semester 2011. The major instructional difference… Power Zone (and the initial attempts at the rest of the Fundamental 5). Thanks! SC Response We all know that when we…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of April 24, 2011

First, every American owes a debt of gratitude to everyone who ever put on a uniform. Second, the world is a better place this morning, than it was yesterday morning. Third, with every major breaking news story over the past year, I either found out about it or got the early details on my I-phone…
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