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Islands of Excellence in a Sea of Mediocrity. Dr. John Draper CLAS Executive Director www.clasleaders.org. A Story of Discovery! .

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islands of excellence in a sea of mediocrity

Islands of Excellence in a Sea of Mediocrity

Dr. John Draper

CLAS Executive Director

www.clasleaders.org

a story of discovery
A Story of Discovery!

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost in southwestern Ohio. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend…

slide3
…I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The woman replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”

“You must be an accountant,” said the balloonist.

slide4
“I am,” replied the woman,

“How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct but I’ve no idea what to make of your information and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything you’ve delayed my trip.”

slide5
The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist, “but how did you know?”

“Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to your position due to a large quantity of hot air.”

slide6
“You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep,

and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems.

The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault!”

William L. Bainbridge

principals are
Paradigms

Beliefs

Priorities

Decisions

Actions

Principals are . . .
you walk out of your office and
You walk out of your office and . . .
  • Your 10:00 appointment with a member of the Board of Education is waiting.
  • Your secretary says “Billy’s mom and dad are here and would like to talk with you.”
  • A student comes breathless into the office and says, “Coach Brown needs you in the gym right now!”
  • The volunteer mom answering the phone says, “The superintendent is on line 3 for you.”
  • It’s raining and the weather alert goes off.
these are all important
These are all important. . .

But which are the most important?

  • Board Members?
  • Parents?
  • Teachers?
  • Superintendent?
  • Students?
you walk out of your office and10
You walk out of your office and . . .
  • Your 10:00 appointment with a member of the Board of Education is waiting.
  • Your secretary says “Billy’s mom and dad are here and would like to talk with you.”
  • A student comes breathless into the office and says, “Coach Brown needs you in the gym right now!”
  • The volunteer mom answering the phone says, “The superintendent is on line 3 for you.”
  • It’s raining and the weather alert goes off.
what if there is no clear answer
What if there is no clear answer?
  • When there are pros and cons on both sides but a decision must be made. . .
  • Which group gets a priority?
which group should be the principal s priority
Which group should be the principal’s priority?
  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Board Members
  • Students
  • Superintendent (Supervisor)
billingsley 1995 found that
Billingsley (1995) found that . . .
  • Most teachers formed perceptions about principal priorities, not based on direct discussions, but rather on the teachers’ interpretations of administrative decisions and/or actions over time!
what you do shouts so loudly in my ears that i cannot hear what you say ralph waldo emerson
“What you do shouts so loudly in my ears that I cannot hear what you say!” Ralph Waldo Emerson
decisions are based on priorities
Decisions are based on Priorities

Priorities are based on Beliefs

Beliefs are based on Paradigms

what are the correct priorities for principals
What are the correct priorities for principals?
  • Those which result in increased student achievement!
which principal priority produces the highest student achievement
Which principal priority produces the highest student achievement?
  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Board Members
  • Students
  • Superintendent (Supervisor)
what does the research say
What does the research say?

Priority Time Studies

Leadership vs. Management Focus Studies

Leadership Style Studies

the research
The Research…
  • Systematic sample of 100 Alabama schools
  • Only veteran principals with a minimum three years of experience were used
  • Focus groups provided qualitative analysis
  • SAT scores used to measure achievement
  • ANOVA used to determine significance
what were the results
What were the results?
  • 71 were veteran principals
  • 48 ranked students first (68%)
  • 15 ranked superintendents first (21%)
  • 8 ranked teachers first (11%)
student first focus group
Student First Focus Group
  • Putting students first is the right thing to do
  • It is my job to put students first
  • I am the best one to make student-first decisions at my school
superintendent first focus group
Superintendent First Focus Group
  • You are supposed to be loyal to the superintendent
  • The superintendent makes the final decisions—he is the boss
  • If you expect teachers to respect the chain of command—then you have to do the same
teacher first focus group
Teacher First Focus Group
  • Teachers are almost always right
  • Protecting teachers from outside interference is part of my job as the principal
  • Putting teachers first is the best way for me to get teachers to put students first
how did the sat scores compare
How did the SAT scores compare?
  • Superintendent First Group—45.53
  • Student First Group—55.40
  • Teacher First Group—60.63
why put teachers first
Why put Teachers first?
  • “If you don’t feed the teachers they’ll eat the kids,” said one Teacher-First Principal!
consider this finding
Consider this finding. . .
  • Heck & Marcoulides (1993) found that principals from high achieving schools protected their teachers from outside interference by parents and central office.
why teachers first
Why Teachers First?
  • Studies indicate the most effective principals are the ones who most highly value teachers, their time and their input; and clearly establish that priority in timely managerial and instructional decisions.
so do you let teachers vote on every decision
So do you let teachers vote on every decision?
  • Marshall (1991) found that the strongest predictor of principals who were characterized by teachers as shared decision makers was being comfortable taking responsibility for making decisions!
what does it all mean
What does it all mean?
  • It means that higher achieving schools are led by principals who put teachers first. . .
  • As long as their teachers put students first!
does it work for all stakeholders
Does it work for all stakeholders?
  • Supervisors put principals first as long as . . .
  • Principals put teachers first as long as . . .
  • Teachers put students first?!
so how do we measure teachers
So how do we measure teachers?
  • Principals should measure and evaluate teachers based on two factors:
  • Teacher’s first priority—students
  • Student learning
implications for policy makers
Implications for Policy makers
  • Effective principals rank teachers as their first priority
  • Effective principals communicate high expectations for all
  • Effective principals protect teachers from outside interference
the little lost lonely lamb
The little, lost, lonely lamb?

An Attention Deficit,

Hyperactive, Disrespectful,

Loud, Unruly,

Oppositionally Defiant Disordered,

Seventh Grade Ram,

Who Had Run Away Ten Times

In the Last Month!

what does it mean for principals
What Does it Mean for Principals?
  • Filter Every Interaction with Lens of Positivity!
  • Avoid Blanket Memos!
  • MBWA
  • Set up BVD’s
  • Make Every Decision Based on Your Best!
  • RTTET
what does it mean for central office supervisors
What does it mean forCentral Office Supervisors?
  • Build better schools by helping principals change/eliminate teachers who don’t keep students as the main focus
  • Build better schools by filtering every non-essential task from federal, state and board directives
use your greatest tool
Use your greatest tool…

As leaders,

the greatest power we have

is to

control the conversation!

the best academic model is
The best academic model is…

Board

Supervisor

Central Office

Principal

Teacher…

how do you make it happen
How do you make it happen?
  • Tipping Point—Malcolm Gladwell
    • New York Crime
    • Broken Window Theory
  • 212 Degrees—Success is not a single decision but a progression of small ones!
slide43

“We must reject the idea-well intentioned, but dead wrong—that the primary path to greatness in schools is to become more like a business.” Jim Collins Good to Great

what s great
What’s Great?!?
  • Measure outputs not inputs
    • NYPD Police Commissioner—we’re not report takers, we’re the police!
    • Cleveland Orchestra—BHAG of being the top three in the world
  • Be trial lawyer or lab scientist
good to great
Good to Great
  • Level 5 Leadership—ambition for the organization first
  • Less executive power—more legislative power
  • True leadership is getting people to follow when they don’t have to!
slide46
Level 5 Leadership is being clever for the greater good—making the right decisions happen, even if they are unpopular!
first who then what
First Who. . .Then What!
  • Islands of Excellence
    • Weak administrator
    • Roger Briggs, science department
  • Getting the right people on/off…
  • Change the default on Tenure!
  • There is no magic wand for hiring—but work speaks for itself!
wendy kopp
Wendy Kopp…
  • Graduated with an idea
  • Great teachers for America’s worst classrooms
  • Low pay, terrible conditions
  • 500 applicants in the first year
  • In 2005, 97,000 applicants for 14,100 positions
teach for america
Teach for America
  • The more selective the process the more attractive it becomes
  • People desperately desire to make a difference
  • Dedicated, disciplined people are magnets for dedicated disciplined people
hedgehog concept
Hedgehog Concept

“The essence of a Hedgehog Concept is to obtain piercing clarity about how to produce the best long-term results, and then exercise the relentless discipline to say “no, thank you” to opportunities that fail the hedgehog test.”

hedgehog concept52
Hedgehog Concept
  • Three Circles overlap
  • What are you passionate about?
  • At what can you be the best in the world?
  • What drives your economic (resource) engine????
slide53

At what can you be the

Best in the World?

About what are you Passionate!?

What drives your Resource Engine?

what is our passion
What is our passion?
  • Student Learning
  • Growth and development
  • Security and safety
  • “Let the children come to me. . . and he took them in his arms. . . and blessed them!”
the best in the world
The Best in the World!?

Teaching, inspiring, and protecting

the students in our classrooms!

our economic engine
Our EconomicEngine?
  • Money is not an output for educators—but is in an input!
  • How can we sustain our resource engine?
  • Political skill
  • PUBLIC SUPPORT
hedgehog concept57
Hedgehog Concept

“The essence of a Hedgehog Concept is to obtain piercing clarity about how to produce the best long-term results, and then exercise the relentless discipline to say “no, thank you” to opportunities that fail the hedgehog test.”

the flywheel
The Flywheel

“In building a great institution, there is no single defining action, no grand program, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Rather, it is like pushing a flywheel.”

the flywheel59
The Flywheel
  • Don’t stop
  • Focus on outputs
  • Don’t stop
  • Stay on your hedgehog concept
  • Don’t stop
  • Choose great people
the flywheel60
The Flywheel
  • Don’t stop
  • Build a culture of discipline
  • Don’t stop
  • Brand your department
  • Don’t stop
  • Expect greatness
cleveland orchestra
Cleveland Orchestra
  • Tuesday, Sept. 11th, 2001
  • Thursday’s concert dilemma
  • Mahler’s Fifth Symphony begins with a desolate funeral march announced by a solo trumpet, joined by cataclysmic onslaughts from the full orchestra, and ends 65 minutes later with a celebration of birth and renewal.
what really matters
What really matters

Is that we build islands of excellence in a sea of mediocrity!

islands of excellence in a sea of mediocrity64

Islands of Excellence in a Sea of Mediocrity

Dr. John Draper

CLAS Executive Director

john@clasleaders.org