Thursday, August 14, 2008

Urgency Alert

After seeing CST and API scores drop for the first time in four years, I've been doing a lot of soul searching. Although, some would say it's not all about the test scores, when the percentage of students who are proficient in math drops at every grade level, then I don't see how anyone could characterize that year as a total success even if the kids left for summer vacation with smiles on their faces.

Today, we kicked off the year with a Principal training led by Andy Platt, co-author of Skillful Leader II. One item in his book that caught my attention above everything else was a descriptor for urgency. Here's a paraphrase, "If you have a teacher at your school, that you would consciously avoid putting your child into her class, you need to take action". Ouch! Hey, my kids attend my school and the above statement is true for me. This thought has jolted me into being resolved to confront any performance that is less than excellent in myself, our teachers, staff, and students.

My goal is to help build a school that is worthy of my own children... right now! How's that for urgency?


dcowart said...

So once we identify the problem, we need to figure out what to do. With challenging unions how do we address this problem? Do we work with the teacher and try to provide the professional development needed to improve a poor teacher or do we try to get them out of the school or education all together?

danw said...

Speaking for myself, I think there is plenty of work I can still do with my teachers before seeking to remove them. I can do a better of job of giving explicit directions for improvement and providing resources to enhance instruction. Once I've done that, and they fail to improve or respond, then I take action, per the contract, to discipline and remove if necessary. I just think my biggest need is to give teachers clear direction and constant feedback against that high standard as the first big step.