Friday, April 29, 2016

HS Accountability - Red Shirt Your Freshmen

Accountability is a game. Play the game right and your students, your staff and your campus wins.  Play the game wrong and everyone suffers.

Recognizing this, I am baffled why high school leaders continuously place the burden of accountability on the shoulders of their most fragile students. Especially when the only reason to do so is the inability to be flexible in one’s thinking. Here’s what I mean.  In Texas, the high school accountability tests are:

Algebra 1, traditionally a freshman course.
English 1, traditionally a freshman course.
English 2, traditionally a sophomore course.
Biology, traditionally a freshman course.
U.S. History, now a junior level course.

Which means that the campus accountability rating is driven by:

Freshmen – 3 Tests
Sophomores – 1 Test
Juniors – 1 Test

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Instead do this.

Leave History where it is.

Move Algebra 1 to the 10th grade year. Have your freshman take Pre-Algebra (a local credit course). 

Move Biology to the 10th grade year. Have your freshmen take IPC or Anatomy & Physiology.

Move English 1 to the 10th grade year. Have your freshman take English 3.  Yes, you read that right. There are no prerequisites for any English course.

Move English 2 to the 11th grade year.

By doing the above the campus accountability rating will be driven by:

Freshmen – 0 Tests
Sophomores – 3 Test
Juniors – 2 Tests

I like those odds. Play to win

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association Conference (Multiple Presentations); LYS / TASSP Advanced Leadership Academy (Keynote)
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook


Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Secret of System Success

The secret to system success is simple.

1. Strip away all the window dressing.

2. Strip away all the superfluous complexity.

3. Strip away all the extra steps.

4. Build in redundancy.

Then implement the system, with fidelity, at 100% effort.  Then in short time windows, assess, refine, adjust and repeat at 100% effort.  As each cycle is executed efficiency and expertise incrementally improve. 

For example, the Fundamental 5 are the Fundamental 5 because whatever your step 6 is... It isn’t fundamental. And omitting even one of the Fundamental 5 leaves significant performance on the table.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association Conference (Multiple Presentations); LYS / TASSP Advanced Leadership Academy (Keynote) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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 job was at a huge, inner-city high school.  The position was created because student discipline was out of hand, all the current administrators were overwhelmed, and the school was teetering on being unsafe. 

As soon as I got there, the other AP's dumped their old discipline referrals on my desk and sent the new discipline referrals, still in the hand of the offending student, to wait outside my office. Within a week, two things were immediately clear to me. 

1. The old referrals were often two months old. By the time I talked to the teacher and the student, usually neither could remember the details of the incident. Then, if I decided to administer a consequence that was either difficult on the student or inconvenient to the parent, the parents would push back.  Their valid argument, if the offense was that serious, why did we wait two months to do anything?

2. The students waiting to see me would often be in my office all day long, waiting for their turn to be punished.

So here's what I did.  I got AV cart, plastic file box and a laptop computer and took all of the office referrals that were older than two weeks and went class to class.  If there was a student that had an old office referral in the class, I called the student out, had a 30 second discipline conference where I told the student that this was his one warning.  Shape up or next time I'd double the consequence for not being smart enough to accept my one-time shock probation offer. The student and I then signed the office referral, I filed it in my file box and moved on to the next student and/or the next class.

While doing this, I caught a lot of students roaming the hallways and I observed a lot of lazy instructional and classroom management practices.  So I did two things while conducting my backlog rounds.

1. I escorted students back to their class, instead of telling them to get to class.

2. I constantly checked up on the classrooms where the teacher practice was fanning the flames of student misbehavior.

Within a month, the discipline referral backlog was cleared out. I had personally met and talked to the chronic offenders. I had spent walking/talking time with the chronic class skippers. And the teachers with the laziest classroom practices were slowly evolving because I checked on their classrooms multiple times a day.

Now, crazy as it seems, I actually had free time.  So I just kept up my rounds every period.  Dealing with all the small discipline referrals in the hallway and getting students into class.  

As one extra AP at an out-of control school, by proactive accident, I changed the entire student behavior culture of the campus in less than a semester. 

Did the other AP's follow suit? No. 

Did the principal recognize what was happening? No. 

Did I realize the power of what I was doing? No.  

But the Assistant Superintendent who created the emergency AP position did, and because of his recommendation and support, I became a Principal before all the other AP's on the staff.  At my new campus, taking care of discipline in the hallway became our SOP.

And at the HS campus I left, within a semester, adult practice and student performance had regressed back to the mean.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association Conference (Multiple Presentations); LYS / TASSP Advanced Leadership Academy (Keynote) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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 more than you do.

And,

I like what they told us as recruits in the military, “Show Up, Suit Up, Sit Down, and Shut Up.”

And,

Your job is to make your principal successful.  No matter what you think right now, you will find out that his/her job is more difficult than you imagine.

Come on Principals. What would you share with the younger, Assistant Principal, you?

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association Conference (Multiple Presentations); LYS / TASSP Advanced Leadership Academy (Keynote) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook


Monday, April 25, 2016

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of April 17, 2016

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of April 17, 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. You create an environment where everyone has a voice by allowing writing and frequent small group purposeful talk. This is major issue with ESL students. (By @iPrincipalJJ)

2. All the data in the world is useless...if you do nothing with it. (By @ShawnaFord1)

3. "Encouraging creativity and critical thinking helps us prepare our students for an uncertain future." (By @myrondueck)

4. Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to. (By @richardbranson)

5. Study shows 90% of employees rank themselves in the top 10% of performers. How? Because we tend to rank our intentions versus the actions of others. (By @JasonJj7)

6. The leader who refuses to make hard decisions will eventually forfeit their right to make decisions at all! (By @LeadershipCures)

7. “Too often we wrongly think that most kids cannot think really hard.” (By @grantwiggins)

8. Thinking... People will always say that "innovation" is not in the curriculum. Funny thing is that neither are worksheets. (By @gcouros)

9. Our goal is not to win. It's to play together and play hard. Then, winning takes care of itself. – Mike Krzyzewski (By @CoachMotto)

10. You can either lower goals to match your effort or you can raise your effort to match your goals. (By @CoachKWisdom)

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association Conference (Multiple Presentations); LYS / TASSP Advanced Leadership Academy (Keynote) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook


Friday, April 22, 2016

A Brutally Honest Discussion on Staffing Assignments

Now is the time when principals begin to think about staffing assignments for the upcoming year.  Let me help you with that decision making process.

1. Your best teachers have to teach the courses that are most important to the campus.  And like it or not, the courses that are most important to the campus are the state tested courses.  What this means is if 10th grade English is the state tested course, then your best English teacher has to teach 10th grade English, not 12th grade AP English.

2. Your second best teachers have to teach the most at-risk/fragile kids. Using our High School English example from above, what this means is that the second best English teachers have to teach the Freshman who barely passed English as 8th graders.

3. Your least experienced teachers have to teach the students in the best position to be independent learners, if necessary.  Using our English example, these teachers would teach the 11th and 12th grade honors courses.

Now you may be asking, what about my worst teachers? That’s simple. If you allow your worst teachers to stay on your campus and continue to teach students, then you aren’t leading, you are managing.  

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association Conference (Multiple Presentations); LYS / TASSP Advanced Leadership Academy (Keynote) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook