I'm almost three and half years into the superintendency with this year being the most engaging up to this point. I've had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of a team in Kansas that is focusing on redesigning the high school experience for students.
The driving points for me go back to the start of this blog on developing leaders for the future. This development starts with how we train ourselves to look at change and the responses when plans don't go our way. Helping ourselves and students develop a vision for what they want to see happen is crucial in being this change.
Energy is the difference maker and when a group of people can work through those barriers the change process becomes part of the culture. Constant communication and collaboration are what I see as the foundational blocks to helping to develop our future leaders.
For me being a Kansas kid, anytime, I see what may appear dorky or a bit weird to most people about agriculture and farming strikes a chord with me. There has been a YouTube video posted recently by a few teenagers in Assaria, KS about farming. In case you haven't seen it, Google is so kind to make this a convenient click of a few buttons to embed this wonderful joy into this blog.
The next thought is what does this video have to do with leaders for tomorrow. Well, I'm always in search of a good analogy, example, non-example; whatever, it may be to draw a connection and this video provides just that opportunity. As educators we grow people. People of all shapes, sizes, densities, and colors will not only different outward appearances, but some much potential energy that's it hard to even comprehend the possibilities. Now those possibilities could turn into diamonds or could turn into a drain on society with educators carrying much of the materials needed to grow people.
Growing people on the other hand is a bit different than crops and that true challenge comes from knowing just the right amount of independence or dependence a child needs in order to continually be challenged. The guys in this video have it figured out though. As in growing anything, it takes humor, knowledge of the topic and a willingness to take a chance a be a bit different.
I hope the best for these gentlemen and their future. This might just be the nudge they need to do even greater deeds for a larger world.
Changes are definitely in store for educators across the nation. Education policy sets high standards for the future of the children in the U.S., however, there are differing views as to what is exactly the best way to go about reforming education. The evaluation process for example is under the umbrella of having a great revamp in how teachers and administrators are evaluated.
I'm not sure who doesn't want to see our students pushed and prepared for the future, but at the same time good people are possibly pushed away from becoming an educator.
Tonight was the first night that I've hosted an event to gather parent and student input about hot topics at the middle school. The event was attended to the level in which I was guessing. It was scheduled only about a month ago and still had enough people in attendance to get some good feedback.
There are issues at the middle school in which I lead that are too complex to solve at just the building level. Bullying has taken on so much intensity and fervor that at times I feel the rational side of us is not willing to look at possible solutions. As educators we are left with sorting out information, which we do not always know is the truth. People may believe whole heartedly they are telling the truth, however, sometimes their information isn't based on what actually happened.
I'm education because I believe young people need a good start to their lives. They need help in going in a direction that will produce a happy and healthy life. I know students need adults in education that are well grounded in learning theories, democracy, and relationship building. However, it appears that the longer I'm in this business that people do not forgive easily and mistakes that happen should dictate how students will be from the present to the future.
I however, do not believe that students will always behave the way they do as middle school students. There is so much potential in our youth that we set their future on events that happen when they are 10 or 12.
I live in a small community and want to see the bright students return to help the community grow and flourish, however, in a world where those bright stars were a bit awkward as middle schoolers, blame sends them away forever. My advice: set goals and have a way to know if you are staying on track and to not give up - ever.
Brain research has always caught my attention in regards to educating students. The latest research published this week on how often people's minds wander during activities in life. The study utilizes technology to find information in real time. According to the study, people's attention go astray up to 47% of the time, especially during mundane tasks, i.e. entering grades. As I read into the story, I did find the first comparison the researchers are wanting is to compare happiness levels and mind wandering. The intrigue for me was how does this apply to education?
As a new school year begins, the challenge of setting attainable goals as a school, classroom or district come to the front of the list of things to do. My thoughts in regards to this issue come from a variety of sources, but I wanted to share a couple of web pages that give me direction in regards to the start of a new school year.
This topic comes up in Kansas after a week of severe storm warnings and several tornado sightings in the area. When is it too dangerous for students to be out and about compared to the lack of opportunity that is taken away because of the weather? As an administrator the safety of students is one of the major components of the position, but at the same time I feel it's important to still provide opportunities. There is a line between taking those opportunities away and keeping a student or child safe. To me it would be an interesting topic to survey the parents in the community to find out where that level of safety v opportunity exists.