Following Through…

So just recently we rolled out a new accountability and expectation code in our Middle School to try and inspire and empower our beautiful kids to reach a higher personal and academic standard. We have raised the bar across the board with consistent expectations for students and teachers alike in every area of the school, and we’ve tightened up and stregthened our collective approach to celebrating student success and addressing questionable decision making through reflection and personal ownership. So far it’s been very successful, and it’s not surprising that our students are living up to the high expectations that we’ve set…teachers too! We’ve framed this initiative around accentuating the positive and trying to catch our kids being great, either inside or outside of the classroom, and the kids are responding like you’d expect…like leaders.
           We’re trying to inspire everyone in our Middle School to be their best selves through personal and group accountability, and all of this has me thinking about the importance of follow through, and integrity, and leading by example. I remember when I first started thinking about jumping into a leadership role as a young teacher, my mentor and Principal at the time, Tony Simone, told me that the key to leadership is to always say what you mean, and mean what you say…and always follow through! He said that the best leaders consistently walk the walk, and lead by example, and are always true to their word. He said that people may question and dislike a decision that was handed down, and they might scoff at a mistake that you’ve made, but they should never be able to question or doubt your integrity. He said that a person is only as good as their word, and that nothing is more important than your personal and professional character. He asked me to go away and think about what people might say about me when I’m not around, and it was a turning point in my life and my career.
            You see, in order to expect the best out of our students, we have to give them the best of ourselves. We are role models for them each and every day, and they are looking to us to set an example and to lead the way. I would argue that it is who we are as people that makes the biggest difference in their lives…not what we teach them in the classrooms. We need to teach them to be kind, and hard working, and compassionate…we need to teach them that it’s okay to make mistakes, and to take ownership of these mistakes and find a way to do better…we need to teach them about respect and tolerance and acceptance, and we need to teach them to believe in themselves, and to find their passions, and to see the beauty in life’s small moments. This is the real work that we should be committing to, and I’m proud to say that I’m seeing it happening all over the school…and it’s changing our school for the better. I’m asking you all this week to do two things…first, ask yourselves what people might say about you when you’re not around, and if you’re really walking the walk…and secondly, continue sending students to my office to be celebrated for being leaders…the Principal’s office should be a place where they’re excited to go! I love this new initiative and I’m thrilled to be working with a group of educators who are focused on and passionate about making a true difference in the lives of our kids.
            Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be change agents for our students and good to each other!
Quote of the Week…
I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent.
— Horton the elephant (Dr.Seuss)
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