Welcome back to the 2018-2019 school year! My wish for each of you is that you have a year filled with joy and success. How we define success is a challenge within itself. I believe that we need to continually reassess the direction that we are going in. Regardless of your position within your school district, you have a path that you have defined and that you have been going down. How do you know if your work is making a difference? How do you know if the path you are on is the right one?
In the past I have shared a brief story adapted from Brain Power that illustrates this point. A group of managers got lost in the woods. Undaunted, they organized into several teams and began hacking a path through the dense under-growth. Hours passed, but the managers were cheerful-they had become an efficient “operating unit” and were proud of their achievement. In fact, one of them decided to climb a tree to survey just how far they’d come.
But the woman shouted down, “Stop! We’re heading in the wrong direction. We’ll have to change course.” The managers shook their heads in disbelief and defiance, while one man spoke up for the teams: “But we can’t stop now! We’re making great progress!”
This wasn’t the first group to learn that it’s hard to give up what you do well even if it’s no longer relevant. As education leaders, each of us must continually reassess the direction that our organization is moving. By working with our communities, we can create the vision and path that our communities embrace. As a result we can each be empowered to lead the process of innovation focused on increasing the achievement levels of ALL of our students.
It’s vitally important that everyone within your organization and community have a thorough understanding of what “success” looks like for our students and schools. It’s hard to hit the target if we don’t know what the target looks like!
Our students only have one opportunity to be a first grader, a sixth grader or a student in a high school class. Let’s each make sure that we are doing what needs to be done to provide each student with the best possibility for that student to grow and develop to their maximum potential.
Have a FABULOUS year! Please contact me if I can ever be of service to you!