I have been reading a book recommended to me by one of our Bexley parents. And yes, that is quite the title. The basic premise of the book is that often what we are told is required to be successful really isn't supported by evidence. For example, we are told to never quit. But sometimes when you quit the thing that isn't working or you don't like, you get to focus more on the area that you love or in which you have great skill. And you actually achieve more! It's not quitting because it's hard; it's quitting because it isn't yielding the results you want.
Makes sense. Many professional athletes were multi-sport participants in high school, but almost all elite athletes eventually focus on just one sport. The ideas and research presented in the book are so compelling that I bought the book for each of my own kids as they are both just beginning their careers.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree has also caused me to think about how we help students determine how to be successful. Do we present traditional views about getting ahead, such as taking more AP classes and building a resume of diverse experiences, even if these experiences don't inspire them? Do we teach our students to learn deeply? Or to check boxes, so they can get to the next thing, whatever it may be?
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As we prepare to embark on a new school year, it makes sense for us to pause and think about the advice that we give to our students, whether they are six or sixteen. Perhaps the best advice for success is some of what Barker presents, and probably our moms taught us. Make a friend by being a friend.
Take care of yourself emotionally and physically; rest and time away are important. Surround yourself with positive people because it makes you a better version of yourself. This year we are beginning a very exciting chapter in the history of Bexley City Schools. We are going to engage each student through experiences that help them to become more aware of themselves and others.
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We are going to equip each student through the intentional teaching of critical thinking skills. And we are going to empower students by helping them to be problem-solvers and giving them the ability to be self-directed learners. We are going to support each child in defining their success and then do our part to help them achieve i t. Barker, E. Potential: something that can develop or become actual Merriam Webster.
So much of education is about developing students to reach their potential. To realize what they are capable of becoming.
We recently celebrated with our graduates; we celebrated what they had become and now look forward to their next season of growth. Fill in the blank. As educators, we strive daily to ensure that each child develops the knowledge, skills, and mindsets that will help them to be successful both in school and in life.
But what will success in life look like? Big Potential by Shawn Achor. Achor writes about difference between small potential, that which we can accomplish individually and Big Potential, that which we accomplish collaboratively. Achor sites examples and research that shows when we work together, surround ourselves with positive influences, and support the development of others, we can do immeasurably more than we could alone. Together and with the Bexley community, they raise thousands of dollars and achieve more than they could on their own.
This is life success. Working, learning, and growing together. We are there, and we are unstoppable. Great things are happening in Bexley Schools! So, how are we doing half way through our first year? I am pleased to report that we are in progress on all ten annual goals for Below are some examples of our progress by theme. Open doors that lead to flexible, expansive future opportunities. Leverage and grow vital community relationships. B uild upon a student-centered learning culture O pen doors that lead to flexible, expansive future opportunities L everage and grow vital community relationships D evelop a high-performing team.
We are just four months into implementing our strategic plan or Bexley Blueprint, but we are making definite progress on implementation.
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What have we completed so far? After the Board of Education adopted the strategic plan by a vote on August 20, we got to work organizing the plan in order to ensure and monitor implementation. The Blueprint is organized around the four themes, three-year objectives, indicators of progress, and annual goals. In order to achieve those first-year goals on the way to three- year objectives, we had to organize the plan into a format that would spell out clearly what each administrator had to accomplish with their staffs toward the plan.
These are the steps that we took begin implementation:. These action steps are examples of the daily work that our staff is doing to implement our plan in order to achieve our vision to provide an exceptional education today and tomorrow that will engage, equip, and empower each of our students for learning today and success in the future. That is Bexley Bold!! In January the District Leadership Team will meet to do a mid-year analysis of progress toward each of the ten annual goals that we identified for this year.
We will post progress for each goal on our website in late January or early February. Over the past few weeks, I have written about the three of the four themes upon which our Bexley Blueprint is built. The four themes that guide our work are as follows:. Today, I am pleased to address our fourth, and perhaps most foundational, theme: Develop a high-performing team. Relationships and service to students are at the heart of education; therefore, a high-performing team is foundational to achieving the goals and objectives set forth on our strategic plan. How do we develop a high-performing team?
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We invest in our people. We have set an objective to achieve the optimal Bexley culture over the next three years? We will meet that objective when we have consistently aligned our team to common vision, mission, and values across the district. We will collectively work to deliver an exceptional K experience that will lead to students who are engaged, equipped, and empowered for their future.
A second indicator of our progress toward the optimal Bexley culture is a learning environment in which staff and parents are knowledgeable of 21 st Century learning in order to support student learning goals. Once again, common goals and common understanding among the team is foundational to achieving the goals that we have for our students. We have identified four strategies that we will implement this year in order to move toward developing our high-performing team. Those strategies are as follows:. Consistently communicate vision, mission, and values to staff, students, parents, and community via multiple formats.
Administrators participate in specific leadership development programs. Implement a Parent Institute.
Implement district-wide instructional goals that confirm the Bexley learning philosophy. I can report that we are well on our way to implementing these strategies and moving toward our goals and objectives. We have taken steps to improve professional learning experiences for staff and administrators aligned to our instructional goals. We have begun the steps to launch our Parent Institute in early And we have begun establishing structures to support teachers in understanding and implementing instructional goals based upon student data.
All of our work will help all of us work together in supporting our drive to be Bexley Bold.