Archive for the ‘Vision’ Category

William Polard Quote

I read a blog post written by Scott Rocco (Our Future Will Not Look Like Our Present) where he described education being in a transition going in many different directions.  There are many reasons that our education system is going in different directions, but to me, the main reason is because our students are demanding it.  They are demanding it because they are different.  Times are different.  The world is different.

Is our educational system different?  Has it evolved with the times?   May a little.  Probably not totally.  For many, the answer is no.

Students still must learn to read, write, and do math.  These are basic skills that are the foundation to everything we do in life.  Students must also learn to think for themselves.  They must be allowed to make mistakes as well as learn from those mistakes.

I would argue that many teachers, administrators, and many parents would agree with these previous statements.  I would also suggest that many of the same teachers, administrators, and parents think that they got a decent education and that if it was good enough for them, it ought to be good enough for students today.

We can’t be that arrogant!

In his blog, Scott Rocco states, “Just because how we taught yesterday worked doesn’t mean that we can teach that way for tomorrow’s world.”  I would also add that just because how we learned it worked for us, that doesn’t mean that it will always work for students today or in the future. (Read the chapter, answer the questions at the end, and have a test on Friday!!).

Where do we start?

I don’t know if there is a magic age or grade level, but I do know that it can’t wait until high school.  We have to have teachers and administrators who don’t want to keep doing the same thing they have always done (because it’s easy to be comfortable).  And we must have parents that understand that the way they did things in school (although it may have worked for them) is not the way that students today should have to do things.  It’s OK for school to be different.  It should be because the world is different.

Albert Einstein once said about INSANITY,


We can’t continue to do the same things over and over and expect our students to do the same things over and over and expect them to be prepared for our world today or our world tomorrow.

So what do we do to keep from going insane?

There’s not one correct answer, but there is a wrong answer !


Simply Lead

Today was an AWESOME day!

I was fortunate enough to attend Chick-fil-A Leadercast 2013, a one day event that is held LIVE in Atlanta, Georgia and broadcast to hundreds (over 750, I think) of locations around the world.

I can’t say enough about how great of an event this was.  Not only were the speakers and the information they shared great, you could also download the Chick-fil-A Leadercast app.  This was an amazing app that had additional leadership resources, You could take notes directly on the app, and, at one point the emcee, Tripp Crosby, Facetimed with everyone who had downloaded the app.  It was just plain cool!

The theme of this year’s Leadercast 2013 was SIMPLY LEAD.  So in keeping with the theme, I will share a little bit of what I got from each of the speakers.

1.  ANDY STANLEY — Best-selling leadership author & communicator and founder of North Point Ministries

  • Take complicated things and make them simple.
  • What is your core responsibility?
  • Create a one-sentence job description that describes your critical role, your unique contribution to your organization.

2.  JOHN C. MAXWELL — Internationally-renowned leadership expert, coach, and author who has sold over 20 million books

  • Take something complicated and make it simple.
  • How to Simply Lead — It’s basic math!
  • ADD value to people everyday.
  • SUBTRACT your leadership landmines.
  • MULTIPLY your strengths by developing them.
  • DIVIDE  your weaknesses by delegating them.  (let somebody do it who does it well)

3.  SONYA RICHARDS-ROSS — 2012 London Olympic GOLD Medalist in Track & Field

  • Make a vision board.  Focus on your goals.  Look at it everyday.
  • Focus on one thing.  Don’t multi-task.
  • Focus on victory … not what can go wrong.

4.  DR. HENRY CLOUD — Leadership consultant and coach.  Clinical psychologist.

  • Bring necessary endings.  Prune it.  Quit doing stuff that’s not necessary.  Keep doing stuff that’s vital for growth.
  • Don’t be a HOARDER.  Don’t hang on to the past.  Yesterday has gone — let it go.  This includes people too.
  • Focus your attention on the relevant.  Keep current.

5.  DAVID ALLEN — Best-selling author.  Personal and organizational productivity expert.

  • Crisis evokes serenity.  Why?  Because you’re focused.
  • Everybody has the same amount of time – 24 hours in a day.
  • Have a mind like water.  Don’t over react or under react.
  • Don’t multi-task.  Only do one thing at a time.

6.  MIKE KRZYZEWSKI — Head Men’s Basketball coach, Duke University and Team USA

  • You can’t hold back.  Don’t get side-tracked from your mission.
  • In order to learn and grow, you have to get out of your comfort zone.
  • RULES are externally applied.
  • STANDARDS are internally applied.
  • You must have standards.  Have your team “own” the standards.

7.  CONDOLEEZZA RICE — Former Secretary of State (2005 – 2009). Professor at Stanford University.

  • Recognize the simple things that you can do better.
  • The key to complexity is to see simplicity.
  • Even under the most dire situations, try to be an optimist.

8.  JACK WELCH — Former CEO of General Electric

  • Be straight with people.
  • Generosity Gene — Good bosses have it.  They love to give and not take.
  • When you say something is important, back it up.
  • Get rid of the high performer with low values.  This person will destroy your organization.
  • Make your organization a place where people love to be there.

9.  LCDR RORKE DENVER  — Navy SEAL and star of the 2012 movie,  Act of Valor

  • Calm is contagious.  Stupid is also contagious.
  • How can you constantly improve?  Keep reaching!
  • Lead from the front.

This was the kind of event that everyone in any leadership capacity should attend every year. As a mater of fact, you should go ahead and put next year’s date on your calendar — May 9, 2014.


Today I attended a meeting today in regards to Career Tech courses and different certifications students can get to make them more marketable to employers.  One speaker was talking about Baby Boomers, those who were born between 1946 and 1964, and the fact that many are retiring or will be retiring soon and the jobs they had will need to be filled.  However, companies are having a hard time filling these positions because applicants in the workforce are not adequately prepared.

I think many schools have really messed this up!  Have we REALLY prepared our graduates for the “Real World” with actual skills that can help them be successful in a career?

The fact is that many, students today are not auto programmed to think that once they graduate from high school they will go to college, declare their major, graduate from college, and then get a good, high paying job.

Many of our students do not plan on going to college.  That is something that lawmakers in Texas seem to be beginning to understand and accept the fact that a one-size-fits-all curriculum in high schools today is not what is needed.  I am glad that these legislators are finally beginning to realize this.   We have to do whatever we can to help our students be prepared for life after high school.  This includes preparing students with higher-order thinking skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, and collaboration skills.  Students don’t have to be in Calculus or Physics to get these.  This can be accomplished in Career Tech classes while the students, in addition to the fore-mentioned skills, also earn certifications that will help them be more marketable when they apply for a job.

We have the Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964), Generation X (born between 1965-1980), Generation Y (born between 1980-2000, and now Generation Z (born between 2000 – present).  Society today is different and ever changing, but what has not changed much is our schools.  Many of our mission statements say something about “preparing students to be productive members of society, or productive citizens, etc.”  What are we really “preparing” our students for?  Does passing 15 End-of-Course tests prepare them for real life?

I can take tests

Career Tech classes are vital for everybody.  These are the students who we will call on one day to fix our air conditioners in August or our heaters in January.  These are the students who we will need to program a certain software application that will help our business run more efficiently.  These are the students who will one day take care of you when you are sick and in the hospital.  These are the students who we will call on one day when our vehicle messes up and we need it fixed correctly so we can get back and forth to work.  These are the students who one day will be working on a pipeline running from Canada to Texas.  These are the students who will one day build you a new house. These are the students who will be working on jobs that we haven’t actually thought of yet.

Our schools can’t stay where we are right now.  We must continue to look at our courses and look for ways to meet the needs of ALL of our students — those who go to college and those who go into the workforce.  Our students deserve our best efforts.


We are already 53 days into 2013.  February is about to be over and March is right around the corner.  So is your State Assessment (especially if you are in 3rd thru 12th grade in Texas).  How do you feel? Are you FIRED UP?

Is this you?

Teacher depressed

What about this?

Ray Lewis Fired up

How do you WANT to feel?

I hope you want to feel FIRED UP.

If not, it’s time to STEP UP!

No matter how bad you feel about the current school year, it is of the utmost importance to your students, to your staff, AND to yourself that you STEP UP and get FIRED UP!!!

It may not be easy, but I know you can do it.  All you have to do is make the DECISION … make the COMMITMENT … and get FIRED UP!

I believe in you.

school design

Right now in Texas the Legislators are meeting and hashing out what changes they are going to make to public education.  We don’t know what will happen, but what we are sure of is that there will be major changes to the educational landscape in Texas.    In any case someone or some group will not be happy.   Here’s the big question, as I see it … as a result of this legislative session, will the students in the state of Texas be better off as a result of the actions of these Legislators?  That remains to be seen.

There are many arguments as to what our students really need.  Parents say one thing.  Business leaders say one thing.  Colleges and Universities say one thing.  Legislators … who knows?  See my point?

What do the students say?  That’s a great question.  Do they have a voice?  At one school in Massachusetts, they do.  In the following video, which is about 15 minutes long, we get an idea of what that answer would be.  I highly encourage you to watch it.  It really opened my eyes to the fact that, more often than not, we take our students for granted.  These students in this video could very well be representative of students in every state, and they should be given a lot of credit for taking control of their own learning.  And their principal should be given a lot of credit for having the guts to allow this project.

I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you think about these students and what could happen to education if we allow students to design their own schools.




Common advice from knowledgeable horse trainers includes the adage, “If the horse you’re riding dies, get off.”

Seems simple enough, yet, in the education business, we don’t always follow that advice. Instead, we often choose from an array of other alternatives which include:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Trying a new bit or bridle.

3. Switching riders.

4. Moving the horse to a new location.

5. Riding the horse for longer periods of time.

6. Saying things like this … “This is the way we’ve always ridden the horse.”

7. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

8. Arranging to visit other sites where they ride dead horses more efficiently.

9. Increasing the standards for riding dead horses.

10. Creating a test for measuring our riding ability.

11. Comparing how we’re riding now with how we did ten or twenty years ago.

12. Complaining about the state of horses.

13. Coming up with new styles of riding.

14. Blaming the horse’s parents. The problem is often in the breeding.

15. Tightening the cinch.

16. Set new skill standards for dead horses.

This is not a new story. It was given to me by one of my Ag teachers who got it from a previous principal quite a few years ago.

Can you relate to any of these?

the world

Do your students want to learn?  Do they look forward to coming to your class?  Do they get a chance to create, to collaborate, to connect?  Or do they get a chance to fill in the blanks on a worksheet?  Like Will Richardson says in his book, Why School, the world has changed — and continues changing — rapidly and radically.  Technology is a huge part of our lives today.  Everybody’s lives.  Teacher’s lives and, yes, even students.  Why not harness the power of technology and its opportunities to connect and learn.  Be creative.  Make it fun.

How do you use technology in your classes?  How do you connect with the world?  How do your students connect?