Posts Tagged ‘Vision’

Texas Graduation

 

When they enter high school next school year, all current 8th graders in Texas will be under a new graduation plan called The Foundation Plan.  In addition, each student will have to choose an Endorsement (students may be able to get multiple endorsements) from the following areas:

  1. Business & Industry
  2. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
  3. Arts & Humanities
  4. Multidisciplinary
  5. Public Services

All students will take the required courses from The Foundation Plan along with certain courses that will satisfy the requirements for the Endorsements and they will graduate with at least 26 credits.  Students, along with their parents/guardians, are required to meet with the high school counselors and determine in writing which endorsement they want to get.  It is also important to note that this choice of endorsements is not set in stone and can be changed by the students and parents.

We have been working with the Texas Education Agency, various Education Service Centers, and other school districts to put together a plan for what we will be able to offer at Ore City High School.   We are now ready to present to the parents and to the students so they can make informed decisions about their future.   We will set a date in the very near future to have a series of meetings with parents and students to discuss this new graduation plan and each endorsement that we will be offering at Ore City High School.

The following information is what I will be using when we have our meetings. Click on this link –>  Ore City High School Foundation Plan with Endorsements

I am including it in this post so you will be able to look it over and get a preview of the new information for The Foundation Plan and each Endorsement for Ore City High School.  IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS INFORMATION IS SPECIFIC TO ORE CITY HIGH SCHOOL.  Each school has to determine what it will be able to offer, and not all schools will offer the same endorsements and the same pathways to get the endorsement.

I am fully aware that this will be somewhat confusing and you will have many questions, especially for those of you who have students in high school now or had students already go through our high school.   Please do not hesitate to ask any questions.  My goal is to make this as easy of a transition as possible for both the students and the parents.

Although this is a completely new graduation plan, I really believe that it is good for all students.  As you know, all students are different and have different interests and this gives them choices and flexibility.  I am excited about the opportunities this new graduation plan offers.

 

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book 2

The first book I have read from My Summer Reading List is The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon (@JonGordon11).  This book follows George, who is forced to ride the bus to work because of a flat tire on his car.  George meets a unique bus driver and an interesting cast of fellow bus riders who, over the course of two weeks share the 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy.  In the process, they help George turn around his life, his team at work, and his marriage.

It all begins with positive energy.  No one goes through life untested and positive energy is what is needed to overcome these obstacles we all face in life.  Positive People and Positive Teams produce Positive Results — and the essential ingredient is POSITIVE ENERGY.

As he begins his journey of transformation from riding the Energy Bus, George meets the driver, Joy, who is instrumental in changing his life.  She, along with the other passengers, give George (and us) 10 rules that will change his life (and ours) forever.  It’s all about the positive energy we get from these ten rules.

Rule #1 — You’re the Driver of Your Bus

People feel like they don’t have a choice so they give up.  But you do have a choice!  Take the wheel and choose to create the life you want … one thought, one belief, one action, one choice at a time.  It starts with a decision — decide what you want.  Then YOU start creating it.  Create your world.

  1. My vision for my life is (including my health) is …
  2. My vision for my work, career, job, and team is …
  3. My vision for my relationship and family is …

It all starts with these three statements and the ENERGY to think about it and to identify what you want.

Rule # 2 — Desire, Vision, and Focus Move Your Bus in the Right Direction

Joy, the bus driver, shares this important piece of wisdom.  The more you focus on something, the more you think about it, the more it shows up in our lives.  Again, there is energy in thought.  Spend your time thinking about what you want rather than what you don’t want.  Don’t complain.  Complaining is focusing on the negative.

Be a Winner, Not a Whiner!

Rule # 3 — Fuel Your Ride With Positive Energy

There is power in positive energy!  It is important.  Positive energy will keep your bus moving forward with momentum.  As you know, there is a lot of negativity in the world, so choosing positive energy is important to help deal with the negative people and negative situations that can knock you off course.

One passenger on The Energy Bus named Danny shares this formula:  E + P = O

“E” stands for “events” in your life.  “P” stands for “perception” (and it also could stand for “positive” energy).  “O” stands for “outcome”.

You can’t control all the events in your life, but you can control how you perceive them.  Your perception can control the outcome.

Remember this, positive energy and positive people create positive results.

Rule # 4 — Invite People on Your Bus and Share Your Vision for the Road Ahead

You cannot always do things by yourself.  You need a good team.  You need to get like-minded people on your bus, and the more positive people you get, the more positive energy will be created.  Share your vision and make it clear what you expect.

Rule #5 — Don’t Waste Your Energy on Those Who Don’t Get on Your Bus

The enemy is negativity and it’s everywhere.  How do you deal with it?  Simple.  Don’t worry about it.  Don’t waste your energy on it.  The more you worry about it, the less positive energy you will have.

Rule #6 — Post a Sign That Says: NO ENERGY VAMPIRES ALLOWED

Surround yourself with a positive support team.  These people will have a big influence on your life and whether it’s successful or not.  You want people around you who will INCREASE your energy not DRAIN your energy (energy vampires).  You have to be strong enough to let people know that negativity is not allowed.

Rule #7 — Enthusiasm Attracts More Passengers and Energizes Them During The Ride

Positive energy works.  It spreads one person at a time.  You need to be the CEO – Chief Energy Officer.  The CEOs are excited, positive, and optimistic.  They don’t let fear stop them.  When you are enthusiastic, people will want to get on your bus.  People notice it.  People feel it — energy and enthusiasm.  This is like a beacon of energy coming from your heart.  It’s real.  And when you are energized, others will be energized.  A positive culture will out perform a negative culture every time.

Rule #8 — Love Your Passengers

To tap into the power of your heart and lead with a positive, contagious energy, you must love your passengers.  You have to love your employees, your customers, and your family.  And, you have to share that love.  You have to let people know that you care about them…really care about them.  When you do this, you’ll get love back.

Let your people use their gifts, their strengths.  Allow them to do what they do best.  Bring out the best in others, and by doing this, it brings out the best in you.

Rule #9 — Drive with Purpose

Purpose is the ultimate fuel for your journey through life.  When you drive with purpose, you don’t get tired, bored, or burned out.  Find excitement in the mundane, the passion in the everyday, and the extraordinary in the ordinary.  Find your purpose and share it.  This is positive energy.

Rule #10 — Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride

Don’t focus on what stresses you.  That’s no fun.  Know that you are too blessed to be stressed.  Remember all of the things you are thankful for because this feeling of gratitude will fuel your performance everyday.  It is uplifting.  Live and work like you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Be optimistic.  Be positive.  Find Joy!

 

 

Everything happens for a reason and we don’t necessarily know why.  Life is a test.  Adversity helps us grow.  Negative events and negative people teach us what we don’t want so we can focus our energy on what we do want.  There will always be challenges and problems and we must face each challenge and problem with a positive outlook.  Learn from the past and don’t focus on the future — focus on the path.  Experience Joy in everything you do and everywhere you go.

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.

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?

12

How many students struggle taking tests?  Not because they don’t know the subject matter, but because they just don’t understand what a question was asking?  They just might not know what a word meant.

Larry I. Bell, author of the book, 12 Powerful Words That Increase Test Scores and Help Close the Achievement Gap, has come up with a list of 12 words that when students are exposed to these words in a systemic, in depth manner, they will have to think at a higher level.  By asking teachers to model these powerful words in daily conversations, as part of the questions on tests and quizzes, students are less likely to be intimidated by them on standardized tests; therefore, relieving any testing anxiety.

Unfortunately, in our current educational testing system, with the infinite wisdom of legislators and policy makers who mandate so many “required state assessments”, high stakes testing is a huge part of the school year.  And for many students, with so much riding on these tests, it’s no wonder that many students suffer from test anxiety.  However, with continuous and consistent exposure to these 12 Powerful Words there will be an increase in the student’s confidence level as well as a reduction in testing anxiety.

The key is for all students to be thoroughly familiar with these 12 Powerful Words Every teacher in every class must consistently use these words.  When this happens, all students will benefit.

Here are the 12 Powerful Words with a short, “student-friendly” definition of each:

  1. Trace – list in steps
  2. Analyze – break apart
  3. Infer – read between the lines
  4. Evaluate – judge
  5. Formulate – create
  6. Describe – tell all about
  7. Support – back up with details
  8. Explain – tell how
  9. Summarize – give me the short version
  10. Compare – all the ways they are alike
  11. Contrast – all the ways they are different
  12. Predict – what will happen next

What strategies can teachers use to make the 12 Powerful Words a part of every student’s vocabulary? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Learn By Doing

Question:

What do all of the following have in common?

  • in football – tackling drills, passing routes by receivers, extra points, “Run it again!”
  • in baseball – batting practice, “situations”, hitting your cut-offs
  • in basketball – free throws, lay-ups, three pointers, press break, in-bounds plays

Answer: 

In order to be good at these skills, you have to practice them.  You learn them by doing them.   You don’t get good at them by just having the coach TELL you how to do it.  To get good at these skills you have to do them.  You learn by doing.

I read an article written by Alan Haskvitz, in which he outlines traits of great teachers.  Great teachers keep their students off balance.  They are not boring.  They challenge the students.  They motivate the them to do their best.

Great teachers are diverse.  They have to be because not all students learn the same way (contrary to popular belief by some teachers).  We all have different learning styles and the great teacher uses many different methods to reach their students.

Great teachers create an environment where students are independent.  They can get answers on their own.  They are not spoon-fed.  They learn by doing.  This will promote a deeper understanding for the students.

Great teachers set high expectations and bring out the best in their students.  Great teachers encourage risk-taking, knowing that sometimes the students will make mistakes and sometimes even fail.  They learn by doing.

Great teachers are also, and will always be,  students.  They must be constant learners themselves.  They learn by doing.  They set the example that learning is something good.

As a teacher, it is our job to set up the classroom environment that is conducive to learning.  As an administrator, it is our job to set up the school environment that is conducive to learning.  We all know this.  It’s nothing new.  But, it unfortunately is not always the case in every classroom in every school.

What do we have to do to get it to be this way?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Learning By Doing

This school year we have been stressing that in order to increase student achievement we must have great instruction.  This is not anything that is new or cutting-edge; it is just plain common sense. This past summer I read a book written by Sean Cain and then, when I attended the TASSP (Texas Association of Secondary School Principals) Summer Conference in June,  I was fortunate enough to hear Sean Cain and others speak about The Fundamental 5.  I brought the ideas back to my campus and now we are using the ideas and strategies of the Fundamental 5.

Also this year I challenged my staff to try new things, take risks, and to not be afraid to fail.  I am looking to have my teachers be comfortable with new ideas and excited about trying new things.  I know that we all get in our comfort zones and don’t like to step out of the box, so I just keep encouraging them to “just try.”  I had one teacher who approached me about Flipping her classes.  She actually wanted to know if I would mind if she tried!  She has been working extremely hard on this project for her U.S. History classes and is doing a great job.

Back in December, we had an early release day for the students and the faculty had professional development.  So, in keeping with the concepts of The Fundamental 5 and trying new things, I decided to make a video and send it to my teachers so they could watch it before we met.  All in all, I think it went well and we had a productive day.

Here is the video that I made about The Fundamental 5 — The FORMULA for Quality Instruction.