Creating a Vision for Connected Principals

When I first thought of the idea of creating the “Connected Principals” website, it was to include a small group of administrators who I had come to know and learn about where they stand on education.  Through talking with some of them, we thought it would be best to open up the community to any administrators that wanted to join.

With that being said, I want to ensure that those that are joining and collaborating all share the same vision.  Similar to creating a vision for our schools, I wanted to ensure that we create some guiding principles that will move this site forward.  I also believe that once these principles are finalized, all posts should ensure that they follow these principles.  Here is what I have so far:

1. All of our decisions focus first on what meets the needs of the children we serve.  All other elements of our decision making process are secondary to this objective. The students we serve are our greatest resource in schools.
2. We can do more together than we can alone.  Opportunities need to be created for distributed leadership within our school for all staff; as administrators we need to ensure we build upon the strengths of our staff.  We must ensure that we are working together as schools and an educator community to to continue to move education forward.
3. All educators need to be lifelong learners.  Only through continuous reflection, conversation, and collaboration will we ensure that we are continuously serving the needs of our students.
4. Building strong relationships is the first basis of creating a strong school environment.  Trust is the first element; both extending it and earning it.
5. All members of our school community should be given opportunities to become leaders.  This includes students, staff, and all parents.
6. Parents are our partners in education. We must ensure that their voice is heard and that they are given opportunities to contribute to creating the best environment for our students.
7. Critical thinking and deep learning opportunities for our students are necessary to ensure that they become strong 21st century citizens.  We must know the passions of our students and create learning opportunities based on these.
8. Technology should be used to create opportunities for students to ensure that we are meeting their needs and creating opportunities to network and learn from others.

I would love your thoughts on these before we create a page with this vision.  I am not only asking for the thoughts of administrators, but anyone with an interest in education.  Through collaborating on these principles, we will come up with the best ideas.

Thoughts?  Please leave comments so we can collaborate with one another.

23 Comments

  1. Rusha Sams said:

    You write beautifully and have included great principles on which to build a strong connected group. I would love to see something about the improvement of learning, maybe even teaching and learning, as one of the goals of a school leader. You have mentioned learning opportunities, but what will principals do to ensure that learning “takes hold” in their building?
    Thanks for thinking and sharing. And just for being you. Best wishes on a great school year!

    August 11, 2010
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    • Thanks Rusha! I appreciate your comment and have added it to my reflection document for when the principles are finalized. I really appreciate your input.

      August 11, 2010
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    • George – Should the word respectful be added somewhere? I know for many of us it is a given, but the level of discomfort some people have with change causes some pretty harsh comments at times. I think we have to expect a number of difficult conversations, but going back to number one (the students), we need to ensure that the conversations are respectful.

      August 11, 2010
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      • That is a really great point. Especially when talking about debate and conversation, we need to always be respectful of each other.

        Any thoughts? Added principle or changed sentence?

        August 11, 2010
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        • I just think adding the word respectful before conversation in #3 would be fine.

          August 11, 2010
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  2. Mary Barry said:

    Hi George, I really enjoyed visiting your site. Your ideas and investment in collaboration via technology is inspiring. Please understand, I’m not a principal (yet) – but finishing my internship this semester. I viewed Pat Larkin’s post to Twitter and decided to visit your site. I believe the idea of data teams is essential as well. Students, teachers, parents and administrators who use data to collaborate and analyze student work are essential to moving forward and keeping the needs of children first. In analyzing data, one can collaborate and discuss best practices, improve classroom instructive so that it is effective and ensures student achievement. If we don’t begin here, we don’t answer fundamental questions… .How do we teach so that all students learn? How will we know they have learned the skill/content?

    August 11, 2010
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    • Hi Mary,

      Thanks for checking out the site. One of the purposes is to not only help current admin, but to ensure that aspiring admin have resources that can help them in their career goals. We want you to be off and running when you become a principal.

      I really like your statement and comment. I want to make sure that I put it in a way where it does not seem that we are about “standardized testing” as beneficial. I know that is not what you meant in your statement, but I want to ensure that it is commonly understood it is about the continuous assessment of our schools that we are able to move forward.

      Thanks again for your comment and we look forward to your continued discussion.

      August 11, 2010
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  3. Dave Meister said:

    Do we need to add a statement about how the connection allows us to share resources, ideas, and have a forum to discuss issues to help each educator to become a more effective leader? It might not need to be included. I think you have done a good job of setting a vision for the collaborative group!

    August 11, 2010
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    • Perfect Dave…I am taking all the comments and putting them into a document and I will be refining the principles soon. Thanks for your comment!

      August 11, 2010
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  4. George, this is great, and it is almost eerie to me how aligned we all are in these principles, right from the start.

    There are two pieces that are greatly important to me, and I’d suggest adding them, though it is not essential to me that they be added.

    * As contemporary educators, we are attentive to and thoughtful about the myriad of ways in which the world is fast changing, and are intentional about reforming their schools to be in continued alignment with the needs and demands of the changing world, without ever abandoning core principles.

    * We care about our results; we seek to educate for deep understanding and transferable skills, and seek to use the right data to measure our outcomes and use that data not to punish but to inform our organizations’ continuous learning and development.

    August 11, 2010
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    • Kevin Creutz said:

      I am a strong believer in Jonathan’s first bullet point. If we are to believe in principle #1, then we must be thinking about their future, the future of education, the future of technology, etc. An idea to incorporate Jonathan’s first bullet point would be to edit principle #3 in a way that mentions students as lifelong learners too.

      August 12, 2010
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      • Eric Juli said:

        George,

        I agree with what Jonathan wrote, and Kevin echoed, regarding being attentive to the changing world. I love the critical thinking and deep learning component as well. Perhaps you could modify #7 to include that we are teaching kids to think, write, and create in part because the jobs they are likely to have don’t yet exist.

        Thanks for the great site and thoughtful principles.

        August 12, 2010
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  5. Brian Harrison said:

    Hi George,

    This looks like a great start to a rich collaboration. On principle 7, we could include staff as well as students needing deep learning and critical thinking. What do you think?

    August 11, 2010
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    • I think that is a great idea…Can you explain what that would look like in a school?

      August 11, 2010
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      • Brian Harrison said:

        I’m thinking about using inquiry protocols like Action Research and Lesson Study to explore practice based problems; connecting teacher learning needs with student learning needs.

        August 11, 2010
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        • Beth Russell said:

          This is great. I also echo what others stated about including a key piece of staff learning and our own learning, which suggests having the ability to take risks in sharing ideas for (respectful) feedback with the goal of improving the idea and making it even better. Underlying that is a principle for me is that all people can learn and get smarter.

          August 19, 2010
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  6. Janet Avery said:

    George,

    I think you have done an excellent job caputuring the vision for Connected Principals. I appreciate that you have included relationship building – collaboration – trust – and lifelong learning in our principles. I agree with Patrick that Respectfulness should be included as well. Thank you so much for being our leader in this venture – I look forward to learning together.

    August 11, 2010
    Reply
  7. Lyn said:

    I, too, appreciate you taking the time to compose your thoughts about this blog’s vision. I agree that respectful interactions are a must. I also agree with Jonathan’s additions about keeping a global perspective in our endeavors. My non-negotiable is valuing the individual- whether it be student, staff, parent, or fellow administrator- for his/her unique contributions and strengths.

    August 11, 2010
    Reply
  8. George,

    This is a great list that incorporates so much of what we all have been writing and tweeting about.

    Is there an appropriate way to work in something about us having the courage to act on these principles in our respective schools?

    -Larry

    August 12, 2010
    Reply
  9. John Oldham said:

    George,

    You are off to a great start that is inspiring! Would like to suggest you add the following to point #7:
    Critical thinking and deep learning opportunities for our students are necessary to ensure that they become strong 21st century citizens with a broad worldview. We need to include the world in our teaching, learning and thinking.

    August 12, 2010
    Reply
  10. Thanks everyone for their responses…I am working on the document to implement your suggestions. Thanks!

    August 12, 2010
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  11. George,

    I think you are right on, and I agree with some of the above comments about including something about the future of education and leading change. Thanks for including me in the conversation.

    August 12, 2010
    Reply

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