The Voice of Kimball Nation

December 7 - 11, 2015

Executive Director's Message

KFP Leaders,

This week each of you will begin preparing for the mid-year systems review. As you begin this process, think about the complex world we live which requires leaders to think systemically daily. The concept of systems thinking was popularized by Peter Senge in his book The Fifth Disciplinewhere he describes system thinking as:

A discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things in isolation, for seeing patterns of change rather than a static snapshot.

The practice of system thinking helps us see the underlying inter-relationships and connections which create the events occurring in our schools.

When we refer to a system we mean:

“A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole.”

The core assumption that underlies a systems approach, is that our world consists of interconnected systems, relationships and interaction. This implies that everything interacts with everything else. These complex relationship mean introducing change is difficult and risky. For change to be effective we have to focus on changing the underlying structures responsible for creating the events and trends we see in our schools and in so doing create different results. Merely reacting to events and trends results in failure to change the whole and only react to the event or trends.

This week with your leadership team analyze the leverage points of the system’s on your campus. Leverage points are those places in a system where a small change creates a substantial improvement. This is part science and part art and as leaders you will need to practice moving your thinking from events, to structures and beliefs, by improving what types of questions you ask yourself and your team, develop a theory or hypothesis as to what the structure might be and the beliefs driving the structure. This will allow you to experiment with different ways of changing the system. Begin here in preparing for your system review with your team. Use the feedback to determine what further adjustments will need to be made for your students to be successful.

Make it a GREAT week!

Dr. Cheryl Wright

Kimball Feeder Pattern Leverage Points

News From Kimball Nation Schools

Kimball Students Embrace the Choice of Higher Education

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Students at Justin F. Kimball High School are encouraged daily to seek a higher education. With a push from our CAP vendor, faculty, counselors, and community, Kimball students are embracing the choice to further their education after high school.

This week's College Fair was spearheaded by Ms. Ali, our College Access Partner, and College and Career counselor, along with other team members, Ms. Vaughn, Ms. Hill, Ms. McFarland and Ms. Toliver. The success of the College and Career Fair was highlighted through the many colleges, trade schools, military and law enforcement representatives present to meet with our students. Many of the students submitted admission packets to the schools of their choice.

It was wonderful to look into the gym and see hundreds of students excited about the next venture of their education. We have planted the seeds to instill inspiration, teach the essentials, and hold students accountable to daily discipline, and it is paying off! With continued, support and exposure, our students’ college and career goals are attainable. We are elated to see our students embrace the choice of higher education. We celebrate the event of a successful college fair, as well as each student’s decision made to press forward toward aspiration for a greater future!

Daniel Webster Student's Make Videos to Inform About Food Facts


Spending More Time on the Right Stuff and Less on the Wrong Stuff

In this Journal of Staff Development article, William Powell and Ochan Kusuma-Powell (Education Across Frontiers) grapple with the perennial issue of time management in schools. “Unfortunately,” they say, “busy-ness doesn’t always equate with high-quality learning. In fact, once a school becomes too busy, that overload of activity often serves as a barrier to deep learning – for both students and adults. Some well-meaning schools suffer from organizational attention deficit disorder.”

The authors believe Stephen Covey’s four quadrants (1989) are a helpful model for thinking about time and priorities:

- Quadrant 1: Important and urgent – Pressing issues and problems, genuine crises, deadline-driven projects, health and safety issues;

- Quadrant 2: Important, not urgent – Personal professional learning, inquiry, structured reflection, preventive activities, relationship building, planning, recreation;

- Quadrant 3: Not important, urgent – Interruptions, some meetings, many phone calls, e-mails, and social media interactions;

- Quadrant 4: Not important, not urgent – Trivia, some mail and e-mail, some phone calls, time wasters.

Quadrant 1 activities demand our attention and can be all-consuming, but spending too much time there leads to unhealthy stress and burnout. “Quadrants 3 and 4 are the domains of those who live irresponsible lives,” say Powell and Kusuma-Powell. “The tasks in these arenas are simply not important, and, in Quadrant 3, the urgency is coming from someone else – not from our own deeply held values and beliefs.” Quadrant 2 is the time management sweet spot, where we get control of the torrent of urgent activities and focus on long-term accomplishments. It’s hard to force Quadrant 2 activities into our calendars, but that’s where “our actions are deeply aligned and congruent with our values. It is the home of responsibility and integrity.”

Powell and Kusuma-Powell go on to identify three supremely unproductive activities that take up far too much time in schools:

Giving students feedback that isn’t used – Conscientious teachers spend countless hours writing comments on students’ papers and projects, only to see students glance at the grade and toss the work aside. “Teacher feedback that isn’t used by students squanders billions of hours of teacher time each year,” say the authors.

Poorly-run meetings – “Many of the meetings we attend are enormous wastes of time,” say Powell and Kusuma-Powell. Their suggestions: First, come to grips with the fact that some tasks, such as drafting a document, don’t lend themselves to group collaboration (better to have one person create a draft and then edit it as a group). Second, meetings need to be guided by protocols “that focus the group’s attention and provide structure to the conversation.”

The traditional teacher-evaluation process – Powell and Kusuma-Powell have asked hundreds of teacher groups if significant professional learning and growth has ever resulted from a formal evaluation. “The positive response is minuscule,” they say. “Most teachers (and many administrators) have come to perceive the annual process of teacher evaluation as an enormous waste of time – something mindlessly forced upon the evaluator and the evaluated. If the purpose of traditional teacher evaluation is to develop professional learning that results in enhanced performance in the classroom, it has been a miserable failure. Not only has it not produced meaningful professional learning and not enhanced student learning, it has served to create dependency relationships and has infantilized teachers. It has also done much to undermine the vital culture of relational trust that must form the fabric of culture in high-quality schools.”

Taking a hard look at time-wasting activities is difficult, conclude Powell and Kusuma-Powell. Many educators are too busy to step back and see the bigger picture. But, as Bob Garmston and Bruce Wellman have said, “Any group that is too busy to reflect on how it is working together is a group that is too busy to improve.”

“Make the Most of Every Day” by William Powell and Ochan Kusuma-Powell in Journal of Staff Development, October 2015 (Vol. 36, #5, p. 40-43, 46),


Monday, December 7th

• Random Spot Observations – Stemmons ES

  • Random Spot Observations – Hall ES

  • Random Spot Observations – Donald ES

  • Random Spot Observations – Henderson ES

Tuesday, December 8th

  • Executive Director’s Meeting 7:30 at Haskell Bldg.

  • Random Spot Observations – Webster ES

  • Random Spot Observations – Carpenter ES

  • Office Time

Wednesday, December 9th

  • Principal of the Year Breakfast 7:30 at Dallas Market Center

  • Random Spot Observations – T. W. Brown ES

  • Random Spot Observations – Zan Holmes MS

  • Office Time

Thursday, December 10th

  • Random Spot Observations – Brashear ES

  • Random Spot Observations – Kimball HS

  • Achieve 3000 PD Training for CICs and Administrators 4:00 - 7:00

  • (Location TBD)

Friday, December 11th

  • Executive Director’s Meeting 7:30 at Haskell Bldg.

  • Office Time

  • Kimball Feeder Pattern Principal’s Meeting 11:00 – 2:00

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Justin F. Kimball Feeder Pattern

Embrace Opportunities. . . Unlock Potential. . . Inspire Excellence! "KIMBALL NATION"