HS Principals' Newsletter

May 2016

Inspire Your People-It's Graduation Season!

Every week I get an email from the Inspire Your People author and presenter, Sam Parker. In one of his recent emails, it summarized some of his favorite messages to graduates. Thought I would share.

This Is Water by David Foster Wallace

(3000 words ... 15 minutes to read)

This one's intense. So brutally good and true, I can't stand it. (Really.)

He reminds us of the true day-to-day responsibility of our lives. Read it yourself to be sure you're comfortable with it before forwarding it. Wallace lost his fight with depression, so you need to think about the potential effect that might have on your reader.

For me, the second-to-last paragraph holds some of the most important words (reminders) I've ever read. It's the paragraph that begins with... "Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings." and ends with "the really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day." (very Smovish and very Love Your People)

Don't Eat Fortune's Cookie by Michael Lewis

(1900 words ... 10 minutes to read)

This is a baccalaureate speech at Princeton where Lewis (who wrote several bestselling books - The Blind Side, Moneyball, The Big Short, etc.) "graduated from Princeton without ever having published a word of anything, anywhere."

It's a wonderful reminder of how chance plays a big part in our lives. "And with luck comes obligation," he says. I love the entitlement reminder toward the end, too.

The Love of Learning by David McCullough

(1700 words ... less than 10 minutes)

My favorite recommendation from McCullough ... "And please, please, do what you can to cure the verbal virus that seems increasingly rampant among your generation. I'm talking about the relentless, wearisome use of the words, "like," and "you know," and "awesome," and "actually." Listen to yourselves speak."

To accompany McCullough's thought, you might encourage them to watch this video of Taylor Mali's wonderful and inspiring poem on the importance of communicating like a grown-up. I frequently remind younger people that better communication skills will likely add tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to their career earnings. This includes not just sentence structure but also better enunciation of words (a challenge I notice most often among young men) and less high-pitched tones and "vocal fry" (vocal fry is a term for that well-known creaky-voice sound we're hearing so much now ... I notice it most with young women but do hear it occasionally from young men too).

10 Ways to Avoid Mucking Up the World Any Worse Than It Already Is by Russell Baker

(2200 words ... 11 minutes)

If your graduate is in a rush, let her know she can skip the first third of the speech and go straight to the list of 10 Ways.

Do you have hiring decisions to make this summer?

In the most recent edition, The Science of Hiring, Wayne D'Orio says that one of the most effective hiring practices is to come up with a list of key traits that you want everyone in the classroom to have because the traits are linked to getting positive results. Then, rate everyone according to these traits. Too often the hiring process is "driven by individuals rather than what predicts results in the classrooms." D'Orio sets up 49 key traits or skills. Compare the candidates to the scores from your best teachers.

What isn't important? Grade point average and where the candidate went to school. Research has shown that GPA isn't that predictive of performance in the classroom.

Change up your interview questions to more scenario related questions. They suggest handing the candidate a set of student data and ask them to design an instructional plan that meets the child's needs or a set of classroom data and ask them how they design instruction to move students forward.

Demonstration Teaching Lessons are also very telling. Having students in to serve as the class and ask candidates to provide a mini lesson on a subject or content area. Use a rubric so all are being evaluated on the same areas.

It is extensive and time consuming to hire the wrong person. Everyone you hire, however, needs mentoring and coaching. No one comes perfect for the job so make sure that you have good processes in place to onboard all new employees.

Literacy Coach Grant Position POSTED!!

We have posted the Early Literacy Grant Positions on the Genesee Education Consultant Services (GECS) website. If you know of someone who is interested in applying, please share the link with them.

Thank you! We will be interviewing in the next couple of weeks.


School Improvement Key Dates to Remember:


School Improvement Plan (SIP)

DUE September 1

Program Evaluation Templates

Professional Learning

Curriculum Leaders Institute:

Curriculum Leaders Institute:

Michigan ASCD promotes Professional Learning for Curriculum Directors. Check it out!

Instructional Institute:

Check the Instructional Leadership Institute at Michigan ASCD. Click HERE!

Educator Lead Awareness Sessions

Does your staff need additional information about the affects of the lead on their students and the impact on their classroom? We can come out and bring you current information on the lead affect. email Joy or call at 591-4408.

Genesee GO!

Do your seniors have the information about Genesee GO! ? If not, we can come out and make classroom presentations, hand out information cards or address a large assembly.

Book us today! Contact Joy 591-4408.

MDE Title I/31A/Consolidated App Regional Spring Planning Workshops

Access workshop locations, registration, and handouts here.

(May 9 at Genesee ISD, but you can attend other sites)


Please click here to see our spreadsheet of currently scheduled professional development for next school year.

Science PL for Administrators

PL@N A-1: Learn how to support a vision of instruction that is aligned with A Framework for K12 Science Education and the NGSS through the lens of your evaluation tool. - May 16.

PL@N A-2: Develop comprehensive multi-year plans for supporting the transition to Framework aligned instruction. *Prerequisite: must have completed A-1. - June 6.

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