Chancellor News and Notes

September 28, 2015

Happy Monday Chancellor Family!

The weather has cooled (slightly), the Harvest Moon was a beautiful sight (online at least, since there were too many clouds to see it live!), and we are moving into October this week. October already!

A few reminders:

  • Alief ISD College Day is tomorrow- wear your college shirts!
  • Curriculum Planning is all week
  • Progress Reports go home next week- are your grades done? Due by Monday 8 am!
  • Master Schedule- All teachers are required to follow the master schedule. Intervention has started, and we use the master schedule to plan these groups. Do not flip-flop your subject areas or change times from what is written on your master schedule. If you feel you need to alter something from the master schedule, please come talk to your supervisor.
  • Announcements- please make sure your announcements are on in the morning every day. There are many announcements made at this time related to the day, changes, etc., and you will not hear them if you do not have announcements on. If you are having trouble getting your announcements to work, please let Jennifer Wong know via work order so she can trouble-shoot.
  • Small Groups- Teachers are the 1st line of instruction in the classroom. Small groups are beginning, and as you get organized for guided/flex groups for math and reading, write out your schedule to determine if you are meeting with all of your students the appropriate amount of time. If you need help with this, please ask your reading and math specialists, who will be more than willing to help!

Are You a Family or a Team?

-shared from Jon Gordon's weekly newsletter (great advice every week!)

We often say that we want our team to be like a family. But just because you are a family doesn’t mean you are a great team.

Coach Hank Janczyk and his Gettysburg Lacrosse team won 20 straight games this past season. When I asked him what happened, he said, "You know Jon, I realized that before the season we were a family. We loved and cared about one another. We had strong bonds and great relationships. But we weren’t a great team. Our guys made excuses for each other. They covered for each other when a teammate didn’t do the right thing. They loved hanging out together but they didn’t bring out the best in each other on the field."

"So how did you change this?" I asked.

Hank said, "I thought about my life and realized that I had family members who I have loved dearly but wouldn’t necessarily want them on my team. I knew that we couldn’t just be a great family. We had to become a great team too."

A few weeks later while talking to a client, a large, successful family owned business, I heard the same issue. I was preparing to speak at their annual leadership meeting and asked them to share their biggest challenge. They said, "We have such a wonderful family culture and it's what makes us special but it’s also a challenge for us to hold each other accountable as we grow." Because I had just spoken to Hank I knew exactly what they needed to hear and what I should tell them at their meeting. Thank you Hank!

Just because you are a family doesn't mean you are a great team.

To be a great team you hold each other accountable. You challenge each other to improve and make each other better. You set the standards and expect each other to rise up to meet these expectations. If someone is not giving their maximum effort or their performance is subpar you have a crucial conversation with them and challenge and encourage them through the process.

If someone is facing a personal challenge then of course you support and comfort them through it as both a family and team member. But professionally, you don’t allow your team to be comfortable with the status quo. The world is changing and to thrive you must change too. Discomfort leads to growth and so you keep raising the bar and pushing your team out of your comfort zone while pursuing excellence and growth together.

People say it's not easy to hold your team members accountable but part of being a family who loves one another means you help each person reach their full potential. My wife is not afraid to call me out and she makes me better. My children make me better. And if you read Training Camp you know I push my kids to be their best. Because I love them I won't let them settle. Because I love them I won't make it easy. I know that we can't just be a great family. We also have to be a great team.

It's not family or team. It's family and team.

Loving each other, holding each other accountable and making each other better makes you a better family and team.

Attached below is a pledge to be a positive team member who will work to encourage and help others. Feel free to print it and hang it to remind yourself to be a teammate to your family and co-workers.

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Is your classroom positive and productive?

Ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Do I feel stressed during the day?
  2. Am I tired of student misbehaviors that happen daily?
  3. Do I have to raise my voice to get student attention?
  4. Are students arguing with me or getting into power struggles with me?
  5. Are students not responding the way I want them to? Am I constantly redirecting?
  6. Do I find myself complaining?
  7. Am I exhausted by the end of the day? Do I think about calling in tomorrow to have a break?

If you answered "Yes" to some of these questions (or all of them), you might need to re-work the climate of your classroom. According to countless research studies (Google it, there's tons of research out there!), classroom climate is the #1 factor to student and teacher productivity and happiness in the classroom. And in the end, classroom climate comes down to you, the teacher. What can you do to increase positive interactions? What can you do to create a safe, welcoming environment that is structured for learning?

Three Tools for your Toolbox (the links are below):

  1. Checklist for STOIC: the variables you can control in your classroom (if you have had CHAMPS training, then you might remember this). Print it out and see where you stand. You might have a few eye-openers.
  2. Seven strategies for a positive classroom- a very short article worth your time!
  3. And finally, if you have not accessed PBIS World before, you will have a lots of fun on their website! This link goes to the behavior trouble-shooter: you click on a behavior, and you get taken to a list of ideas and positive interventions that can help with that behavior. Very comprehensive website!

"The Learner Will..." What to put on my TLW board...

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Give 20, Get 20!

Help our grade levels get to 20! When you see a whole class doing a great job, give them a class Shine Award! When the grade level gets to 20, they get 20 minutes of Free Choice (recess, games, etc.) on the Friday of that week! These can be given by everyone in the building, so keep your eye out! First grade has two on the wall already! With 8 classes in some grade levels, this will go really fast!

A few more pictures...