The Voice of Kimball Nation

January 4 - 8, 2016

Executive Director's Message

Happy New Year! Welcome 2016!

I hope the holiday break has left you relaxed, revitalized, refreshed and recommitted. It was just a few days ago we were granted the opportunity to “clean the slate” with the gift of another year. It was a time that many of us spent with our family and friends, reflecting on the highs and lows of 2015. It was also a time to prepare ourselves for new and exciting goals and challenges, while simultaneously celebrating what has already been accomplished. Whether it’s observed as a time for reflection or challenge, there is something very special about the opportunity to start another NEW YEAR!

If this doesn’t inspire you to some extent, I do not know what will! As you return with your teachers and staff on Monday and Tuesday and reunite with your students on Wednesday, allow yourself to embrace and share the excitement the New Year brings. Your students will be very eager to return to school and see their friends and equally as excited to see you (believe it or not!).

As we return this week, review your ACP data with all of your teachers and develop specific ACP action steps and school-wide strategies to leverage areas that need to be strengthened. Continue to effectively progress monitor and profile your students’ progress, as this has made a difference for many of our campuses. Review the ACP data during your PLC meetings and focus on specific strategies by content and grade level for leveraging improvement in these areas. Also, during PLC’s your teachers should be reviewing the S.E.’s and lesson objectives that are most critical for reteaching during this time.

We are exactly half way to the finish line! Let’s complete the rest of this journey with the same energy, dedication and determination we had when we started in August. Our success as a feeder pattern depends on it!

Once again, Happy New Year, welcome back and let’s make 2016 a school year to be remembered.

Make it a GREAT week!

Dr. Cheryl Wright

Kimball Feeder Pattern Leverage Points

5 Characteristics of an Effective School Team

As we begin this New Year, take time to focus on identifying the specific moves a strong leader, coach or facilitator makes in the process of developing a strong team. Click on the link above to learn more.

Six Key Strategic Leadership Skills

In this Harvard Business Review article, Paul Schoemaker, Steve Krupp, and Samantha Howland (Wharton School) say that adaptive strategic leaders – those who are both resolute and flexible, persistent in the face of setbacks but also able to react strategically to environmental shifts – have developed six key skills. They:

Anticipate – This means detecting ambiguous threats, “weak signals”, and opportunities that aren’t in plain sight. To improve the ability to anticipate, leaders should talk constantly to stakeholders to understand their challenges; conduct surveys; imagine and plan for different future scenarios; look at what successful rivals are doing; figure out what’s going on with institutional failures; and attend conferences in other fields.

Challenge – “Strategic thinkers question the status quo,” say Schoemaker, Krupp, and Howland. “They challenge their own and others’ assumptions and encourage divergent points of view. Only after careful reflection and examination of a problem through many lenses do they take decisive action. This requires patience, courage, and an open mind.” To get better at this, leaders should focus on the root causes of a problem versus the symptoms; ask “Why?” five times when confronted with a problem; list long-standing assumptions and ask a diverse group if they still hold true; encourage debate by holding “safe zone” meetings in which open dialogue and conflict are expected and welcomed; include naysayers in a decision process to surface challenges early; and get input from people not directly affected by a decision.

Interpret – Synthesize input and reexamine it to expose its hidden implications, recognize patterns, push through ambiguity, and seek new insights. To get better at this, leaders need to list at least three possible explanations for ambiguous data and invite input from diverse stakeholders; zoom in on the details and zoom out to see the big picture; actively look for missing information and evidence that disconfirms one’s hypothesis; include quantitative data; and step away (go for a walk, look at art, put on non-traditional music, play ping-pong) to promote an open mind.

Decide – “In uncertain times, decision-makers may have to make tough calls with incomplete information,” say the authors, “and often they must do so quickly.” But they shouldn’t get to that point without a process that gives them multiple options, avoids getting prematurely locked into simplistic choices or shooting from the hip, considers trade-offs, and takes short- and long-term consequences into account. To get better at this, leaders need to reframe binary decisions and reach out for more options; divide big decisions into pieces; tailor decision criteria to long-term versus short-term projects; let others know where one is in the decision-making process (i.e., still open to input or moving toward closure); decide who needs to be directly involved and can influence success; and consider pilot programs or experiments and make staged commitments.

Align – What is stakeholders’ tolerance and motivation for change? What are conflicting interests? “This requires active outreach,” say Shoemaker, Krupp, and Howland. “Success depends on proactive communication, trust building, and frequent engagement.” To get better at this, leaders need to communicate early and often so that, later on, people don’t say No one ever asked me and No one ever told me; identify key internal and external stakeholders and map their obvious and hidden interests; expose areas of misunderstanding or resistance; reach out to resisters to understand and address their concerns; monitor stakeholders’ positions as decisions are implemented; and recognize and reward colleagues who support team alignment.

Learn – Tell stories about success and failure to promote institutional wisdom, and be open to making mid-course corrections. To get better at this, leaders need to institute after-action reviews, document lessons learned, and broadly communicate the insights gained; reward subordinates who try something brave and fail; conduct annual learning audits to see where initiatives are falling short; and create a culture in which inquiry is valued and mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities.

“Strategic Leadership: The Essential Skills” by Paul Schoemaker, Steve Krupp, and Samantha Howland in Harvard Business Review, January-February 2013 (Vol. 91, #1-2, p. 131-134)

Future Learning: A Mini Documentary

Students are the future, but what's the future for students? To arm them with the relevant, timeless skills for our rapidly changing world, we need to revolutionize what it means to learn. Education innovators like Dr. Sugata Mitra, visiting professor at MIT; Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy; and Dr. Catherine Lucey, Vice Dean of Education at UCSF, are redefining how we engage young minds for a creatively and technologically-advanced future. Check out the video below to learn more.
Future Learning | Mini Documentary | GOOD


Monday, January 4th

· Staff Development - Student Holiday

Tuesday, January 5th

· Staff Development - Student Holiday

· School Leadership EDs Professional Development @ 8:00-4:00

Wednesday, January 6th

· 4th Six Weeks Begins

· Students Return

· Mid-Year Review Meeting Part 1 @ 9:00-11:00 Z. Holmes MS

· Mid-Year Review Meeting Part 1 @ 2:00-4:00 Henderson ES

Thursday, January 7th

· Mid-Year Review Meeting Part 1 @ 8:00-10:00 Webster ES

· Mid-Year Review Meeting Part 1 @ 10:30-12:30 Donald ES

· Mid-Year Review Meeting Part 1 @ 1:30-3:30 Brashear ES

Friday, January 8th

· ED Leadership Team Meeting @ 8:30

· Mid-Year Review Meeting Part 1 @ 9:30-10:30 Stemmons ES

· Mid-Year Review Meeting Part 1 @ 12:30-2:30 Tolbert ES

Justin F. Kimball Feeder Patern

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