We have traveled as a district leadership team to the Solution Tree PLC conference. Day 1 involved some powerful examples of what a PLN and PLC led culture can lead to on a campus.
I figured out at my first PLC conference that the PLC mindset was very similar to what I think is the “connected educator” mindset. It’s all about collaboration, sharing information/knowledge to benefit students, growing as a learner, and utilizing the knowledge of the whole to benefit the individual. That being said, I enjoy conferences because I love to learn, and think there is always something else I can do to improve as an educator and as a leader.
Yesterday’s sessions and great thoughts:
Teaching, Leading, and Living a High-Energy and Well-Balanced PLC Life, by Timothy Kanold
This session was all about finding that elusive work/life and how necessary it is to keep sane. Relational and emotional intelligence is a REAL thing. Did you know your EQ has a direct correlation to the emotional climate that you create within your campus? Your relationship with your campus/co-members is as important to their success as it is to yours. “Poor relational leaders will drive skilled and motivated workers out of their profession, or even worse, cause them to withhold discretionary effort…” (Hard Facts, Dangerous Half Truths, and Total Nonsense, 2006)
He referenced “The PLC Energy Quadrants”, that I thought was very interesting. It spoke to the need of EVERY day spending time in quadrant II, a place of low positive energy…(reflective, serene, relaxed) in order to balance staying in the “fully engaged, in the flow” quadrant I, a high positive place (helpful, hopeful, connected, joyful). Ironically enough, this past year, I weeded out almost all of my low positive “actions” instead choosing to be action oriented and focused on my first year as an administrator.
Another fun fact: too much time in QI or QIII will send you to Q4.
Leading with Passion and Purpose: The Principal’s Role in a PLC
This session was led by a high school principal from Texas, bonus points! Mr. Jones started with an activity, having us complete an acronym, with the word LEADER. Pausing to think about how as a leader, each one of those letters stand for such BIG THINGS that I am responsible for being…for representing…for modeling was a big pause. He also shared that the principal, by their year 3, has a direct and substantial impact on students results on a campus. (Marzano, 2005) Knowing how difficult it would be for me to manage such a substantial impact on all 54 of my staff members, I can however choose to be that person for my 6 PLC teams. “No one person can serve 50 masters!”
My two top tweets from his session (I take notes in twitter blurbs…it works for me!)
- There’s a difference between co-laboring and collaborating. Which one do you do? #atplc Everyone’s shovel is in the ground!
- If you’re listening…you’re not talking, solving, or rationalizing, you’re being present…be a listening leader!
He closed talking about something I struggled with this year. His slide was titled “When you’re Famous”…but it asked what evidence you have to show that your students, your teachers, your teams, and your school have accomplished.
If you’re the most successful, celebrated, and accomplished person on your campus, you’re doing it all wrong. The awesome Matt Arend sent me a screen shot this week lauding someone who used to be against many of his initiatives but has, over time, become a huge supporter of the growth changes he’s brought forth. That is a successful leader. That is #realimpact.
“Indeed, there are virtually no documented instances of troubled schools being turned around without intervention by a powerful leader. Many other factors may contribute to such turn-arounds, but leadership is the catalyst.” (Leithwood, Seashore Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004)