Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Management Structure

the guys at the top only see shit

the guys at the bottom only see arseholes

Monday, June 14, 2010

Top 10 list for leaders

I have no idea where I discovered this top 10 list. I want to apologise for pasting it here without acknowledgement. Leave a comment if you know its origins, or like the content. Its too good to not share.

1 The focus of 'your' school must be on the success of kids 100% of the time. All too often, it seems, we try to fit kids into our expectations and in the process ignore the ideas, questions, points of view, and talents the students bring with them. And we see any conflict with students as a problem rather then as a means to work out a mutual better solutions.
2 Leaders need to create a vision,write it down,and start implementing it. It is important not to put your vision in drawer and forget about it and hope for the best. Every decision must be aligned against the vision and beliefs that underpin it. The whole school community is watching when you make a decision so consistency, by referencing decisions against the vision, is important.
3 It's the people stupid. The secret of managing is to keep the people who hate you away from those who are undecided. Hire people who support your vision, who are prepared to learn and who like kids.
4 Keep the paddles in the water. When navigating dangerous rapids in raft the only way to succeed is for everyone in the boat to sit on the edge and paddle really hard even though everyone would rather sit in the centre where it is safer. In times of school crisis everybody must be involved.
5 Find time to think and worry during the day. You are never always going to have a good days so it is OK to stare at the wall, reflect on the vision, and think about how to make necessary changes. Value input from other but ask those who provide it to provide possible solutions as well.
6 Take responsibility for the good and bad. The solutions to problems are almost always right in front of you; the genius of the school lies within the school. Imposed solutions have their consequences. Don't give away your responsibility.
7 You have ultimate responsibility. Have very clear expectations derived from the school vision and beliefs and then make sure people have the knowledge, resources, and time to accomplish expectations. Autonomy is the goal but actions need to be within the bounds of the vision.
8 Have bias for yes. The only progress you ever make in life involves risk.Ideas that teachers and others may suggest may seem a little crazy but try to makes such requests into a yes. Use the vision as a self reference and encourage others to do so.
9 Consensus is over rated. Twenty percent of the people will be against anything. When you realize this you avoid compromising what really should be done because you stop watering things down.If you always reach consensus you are being led by the 20%
10 Large changes need to be done quickly. If you wait too long to make changes to a school culture you have already sanctioned mediocre behaviour because you are allowing it.That is when change is hard. Define with the staff the behaviours required by the vision and belief and hold people accountable to them.

Seems like good advice if principals want to be real leaders!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Draw a few conclusions

The national standards are now entering an interesting stage. The hit list exists. "Someone" got a former head of ERO to "cold call" schools asking "how they are going with implementing the standards". The former head said it was a random call. After speaking with one of the "random" principals, I know they certainly felt like it was "pressure" and "information gathering".

So what conclusions can be drawn.

"Someone" is angry at opposition of the standards and has asked for a list to be drawn up.
"Someone" has asked a big gun to do an investigation and place pressure on these schools.
"Someone" formed the cunning strategy of saying the cold call list is random.
So who in the Ministry or in Parliament has the power to make this happen.
You draw the conclusions.

So its law, just do it. What do you do when the law is an ass. What did Maori do when they weren't allowed to speak the beautiful language in schools? The law changed in the 30's but the practice continued through to the 70's. Those that complied lost their language. Those that didn't comply, well you draw the conclusion.

Are we going to wait twenty years to look back and say "that experiment with our kids" was a lemon? Are we going to sit by and accept a law written on an election slogan?
The letter that our leading academic researchers wrote to the minister saying these can have the effect of actually doing damage. The research is saying no. The law, yes.

I wouldn't mind seeing the law tested for lacking evidence.

If I was to grade the standards thus far, and gave those who strung them together, then the "Mary team" would be "below" but thats an OTJ.

I challenge all schools who are going mad designing Nat Standards to share their living local curriculum NZC first please.