Thursday, June 1, 2017

John Thompson: Pick your battles: A letter to 7 new OKCPS principals - NonDoc

Pick your battles: A letter to 7 new OKCPS principals - NonDoc:

Pick your battles: A letter to 7 new OKCPS principals

new OKCPS principals




On Monday, The Oklahoman’s Tim Willert reported on the replacement of seven Oklahoma City Public Schools principals. The decisions will be controversial.
In light of this expected controversy, I offer the following letter to the new principals and assistant principals. (Conservative reformer Rick Hess recently wrote similar letters to young school reformers):
Congratulations! And thank you for your sacrifices. Principals give up the best jobs in the world, classroom teaching and counseling, to make greater contributions to larger numbers of kids.
I suspect you still receive the same advice that my first principal gave me: “Pick your battles.”
Probably, you are told: Principal leadership, improved classroom instruction, data, accountability and high expectations(!) can turn around even the toughest schools.
When I entered the classroom in 1992, principals and others were also required to repeat that mantra. In my experience, about 10 to 15 percent really believed that leaders who supported teachers, who accept “No Excuses!,” can overcome the legacies of poverty, trauma and segregation that the OKCPS faces.
The big problems occurred when administrators didn’t pick their battles and didn’t just go through the motions of issuing such proclamations. It was school reformers who actually believed what they were saying who did the real damage.

Teamwork creates improvement

My principals worked from 60 to 80 hours, or more, per week. That allowed for coffee-infused, reflective conversations with at least one principal or assistant principal per day. While I often disagreed with my bosses, these discussions allowed me to walk a little in Pick your battles: A letter to 7 new OKCPS principals - NonDoc:

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