Ten Things I've Learned from My Students
Here I was, thinking that I was in charge of the instruction occurring within our walls. Then it hit me. I found myself simultaneously astonished and inspired at the lessons that were delivered to me by the very students to whom I've pledged to deliver lessons.
Less Is More
We’ve got district initiatives, government regulations, grant stipulations, contracted obligations, state mandates… Heck, our plates are full! Let’s remove some of the clutter from our plates by removing some of the clutter from our teachers’ plates.
The Power of Positive Phrasing
At the state gymnastics championships, my daughter learned a valuable lesson about the power of positive phrasing. From her experience we educators might learn the power of framing challenges we face by using words that are uplifting and inspiring.
Hope Ain't a Strategy
As a noun, hope is a beautiful thing. Its what we all hold onto when we think about the future, about our children, our country, and our favorite baseball teams. Hope is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. But hope aint a strategy for improving schools.
Dog Training and American Schools
So there I was, walking my pup down the snowy streets as I trained him to sit, stay, and get the neighbors cat, and then it came to me. If we really want to fix the American school system, we need to approach it more like training a puppy
Presentation Style -- Nonfat, Double-Shot, Medium, With a Splenda
Off I went, prepared to be mesmerized by a highly respected convention presenter. Fifteen minutes into the presentation: Zzzzzzz. Should I stay and catch up on sleep? Is it OK to bail? What are the best practices when it comes to presentations?
The National Boards and Your School
Purchasing more computers and implementing the most recent save-the-world boxed programs are two ways to raise achievement. But neither of them can trump the one thing we all know makes the biggest difference in education.
Always Strive to Be a Better You
Just as James Bond exists by the words "Live and let die" so award-winning principal Pete Hall lives by the words "Always strive to be a better you." How does Hall's motto guide his principalship? He shares ideas that might help all principals be their best.
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak -- The Streak -- is untouchable. Or so they say. For "they" who say it can't be beat, Pete Hall says Hogwash! That "can't" attitude is the only thing holding back many schools from breaking achievement records too.
Making It Fun Again
Today it hit you: Youre the CEO (Chief Everything Officer) at your school, and as much as you love your job, youre beginning to feel a bit down. But remember: the principal sets the mood. If youre feeling down or overwhelmed, it might be HULA time!
Charismatic Leaders and Ego
Are you a principal with charisma? While it is good to caution against blindly following charismatic leaders, Pete Hall issues a word of defense for all our charismatic
Get Your Learnin’ On
Education fluctuates more than a rattlesnake’s temperature. We cannot wait two years, then emerge and ask, “What did I miss?” Education moves much too fast for that. So what can we do to keep our heads in the game? Here are some ideas…
The Bulls-Eye of School Discipline
Remember that time when there was a line of students awaiting their punishments outside your office door? The school day was a blur of black eyes, name-calling, and disobedience. That was this morning, really? Oh, you mean that happens every day?
The principalship is one step shy of One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest, so a little diversion is nice. But when all the diversions in our day get in the way of what is most important, we need to say Stop it! because sometimes succinct wins.
Leading Off the Edge of the Map
It might not surprise you to come across in a column about principal leadership names the likes of Thomas Edison and Ferdinand Magellan. So how the heck did Pete Hall manage to add to that mix Rowlf the Dog from The Muppet Show? Follow along
Confronting Concerns With Teacher Performance
The time is now to confront the malpractice being committed by teachers who dont pull their weight. If there are children in that teachers classroom, we have an obligation to provide the best possible learning environment and to insist upon excellence from that teacher.
Four Things You Must Do in the New Year
For this new year, let's promise ourselves we won't overdo it with pledges we can't keep. Let's make a few subtle shifts in our attitude that can pay substantial dividends in our daily routines. Let's make a special effort to do these "Four Things You Must Do in the New Year."
Whos Doing the Work Here, Anyway?
Ill just spit this out there: Its time that we, as educators, evaluate everything that we do in our classrooms. Many of us are spending a tremendous amount of time and a monumental amount of energy in low-yield practices.
Whos Your Joey Amalfitano?
You wake up late, you burn the toast, the cat vomited on the rug and you find out by stepping in it, you leave the house just barely behind schedule but then have to stop for gas Ever had a day like that? Thats the day you have to find your Joey Amalfitano.
Teacher Selection Counts: Six Steps to Hiring
As principals, we feel an enormous amount of pressure to staff our buildings with strong, effective, intelligent people. If youve ever had to fill a teaching vacancy, you know how hard that is: Hard as a coffin nail. Included: Tips for "getting the right people on the bus."
Reviving the American Dream
Pete Hall is wondering if the American Dream is dying. "As educators, we can teach -- through some direct instruction and intentional role-modeling -- what the American Dream means," he says. Will you be joining Pete in reviving the American Dream this year?
Forward this column to anyone you know who will have a new principals office in the coming school year. That includes new principals beginning their first assignments and vets who are moving to new schools or districts. Plus: Tips for starting off on the right foot.
Turning Teacher Evaluations on Their Ears
The scheduling, the classroom observations, the reports, the checklists Teacher evaluation time is an exhausting time. Just ask our ulcers. But when you keep SITTM in mind, and pair it with frequent classroom walk-throughs, students end up the big winners.
Before "Lightning Strikes
Around and around we go with the Frequent Fliers. The Detention Crew. The kids who have difficulty staying out of trouble. They are the Lightning Club. Lightning can strike at any time, without warning. Included: Start a Lightning Club in your school.
Why 100 Matters
According to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, all students -- thats 100 percent of enrolled students -- will test proficient by the 2013-2014 school year. Do you know what 100 percent really means? One goal-oriented school in Washington State does!
Why I Wear Red Socks to School
The earliest known socks were discovered in Egyptian tombs. In subsequent years, socks have taken many turns on the paths of style and function. Principal Pete Halls socks, for instance, are red. Every day, red socks. So why does Hall wear red socks to school every day?
T2 -- Togetherness and Teamwork
There is a Kilimanjaro-sized mountain of research supporting the importance of teamwork in our schools. Quotes such as "many hands make light work" and "two heads are better than one" could not be more apropos than they are in today's schoolhouses.
With the advent of the No Child Left Behind Act, higher standards and expectations, growing pressure for preparing children for global competition, and an increasing need to address the whole child on behalf of 50 million children I ask you to join me in "The Attack."
My Three Favorite Things: Data, Data, and Data
"Educators, as a breed, are afraid of data," says Ed World columnist Pete Hall. "We treat them like contagious numerical pathogens. After all, for decades we have been the evaluators, but now we are the evaluatees, often left to the mercy of unpleasant school designations..."
600 Reasons To Do It Again Next Year
"I cannot begin to share the number of times that I've sat alone in my car at the end of a long day of principaling. I sit, unwilling to turn the key as dusk creeps into the staff parking lot, and wonder aloud, 'Why, exactly, do I continue to do this?'"
Prioritize and Delegate Your Way to Effective Leadership
"If a principal cannot effectively prioritize time and energy, and if a principal cannot delegate certain tasks and decisions, then that principal will find him or herself dangling at the end of a very short rope over a frothing sea of sharks, piranhas..."
Get Out of That Chair!
Principal Pete Hall says walk-throughs are the most powerful thing he does. They provide him with a clear picture of the state of learning in his school and many peripheral benefits too. Walk-throughs, Hall says, should be a priority in every principal's day.
Morphing Your Elementary School Into a Literacy Academy
We used to call them grammar schools. Now we call them elementary schools. I propose a new definition of our schools -- especially those that service the primary grades. We need to shift our mindset and rename them as
Mentoring and the Three Golden Rules
New principals have no idea what they're about to encounter. That is not their districts' fault; they hired competent leaders. The principalship is simply a beast that cannot be understood until one has wrangled with it. Included: Three "golden rules" for principals.
3 Steps to Embracing Change
Change is scary. But as leaders of school improvement, we are faced with the daunting challenge of making change a necessity, a known quantity, and fun. Yes, change is fun! If you don't believe that, come along with me.
Panning for Gold in the Era of Accountability
Is your school's public perception in need of a little polishing? Even if your school is "in need of improvement," you can mine golden nuggets of good news and silver linings to make the school's image shine. Here are some ways you can do just that.