Get Your Game On!

A very wise man, the love of my life, shared a wonderful snippet from a book he is reading.  While on vacation, we both purchased great books.  We tried hard to relax.  I know that may sound crazy but we are both workaholics.  It's hard to just relax and do nothing without feeling guilty.  


Roosevelt said these words below:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Lesson learned by this quote:
Be mentally and physically fearless, even if the battles we wage in this life end in defeat.  Praise those who are fighting the battles and have a foot in the arena with you.  Block out the cynical and negative people and voices.  They are just watching life from the sidelines.  Go get your game on!  Try and focus on the teachers and parents who are giving their ALL to you each day.  It is so easy to focus on one negative comment rather than one hundred positive cheerleaders.  

Successful people build each other up.  They motivate, inspire and push each other.  Compliment people.  Magnify their strengths.  Dream big.  Work hard.  Stay focused.  Surround yourself with good people.  

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Principals on Twitter

@principalsteph1

Are you on twitter?  There are so many great educators, bloggers, principals and educational consultants on Twitter.  Check out my go-to list for great ideas and support.

George Couros @gcouros
Jason Markey @JasonMMarkey
Michele Corbat @MicheleCorbat
Todd Whitaker @ToddWhitaker
Melissa Kartsimas @TeacherMelissa
Jessica Johnson @PrincipalJ
Eric Sheninger @E_Sheninger
Spike C Cook @DrSpikeCook

Why should you use twitter if you are a principal?

1.  It is free!  It costs you and the school nothing to use.
2.  It is a great way to excite parents with a positive message.  Why not celebrate our successes with our parents?  Twitter can do that for you.
3.  As principals, we should be constantly growing and learning.  Twitter has a wealth of resources for professional development.
4.  My favorite-a great way to connect with other school leaders.  I love to see and hear about what other principals are doing.

These are just a few of my reasons to use twitter.  What are your reasons?




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Eliminate Excuses

Eliminate excuses. period!  Sounds simple, right?  In the school system, it seems as though we want to blame the system, the parents, the economic status of the students, the state accountability, the lack of funding, etc...  These are all excuses.  These items listed above and many more are difficult but should be considered more as a challenge.  When we think of them as challenges instead of circumstances, our minds are more wiling to accomplish the task.


Trust me there are times when it seems as though the cards are stacked against us.  I received an email from a fellow Texan principal yesterday and she explained how she was moved from her campus of six years to a new campus just three weeks from the start of the school.  She had her campus ready to go and then suddenly was asked to take on a different campus.  Her cards were stacked against her but she went in with the determination to get the job done.

We can make excuses or we can make it happen!

Principals and school leaders and inspiring leaders- Our lists are long.  Our days are long.  Our minds never shut off.  We take criticism.  We make tough decisions.  We can multi-task.  We are creative people.  Use your talents to get it done this year.  Eliminate the excuses.  Get the worries out of your head and focus on the situation in front of you.  We can do this!  We have each other.

If you truly want to succeed, don't give yourself a way out!  No excuses.
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Lead Fearlessly

Every now and then I find myself on TED.  I say every now and then because I just forget about the wonderful resource that it is.  This weekend I listened to Linda Cliatt-Wayman's inspiring presentation.  Linda, principal in North Philadelphia, is known as the principal that laid down the law and turned not only her first school around but three schools.  These schools weren't just low performing.  They were also considered persistently dangerous. 

Cliatt-Wayman has some great slogans in the speech.   I thought I would create a poster for me to remember.


Cliatt-Wayman slogan of "If You're Going to Lead...then Lead" is powerful.  What does and does not happen in a school is up to the principal.  As a principal, it all starts with us.  Schools which excel at what they do in a consistent manner can be contributed to strong values and high expectations.  Excellence does not happen by chance.  It happens based on carefully planned strategies. 

Below is the video of Linda Cliatt-Wayman's speech.  It is 17 minutes long but worth every minute.

Do you have an unwavering belief in the potential of all children on your campus? 
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Lift or Drag in the Workplace?

Are you a "Lifter" or a "Dragging" force?  In our lives, the people around us lift us up or they can easily drag us down.  I am blessed to be surrounded by people who are "lifters."  In all honestly, I cannot function for very long around negative, half-glass empty type of people.  I think that is not anything different from everyone else.  We all work better surrounded by people who inspire us, hold us accountable, and find happiness for our successes.  For example, people who lend a hand, give advice, make you smile by sharing something funny and quick to cheer you on. 



I wouldn't be where I am without these people.  You probably have plenty of people in your life who are the lifters, movers and shakers. 

However, there is probably someone you know or been around that just seems to be a drag.  They criticize, have a negative attitude, complain, and simply seem a force of complete miserableness.  I'm sure these people mean well, and they don't even realize they're providing so much negativity. 

Which are you?  Are you the lifting force or a dragging force?  As I think about this myself it makes me be more aware of my own behavior.  I try to be a positive person and see the good in all situations.  I hope to always lift those around me. We all have our good days and bad days so I'm not saying I have it all together.  I don't.  However, a positive attitude helps me cope.  It gives me joy and happiness. 

In the workplace, being a lifter is greatly needed.  The benefits of a positive workplace provides a message of success.  It helps us achieve our goals and attain that success.  It produces more energy.  Positiveness increases your faith in your own abilities and those around you.  It not only motivates and inspires you but everyone around you too.

When life smiles at you, smile back!


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5 Inspiring Leadership Books with a Message

Are you looking for some great books to read over the summer?  I have several for you to look at in your spare time.  We could all use a good book every now and then that inspires and motivates our mind and soul for the upcoming school year.  




by Angela Watson
 I recommend this for a book study for teachers on campus.








These are my recommendations for inspiring principals or school leaders.  They are tried and true fundamentals for any principal.  

What books do you recommend for me?

 
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Professional Development Activities to do Throughout the Year

Quality Professional development does matter.  The Professional Development Activities packet was a big request from my followers and principal friends around the world.  It has been in the making for a long time.  I didn't know if I would ever get it finished but I did!

The undeniable truth about professional development:  Exceptional teaching inspires exceptional learning.  Make your professional development have a lasting impact on teaching and learning.  It's a win-win for the teachers and students.

 Let's take a look at the professional development activities you will get.  You get activity cards for setting campus goals, team building, campus morale, campus needs and cultivating positive attitudes.  Also included are direction cards and any handouts that can be printed. 


 Here's what we want out of professional development:  Quality, Quality and Quality!  No more boring professional development days.  The trainings need to be motivating and hands-on.  My professional development training packet has just that.  No more SIT and GET workshops. 
Activities included:
1. Setting Goals - GPS Navigational Activity
2. Team Building- Human Ski
3. Attitude- Balloon in a Bag
4. Morale- Puzzle
5. Needs- Speed Dating
6. Extra- Signfeld- a spin off the show Seinfeld.
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Cyber Seniors - Love This!

This is so heartwarming.  Cyber Seniors are senior citizens who take their first steps with the internet.  They are taught by teenage mentors who go to school close to their nursing home.  This would be a great service learning project in our communities.  The group learns about Facebook, YouTube and email.  They learn that the internet is a great way to connect with their families.  The goal of Cyber Seniors is to teach teach senior citizens how to send and receive emails and talk to distant friends and relatives using Sype. 

This movement helps the older generation to learn more about technology.  It not only teaches them about it but it gives them power to expand their social and physical needs. If you want to learn more about it, head over to the Cyber Seniors Documentary page.  

I believe this is a great project- both rewarding and life changing for so many. 
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Simplicity this Summer

I have spent some time this week organizing all my files in notebooks.  Some items are in large 2 inch and 3 inch binders and some things just fit better in 1 inch binders.  You may not be one to carry one large notebook around with you.  I do a little of both.  A few small notebooks were created today for items that I need to access often but don't want to be weighed down by it all the time. 

I purchased pink 1 inch binders today and created some very cute notebooks. 
 Take a look at what you get with the Administrator Binder Covers.





 Now for the everyday use I still use my Principal Binder.  It has a little of everything at my fingertips.  When I'm off campus, this binder is usually my saving grace.  You never know when you might be asked something in a meeting and you don't want to not have the answer with you. 

Are you getting organized or waiting until school starts?   If you are ready now, you get this today by clicking here




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