We have been building our R Factor behaviors in Hilliard City Schools for several years. My staff and I have been extremely intentional about teaching these behaviors to our students. This year is our second year of R Factor student training. As a building principal, it is fascinating to see how this training has impacted the culture of our school.
On Wednesday, two second grade boys were sent inside from recess because they were pushing each other and acting all around Below the Line. I began speaking to the boys and had to take a moment so that I could press pause and get my mind right. In my very brief moment of pause, I was able to think clearly about the outcome that I wanted the for this situation. It wasn't that I wanted the boys to be in trouble or lose recess. What I really wanted was for them to act Above the Line at recess so they could have a fun time with their friends. Even though I had taken time to get my mind right, I was still surprised by what came out of my mouth next. I looked at both boys and in my best "disappointed principal voice" I said, "Well, this is on you, you own your 20 square feet so I'm going to ask you a question. Do you want a consequence for your behavior or would you like to accept a challenge?" Very quickly each boy said, "A challenge!"
So, I talked to them about their impulsive Below the Line behavior. We discussed what it means to be on auto-pilot. They agreed that their behavior fit the descriptions. Then we talked about what it means to be intentional and on-purpose. They easily rattled of many on-purpose behaviors that they could have participated in at recess. So, then, I gave them their challenge. I challenged the boys to go to recess the next day and make on-purpose, intentional decisions to be Above the Line. They eagerly accepted this challenge and happily headed out the door.
The next day rolled along as usual and to be honest, I'd forgotten about this challenge until I say two red-faced, sweaty seven year olds appear in my office at 12:45 to give me their recess report with big grins on their faces. I brought the boys into my office and called their teacher in to join me. The boys could barely contain their excitement as they shared all of their Above the Line behaviors. I'm sure you could imagine what they said. But the rest of the story is even better. Their teacher and I asked them how they felt after having such a positive recess. These two out of breath little boys explained how happy they were and that because they were Above the Line, they noticed their friends were being Above the Line, too! Next, we talked about R6-Build Skill. The boys quickly realized that the skill they were building was being positive leaders. They decided that they wanted to try this again and continue to report the impact of their Above the Line behavior.
My challenge to my staff and to myself is to continue to think about the OUTCOMES that we hope for when we are presented with EVENTS. Then, press pause and get our minds right so we can choose the most Above the Line R for the situation.
What if we give more children recess challenges? How would that change the culture of our playground?
This experiment proved that when children are INTENTIONAL about their actions they can and they will make the Above the Line choice.
Here is your staff update for October 27.
I have had such a great time coming around to rooms and filling out your #jwgrows forms. If I haven't gotten to you yet, I will hopefully get to you soon!
Here are some of the goals that teachers in our building have.
I have learned so much for doing the #jwgrows observations that I want to make sure you have time to do some, too! So, I am CANCELLING the staff meeting on October 26th in the hopes that you do the following:
1. Find 2 people to come in and observe YOU.
2. Find 2 people to observe.
3. Reflect on your PAP
At our November 10th staff meeting, we will share what we've learned by observing each other for our #jwgrows challenge and we will reflect on our PAP progress.
Remember in order to be Better Today Than Yesterday and Better Tomorrow Than Today we must discipline ourselves to focus on becoming the BEST VERSION OF US! Observation and reflection are two ways that we can continue to grow.
I can't wait to hear about what we all learn from our #jwgrows challenge.
Here is your staff update for October 19th.
In the past, I’ve shared with you the analogy of a marathon runner hitting the 20th mile. In case you don’t remember this analogy, I’ll share it again.
The 20th mile is where the majority of marathon runners drop out of the race, not the in first mile and not in the last, but the 20th. I bring this up to you now because we are closing in on our 20th mile. We started the school in a dead sprint and we aren’t slowing down anytime soon. We’re coming off a week in which we had visitors three out of five days!
Next week is conference week; our 20th mile. We’re stressed, we’re tired, and we’re spread too thin. At this point in the school year the thing that separates the average from the ELITE is our attitude and our mindset. Let’s acknowledge that this upcoming week is going to be challenging and then, let’s resist the urge to BCD. Let’s resist the urge to be short with one another. Let’s change the story we’re telling ourselves and remember that we GET to meet with our students’ parents. And, we GET to share all of the amazing things our students are doing.
I’ve had so much fun sitting in on conferences with many of you. Let’s go into next week with a positive mindset. We’re a team and we’re in this together. Lean on your colleagues. Help someone who’s stressed and accept help when you’re feeling stressed. Let’s not tap out in our 20th mile. Let’s push through and we’ll come out on the other side as a stronger team and further down the road on our journey to ELITE.
Here is your staff update for October 13th.
The Lead Now Framework has been guiding me as I work as your principal this school year. Recently, I’ve studied the area of COMPETENCE. Through my reading, I’ve learned that competence is technical trust. It is established through repeated experience that you all have with me as we solve problem and get things done. (Also known to us as GSDing!)
But what I love most about the area of competence is this quote:
Not only does competence involve what a leader does but more importantly how the leader is able to make other people better.
When I read this statement I was reminded that we are on the right journey.
You have taken a big step this year as you have made yourselves vulnerable by participated in our #jwgrows challenge. Your signs are up with your goals posted. And, many of you have started observing each other. You are all competent leaders. There is no better way to make others better than to take the opportunity to watch each other as we teach. I know that getting and giving feedback can feel uncomfortable, but we will all be better for it. So, embrace the discomfort and take the opportunity to become better.
We ARE on a journey to ELITE! Keep up the great work. I will continue to analyze my own leadership so that I can create conditions for you to be at your best.
Please tweet your pictures and thoughts from your classroom observations using #jwgrows in your tweets.
Here is your staff update for October 6.