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How To Orient Your Governing Board Members

Hey my name is Tom Miller and I have been a consultant, trainer and coach for charter school boards since 2012. I have also been a board member since 2015 and there is one thing I have found to be true…

If you want to be a highly effective governing charter school board then you need to be intentional with every aspect of your board, especially board member orientation.  

Here is what I mean.

My first experience as a charter school board member was similar to a middle school dance. I walked in, looked for someone I knew, and sat down. I NEVER hope for an ice breaker activity, but for the first time in my life, something corny like a get-to-know-you-game may have done the trick.  

When I was elected to the board, I was also elected as the Secretary and Chair of the Governance Committee (huge mistake!). Can I share with you what a challenge it was to take meeting minutes when I didn’t know the majority of the board members' names?

I would be lying if I...

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Charter School Leader Community COVID-19 Collaboration

 

Hey School Leaders, 

Our team and strategic partners meet every Thursday at 1:00 dozens of public charter school leaders meet virtually to Inform, Connect, Guide, and Unite charter and business leaders during this time. We will continue to do so until we are back in school.

Start by saving these School Leadership Community Created Resources to your DRIVE:

Google Folder Access

Shared COVID-19 Resource Document 

Here is access to the archived recordings (latest to earliest)

June 25th, 2020 (Special Guest Dave Machado from the NC Office of Charter Schools)

June 18, 2020 (Google DOC Notes- Look Under NEW for latest)

 

June 11, 2020 (Google Doc Notes)

 

 

June 4 Call (Clarence Henderson Archive)

May...

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How to Thrive Through COVID-19 As a School Leader

 

Hey, although these might seem tough times it is what we as leaders were trusted to do when we were appointed. 

Your job as a leader is to be microscopic on the present and telescopic towards the future. 

In less than 100 hours we went from organizing a possible break in school to a mandated two week closing. 

We went from canceling a few sporting events to being self-quarantined and no gathering of ten or more people. 

Some states have already canceled their end of year assessments, some are telling schools to start preparing for a full digital platform through the end of the year. 

Looking at our third and fourth quarter Principal Checklist through our Blue Print4Success program there are some critical organizational objectives (enrollment, hiring, strategic planning, budgeting) you need to be thinking on.

We have so many unknowns over the next 30 days every day matters to the future success.  There is one thing I know for sure...

when you confuse...

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COVID-19 Support and Resources

covid 19 school safety Mar 16, 2020

COVID-19 is fully disrupting millions of families across the globe. Small businesses and large corporations will be lost. 

Our team at Leaders Building Leaders has partnered with key leaders from across North Carolina to Inform, Connect, Guide, and Unite charter and business leaders during this time. 

 We aim to bring you the best resources and up to date information to ensure you can focus your time and energy on what is most important, the welfare of students and stakeholders.

All information is being housed here in our Google Doc. Click for access.

We have created multiple collaborative School Leadership Communities for you to join to keep in touch. 

Join Our SLACK Community: Click here (SLACK is direct messaging and resource sharing platform)

Join our Private Facebook School Leadership Community: Click Here

Schedule Thinking Partner Sessions with Tom or Katy Free of Charge:

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How Do You Know Your Charter School is Successful?

Today I have two questions for you to ask yourself:

  1. Do you find that the charter school you lead or work for is successful?
  2. If yes, what is the main reason for that success?

When I was a teacher, I was never sure if the schools I taught were successful. If they were indeed successful, we were certainly not provided any specific formula that led to our success.

My immediate reaction would be that any success we achieved would be due to the amazing teachers who were part of the team - especially the ones who were most effective in reaching out and building relationships with students.

It could have been my giant ego that got in the way, but I do not believe the teachers in the schools I taught in had much direction; the leadership was not very in tune with improving student achievement and closing the achievement gap. At least, I can stand to say that they were not very concerned by my classroom because I was never formally observed until the last week of school.

My teaching...

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Habits of Highly Effective Charter School Leaders

When I was a public charter school principal my team will tell you I had some horrific habits and a very little discipline. Whatever article I happened to read the week before, that's what the faculty meeting focused on. I would arrive at school each day prepared to observe, coach, lead and implement strategic initiatives. Then, the school day started and I got out of the firehose. The next thing you know cars are lining up for afternoon dismissal and my beautiful list of things to do has not accumulated one check off. I was active, but not productive. 

One might say, I had shiny object syndrome!

Over time, I got on activity auto-pilot. We were a good school, but not great. It was not until my third year and the second trip to the emergency room that I realized I was the problem and I was doing it ALL wrong. I had an incredible work ethic, but too many faulty assumptions and a lack of discipline in keeping the main thing the main thing. 

Everything started to change when I...

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Learn How to Empower Your People

During a recent leadership training, I facilitated a seminar with twenty organizational leaders. I asked them the following question: 

“When I think about delegating, I worry about ______________?” 

They were asked to fill-in-the-blank on a sticky note and place it in the middle of the room. 

We then took a tour around the room and discussed the responses. Overall, the leaders’ concerns fell into 3 key categories: 

Time Management

  • “Being done on time.”
  • “Missing deadlines.”
  • “The job getting done.”
  • “Being done in a timely manner.”
  • “It getting done.”
  • “Completing the task on time.”

Quality Management

  • “Being done correctly.”
  • Lack of attention to detail.”
  • “Quality of work.”
  • “Completing the task correctly.”
  • “Being done right.”
  • “The work being focused on the right things.”
  • Loss of focus on the...
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Celebrate Monday's: Look How This Charter School Teaches and Celebrates Its Core Values

core values Mar 02, 2020

Hey school leader,

Thank you for being such a valued member of our school leadership community.

I believe culture is the sum of all of the behaviors by the human beings in the organization.

The best way to ensure the behaviors by the humans are focused on the right things are to adopt agreed upon values.

These values cannot just be word on paper. They need to be discussed and defined. They need training and to be communicated daily through the actions of the leaders.  

If the values are not followed it's everyone in the organization's job to say so. Not just the person at the top of the organization. 

This why I loved visiting Pine Lake Prep as part of our Teacher Leader Consortium this past week. The staff, students and stakeholders spent an incredible amount of time working through an adoption process of their core values. 

Setting and changing the culture of a school might be the most important job of a leader as it doesn't matter how strong your...

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Want Shorter and More Productive Board Meetings?

governance Feb 25, 2020

As a public charter school consultant and trainer the question I get most often is, how do we make our board meetings shorter and more productive?

The answer is pretty simple in theory, but getting there takes focus.

Focus on what is most important. 

Since 2012 I have researched and studied effective governance practices. The last five years I have served on a charter school board as governance chair and two years as the board chair.

Here is what I learned.

If you do not prepare on the front end you will be repairing on the back end.

The key to facilitating an effective and purposeful board meeting begins with the setting of the monthly agenda.   

Who Sets the agenda?

The agenda is a collaborative process set by the head of the school and the board chair. 

When is the agenda set?

The development of the next months agenda begins at the end of the previous board meeting.

At the close of the meeting the board chair should:

  1. Ask who is taking minutes to...
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When This Comes, It's Too Late to Prepare

leadership Feb 23, 2020

After watching the Carolina Hurricanes game last night with family a great lesson in leadership first spoken by the late great John Wooden came to light...

"When the opportunity comes it’s too late to prepare."

In case you missed it, David Ayres, a 42 year old zamboni driver for a Toronto ice hockey rink was forced to play as the emergency goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs because of injury in front of over 18,000 fans in a must win game for Carolina. 

The Canes won 6-3 and Ayres received star of the game.

Ayres gave up two early goals but settled in to shut out the home team over the last 20 minutes. His teammates mobbed him when the game was over. 

Whether it was during his junior hockey days or maybe driving around on the zamboni in an empty rink; my guess is Ayres has played that scene in his head thousands of times.

And when he finally got his shot, decades after he first imagined, he was ready mentally and...

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