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To Be Unclear is to be Unkind: A Note To School Leaders

This is a note to all decision makers in education.

In times of crisis, it is alright to be uncertain, but it is never alright to be unclear. To be unclear is to be unkind. 

Over the past 30 days, schools across the country have been forced to take their education plans virtually and serve all students the best that they can with very little, if any, preparation. 

Parents are scrambling to balance being full time employees, home makers and now home school teachers. Doing their best to keep up with the work. Identifying and filling in the learning gaps they now see in their children. Blaming teachers for not “making it easy” for them to follow the daily lesson and questioning what is my child learning at that school? 

Teachers are creating new ways to educate and engage students remotely, collect and grade work, take attendance, and do what they can to create some sense of a routine. Many have very little information on how to do all of these because they...

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Avoid This E-Communication Killer

communication leadership Apr 14, 2020

This is one of my most valuable lessons, and if you read this entire blog, you will be an expert on how to avoid this problem. 

Stick with me, it’s worth it.

First, let’s assume that you find the perfect article or resource to share with your team or staff.  

Something that, in your eyes, they would be foolish not to want to read or see.

And then you send it… and NO ONE REPLIES. 

Not only does no one reply. You do not see any evidence that anyone read and implemented it. 

 Why? What happened?

Let me show you some examples in hopes to clarify some things.

During our COVID-19 time, or maybe even before, many of you have either received or forwarded email to a friend, colleague or a supervisor that either has no text or a few words like; “Check this out”, “This is great”, “Love this!” or  “Take a look” and a link to an article, program, or resource. 

You, being a great friend or...

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Good Leaders Ask Great Questions

Hey, I am Dr. Tom Miller and I have a really big idea and an important book that I wanted to share with you today. 

I believe that good leaders ask great questions. 

Roddy Galbraith, the world's best speaker trainer and coach (who also happens to be my mentor) wrote a great personal growth book titled Go Out and Make a Mess that helps anyone who is feeling stuck or suffers from procrastination due to a desire to be perfect.

 During these times of unchartered territory, we are all being stretched personally and professionally and might be questioning what their future may look like.

Roddy's questions forced me to take a deeper look personally and professionally. They raised my awareness and brought key answers to questions at one time I wasn't comfortable asking or answering. 

You see, your success will be determined by the questions you are willing to ask and willing to answer.

Questions can connect people. Enhance collaboration with team members, build...

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EC Team Collaborative (COVID-19) Resource Page

Hey everyone, 

Our team are committed to bring this group of EC Leaders together every Wednesday at 3:00 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 (Click on the Exceptional Children's Folder)

School Leader Shared COVID-19 Resource Document 

DPI FAQ New Link

National Examples:

  • At one St. Paul charter school with a Hmong language and culture focus, Community School of Excellence, plan sets the expectation that these meetings align with IEP service minutes.
  • Similarly, another Twin Cities charter, Excell Academy, describes in their plan how teachers will upload videos and lessons that align to the student’s IEP goals, as well as low-tech options for students who cannot access materials required for an online lesson.
...
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Worrying is Like Bubble Gum for the Mind

habits leadership mentoring Mar 31, 2020

"Hey, I’m Tom Miller and I’ve got a quote I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes from my mentor Paul Martinelli. "Worrying is like bubblegum for the mind." 

Many times, thoughts that consume us are such – ‘Did I do right?’, ‘Could I have done better?’, ‘Am I enough?’, ‘What will be the result of this?’. 

In fact these are such familiar thoughts, that they are often on in our daily habits without our awareness. 

Lots of times, we are in these grey situations where there is nothing obvious that we’ve done wrong, but nothing that we’ve done terribly right either. These thoughts can paralyze you. 

One example is when a client or a potential client emails or calls me. My mind immediately goes to…”What did I do wrong?’ I sometimes delay in opening the email or listening to the voice message. 

Do any of these thoughts ever enter your mind? How do they make...

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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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