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Good Morning <<First Name>>!
The past two weeks have been insanely busy for me at work...and I am enjoying it! There is something about the work we do that just keeps me pumped up.

Our IU had over 50 teachers and administrators attend a face-to-face training on the science of teaching math last week.  This really got me excited. Educators talking about effective instruction is the foundation of what we do.

What gets you fired up as we start the new year?  I would love to hear from you!

Tackle one challenge this week. Identify the challenge on Monday and create a strategy to complete the solution by the end of the week. Hint, pick a smaller challenge that is "doable" in a week!

Have a great week!
Quote To Ponder
"Growing, ripening, aging, dying — the passing of time is predestined, inevitable.
There is only one solution if old age is not to be an absurd parody of our former life, and that is to go on pursuing ends that give our existence a meaning — devotion to individuals, to groups or to causes, social, political, intellectual or creative work… In old age we should wish still to have passions strong enough to prevent us turning in on ourselves. One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation, compassion."
-Simone de Beauvoir


Generation Z (basically those younger than 23) suffer from their own pandemic...and that is loneliness. According to a recent survey, 56% of Gen Zers reported feeling lonely at least once or twice a month during their childhood. Contrast with only 24% of Baby Boomers felt the same way during their childhood. 

A consensus is emerging that social media and time spent on the phone is the root cause of this loneliness...thus the term "phonliness."

You know me, I do not favor trying to solve world problems with huge, complex ideas. I prefer to tackle small challenges that actually have a chance to succeed. Since we deal with Gen Z everyday in school (our students) and we are starting to hire Gen Zers as staff, it is paramount that we think of ways to mitigate phoneliness.

Here are some ideas from Tim Elmore.
  1. Limit and balance their hours on their portable device. 
  2. Don’t stereotype by assuming they prefer screens and virtual meetings. Interestingly, Gen Zers report the lowest satisfaction with online work. Baby Boomers show the greatest satisfaction...hmm.
  3. Assign them encounters where they meet up face-to-face with others.
  4. Provide them with questions to engage others with and then report back. Social media algorithms encourage superficial interactions. Help gen Zers by creating situations where they must interact in a more meaningful way. Provide prompts if necessary.
  5. Teach them listening skills.
On a personal note, my daughter had her phone stolen last year at college. For a lot of frustrating reasons (that have to do with large telecommunication companies), she did not get a replacement for over a week. She told my wife and me that she didn't really miss the phone and felt less stressed out...hmm
Read The Blog Post Here

A New Book From Me And Some Friends

I am proud to announce that later this year some friends and I will publish a new book. My mentors and friends, Pat Crawford, Jay Scott, Duff Rearick and I are currently in the process of writing the book.

We do not have a title yet, but the book is about disciplines that help school leaders thrive. We have been working on it for over three months and the more we work, the more excited I get! I believe it will be helpful for you as you lead your schools.

I will keep you updated on the progress of the book

You can help contribute by sharing with me what discipline has helped you the most in your education leadership career. Just reply to this email with what your discipline is and why it has been helpful.
Strategy V. Goals
I have many, many weaknesses, including my love for making goals. Now, I don't reach the vast majority of my goals, (probably because I make too many) but I am a goal-oriented person. I suspect a lot of you reading this are goal oriented as well. 

Let's take a minute to reflect on what happens after we make a goal either personally or at work. At times, this is where the work stops..."Hey, I made the goal now I can just work toward the goal because I want it to happen."

Not an effective way to go about reaching your goal. Your goal should address a challenge you are facing personally or that your work is facing. This focuses the goal.

What you need is a strategy. Okay, that sounds simple and obvious, but let's look deeper.

If your school has a goal you must consider a few things before you create a strategy to accomplish the goal.
  1. What are the capabilities of you and your team?
  2. What are the barriers that need to be addressed? 
  3. Who else is working on a similar problem?
Now you are ready to create a strategy. You now work the strategy, not the goal. Does this make sense to you at all? Let me know by replying to the email!
Let's Talk About Courage
Let me be clear about the courage we need to discuss. This is not the physical courage needed when confronted by a threatening situation. The armed services, law enforcement, and other first responders deal with this every day.

I am talking about the courage needed to act on something in your work. I call it existential courage.

The easy path many times is to do nothing or something so little that nothing will change. This is called regressing to the norm. "Let's be safe, not create waves and survive," is the slogan. There are times when it is prudent not to take action, however, those times should not be the norm.

We know what physical courage looks like in war and in law enforcement. What does existential courage look like for the rest of us?

Suzy McAlpine offers some examples to make us think.
  1. Abandoning a practice that has made you successful in the past but which no longer serves you
  2. Uncovering your biases and then taking meaningful action
  3. Admitting to your team when you have made a mistake or asking for help
  4. Not asking others to stick their neck out or be vulnerable unless you’re willing to model that
  5. Choosing a strategy which is risky
  6. Persisting after the first failure (and the second)
  7. Leaning into, as opposed to avoiding, an uncomfortable conversation with compassion for everyone involved
  8. Making decisions based on your values, even when it’s difficult
Action step: what THREE examples will you use this week?
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Book Of The Week
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