It is easy to get caught up in just trying to accomplish day to day activities that it is challenging to initiate any real change. I have found that even well-planned initiatives can easily become lost if there isn’t any follow-up. I often take professional development that is meaningful at the time but when I try to implement these ideas, sometimes they get lost. In The 4 Disciplines of Execution, the store manager was asking his employees to choose one thing to focus on that week aside from the whirlwind, I thought this was powerful. Just focus on one thing different. I have found that what works best for me is to focus on one goal or one idea at a time. Instead of focusing on several strategies I just get too overwhelmed and stop all of them.
I think we all focus on the lag measures because that is easily explainable. I can easily pull up test scores from students, or when I worked retail the daily sales figures were readily available. We all know what we want to do, but how to get there is much more complicated. And the lead measure is just that, the how not the what. Years ago, I sat in a meeting where my former principal was pushing this idea from a book. The premise is if you are teaching “correctly” that 95% of the students should understand the concept the first time. If we could properly implement this theory, we would eliminate the need for tutoring and pull-outs. The theory never made sense to me because I may have a classroom of 30 students, all with diverse needs and learning at a different rate. So, I asked her how do we do this? How do I teach the concept of calculating the surface area of a 3D figure in ONE class with NO re-teaching? She had no response but still pressed on that this must happen. This is what makes it difficult to implement the lead measure, sometimes we just don’t know how to get there without careful thoughts. Or we know how to get there but we are not following through with our actions.
I love the idea of the scoreboard, it is so necessary. I think accountability is crucial when implementing anything new. Almost every year the district or school decides to change something, and at first, they hold teachers accountable but as the year progresses it seems to fade, and teachers stop working on whatever the initial plan was. We have an outstanding principal at my school and he often motivates us by competitions. I am not even competitive but his spirit is contagious and really drives us to put our best efforts. We have a fundraiser fun-run for our district to raise money for student’s college tuition. Last year our principal made a competition and would send out weekly sometimes daily updates with our enrollment for the fundraiser compared to other schools. This simple competition and email stirred up so much energy that our school had more enrollments than any of the other schools, including the high school which has 4 times the staff and students. Our students were participating in the competition because they wanted to beat other schools too, so seeing firsthand the importance of implementing a competition and being able to visibly see the progress is an excellent strategy.