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Archive for October, 2011


That is right you are doing the CHA-CHA-CHA!


You are going to SLIIIIDDDEE to the right and SSLLLLLLLLIIIIDDE to the left. Clap, clap, clap your hands. You have your own dance based on empathy for each other, for students, and for parents. You spin and turn and adjust to create collective trust. You implement the best moves with best practices and new moves. You observe each others’ dance and you move to a rhythm created by data. Your dance is a vision of HEAVEN, displayed in a mission and practice with smart goals to keep you in time.

Keep it up because I have a feeling you are going to have a good, good, year!


Data head.

You built collective trust, you read journals, articles and books. Now what? What is going to be the reason you change? Your staff is pumped up to go! Barbara Coker herself has volunteered to lead the next program for improvement, your former intoxicated principal is willing to throw a party to celebrate your soon to be success but you need an academic game plan. Who do you go to?

You go to the FOX!


Nope. Not that Fox, but just as intelligent and ever so charming, humble and brilliant.  You go to Dennis Fox!




He will tell you all about using DATA to make decision that better your students and your school.  I,personally, feel that implementing data will benefit the entire school and build collective trust. I think that many people may get caught up in “teaching to test” or fear standards or data. In contrast, data should build you up. You learn where the areas of weakness and the areas of strength. I think it depends on perspective. If you are willing to grow and to help others, it won’t matter what your scores are but about the process of improvement.



Don't fear the test or data!

True data study will lead you to helping the students get better. I believe tests like the CAHSEE are good standard to have. Students should be required to have certain skills before they exit high school. I also believe that the CST scores are not the Bible of how we are teaching ,but isn’t it great to have a standard of what we can reach for and where students can be academically?

How are you going to ADAPT?

Schools have both positive and negative cultures.

Elements of Positive Successful School Cultures

  1. A mission focuses on student and teacher learning.
  2. A rich sense of history and purpose.
  3. Core values of collegiality, performance,  and improvement that engender quality, achievement, and learning for everyone.
  4. Positive beliefs and assumptions about the potential of students and staff to learn and grow.
  5. A strong professional community that uses knowledge, experience, and research to improve practice.
  6. An informal network that fosters positive communication flow.
  7. Shared leadership that balances continuity and improvement.
  8. Rituals and ceremonies that reinforce core cultural values.
  9. Stories that celebrate successes and recognize heroines and heroes.
  10. A physical environment that symbolizes joy and pride.
  11. A widely shared sense of respect and caring for everyone.
1.  Negative values and beliefs hold sway.
2. The cultural network’s most poweful members are, saboteurs, pessimistic storytellers, “keepers of the NIGHTMARE”, “naysayers and negaholics, prima Donnas and prima Donalds, space cadets, martyrs, and has deadwood, driftwood and ballast.
3. The only heroes are anti-heroic.
4. Few positive rituals, traditions, or ceremonies exist to develop a sense of community and hopefullness.
How are you going to fight these toxic cultures? What steps you can you take to fight the Barbara Cokers, the intoxicated assistant principals, and the devastated below improvement schools?
You, my diligent friend, my conquer of the universe. You are going to ADAPT! You are going LEAD by EXAMPLE?
You are going to employ the wisdom of your PEEPS! The educational voices of leadership in today’s growing and moving society. You will use the knowledge of Collective Trust.  You will build trust in the stakeholders by acting with benevolence and empathy.
And you need to ADAPT! Just like creatures of the sea who ADAPTED to their environment to meet the changes.
However, in our case, we are going to use strategies from…
You are going to establish the Seven Noms of Collaboration
1. Pausing
2. Paraphrasing
3. Probing for specifity
4.Putting ideas on the table
5. Paying attention to self and others
6. Presuming positive intentions
7. Pursuing a balance between advocacy and inquiry.

Collective Trust

You are on your way! You’ve got the ISSLC, you understand VISION, you understand the MISSION and you implemented SMART GOALS.  How will you get a staff, school, parents,students, and community to work towards this? You need COLLECTIVE TRUST.

Listen to an INTERVIEW with the authors.

In conclusion, the authors state nine important principals and practical suggestions.

1. Leadership generates collective trust.

*Make authentic behavior and openness habits of action.

*Stamp our artificiality and game playing.

2. Organization structure influences collective trust.

*Build enabling school structures.

*Avoid structural features that restrain and hinder.

3. School innovation and reform require collective trust.

*Make trust the linchpin of school reform.

*Use social support to create and nurture trust.

4.  Trust, efficacy, and academic emphasis create a synergistic sense of academic optimism.

*Forge a culture of academic optimism.

*Treat academic optimism as an investment in persistence, resilience, and achievement.

5. Positive and productive social interaction requires collective trust.

*Infuse trust as a persistent theme in the life of schools.

*Guard against any action that erodes trust.

6. Collective trust is salient for student achievement.

*Build collective trust as a platform for efficacy, optimism, parental outreach, professional community, and high expectations.

*Earn the trust of parents and students.

7. Collective trust requires risk taking and vulnerablity.

*Demonstrate benevolence, reliability, honesty, openness, and competence.

*Eschew secrecy and deal making.

8. Collective trust enhances cooperation.

*Establish the community as a partner in school affairs.

*Confirm collaborative and professional behaviors as the norm.

9. Collective trust shapes social capital and social action.

*Create and support authentic reciprocal interactions: They boost trust.

*Use social capital to promote school conditions that enhance student achievement.

“As principal, you are the BUFFER for your teachers.”-Professor Sandoval

“Trust is the lubricant to successful change.”-Professor Sandoval



"If the vision is the grand target- a distant ideal that we are striving for-then our goals are the short-term mini-targets that we aim for along the way." -Blankstein



*Specific and Strategic

Specific relates to clarity

Strategic to aligned to mission and vision






People must believe that success is realistic



Focuses on the outcome, not the process of getting there.

Refers to the desired END results.



*Specifies when the goal will be achieved


Mission: Why you do what you do.

“The mission statement can serve as the vital lifeblood of the school’s daily activities and policies. It should be fundamental to every decision at every level. An effective mission statement expresses the school’s purpose-its essential reason for education in the first place. It expresses why a school EXISTS.”- Alan M. Blankstein


Effective Mission Statements

  1. The mission of school is clear.
  2. The mission states exactly what students are to learn.
  3. The mission is measurable. (How will we know if students have learned?)
  4. The mission provides for failure. (What will we do if students don’t learn?}

Interesting Article: How to Write a Mission Statement that Isn’t Dumb


Vision: What does heaven look like?

At this point in your journey you should have a few things established.

1. You got STYLE, baby…

Self discovery and you respect the variety of styles.

2. You know your PEEPS!

Okay so maybe not these peeps. But you should know a few authors and who will be discussed in this blog.

How are you going create REFORM? Reform needs vision.  Vision is your heaven or Nirvana.  According to 

“A vision paints a picture of what we can become.”-Blankstein 

So what does your heaven look like? Blankstein, derived from Kotter (1996) than say that vision statements should be

  • Imaginable
  • Desirable
  • Feasible
  • Focused
  • Flexible
  • Communicable

Evaluative Questions for Visions?

  • To what extent is the vision statement future-oriented?
  • To what extent is it likely to lead to a clearly better future for the organization?
  • To what extent does it fit with the organization’s history, culture and values?
  • To what extent does it set standards of excellence and reflect how ideas?
  • To what does it clarify direction?
  • To what extent does it inspire enthusiasm and encourage commitment?
  • Is it ambitious enough?

A Sense of a Goose


Think about it. What will your VISION look like? Will you be dancing in heaven?

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