Power generates a great deal of conversation. When you see the word power, what is the first thing you think of? The power we use daily, the power we seek to have, the power of others, or how to gain power?
So what is the best source of power to utilize daily in our lives? I think there is a big picture to look at and a solution that requires a depth of asking more questions without making quick decisions.
It is our nature to seek power as we want to control things within our reach. Think about children who say “no” I don’t want to eat corn. Then the negotiations begin and choices. “Take two bites.”
Power can be supersized with the images of “super hero’s with superpowers.” You will see good vs. evil in the battles of powers. Power can be used for good and can be abused for bad. It is always based on the foundation my philosophy in education, “choices.” We can choose how we do, what we say, and the efforts of the power we have to influence others. Adding value to others is key in recognizing who is seeking to make a difference and the power they gain is not a priority in the journey they are traveling.
Our choice of “why” we seek power determines the “who” we become as leaders. In research and in many articles, you will find discussions about leaders who seek control of those who they work with to increase productivity, increase test scores, improve attendance, and many issues the organization is facing with harsh demands and threats. Do we have relationships with others in power which is positive for us or negative? Do we need to look at ourselves to understand our choice to stay with those who are abusive with their power?
I often warn about the power of others and having a movement of “group think.” It is critical in education to build skills for children to understand the power they have and how to handle this power. Education is something we do with children, not to them. We want answer seekers and not answer getters to promote a regurgitation of the same answers. Allowing students to talk about the problems they are solving helps in promoting agency, innovation, problem solving and risk taking. In our workforce, we want a generation fueled with the power of open-mindedness, ambition, creativity, determination, and grit.
Understanding how power works is the first step in learning to gain power. Power is not in holding a position of authority. This does not give you the power to make a change. We see people in positions of authority, and we watch, read and hear about the misuse of the positions. It does not matter what political party you belong to; you will find the misuse of positions throughout history and current positions throughout the land.
Power can change individuals, I believe, for the better and sometimes not. It is in the strong character traits each individual has, along with the core values they hold, which will continue to guide them through. If you genuinely want to make a change begin by:
Power is the fuel we give it. If there is someone abusing their power, be the one to stand up and not let them get by with it. We cannot be bystanders but upstanders for the power of good to make positive changes in our world. I cannot do it, but we can.
Over the next few months, I will be making some changes. I appreciate all of your patience while I undergo these transitions to bring better service to all of you.
I held several Zoom meetings over the past few days with trusted individuals to provide feedback, advice, and guidance at my request. The information I have gathered over the past few years and in my recent Zoom meetings have provided me with what I need to serve others better.
Thank you to all of you who have selected to follow me. You are the reason I work hard each day. My word for the year is “Grit,” and I am pushing myself to give you more than 2022.
As I prepare for the New Year I always select one word to move me forward. My one word for this year is Grit. Take a few days to think of the “One Word” that will move you forward in the new year.
There are always signs of hope if you are looking. Keep hope in your life as we work each day to make it better than yesterday. Change does not happen overnight, but with continued positive work, differences are made. Be the light today to guide for a brighter tomorrow.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and so many are working to prepare the family feast. We have others working hard to make sure those who cannot have a family dinner enjoy one with the help of others.
I am always so grateful to all who work hard to help others daily.
In our family, we know when we see Thanksgiving come and go, it will not be long until we begin celebrating birthdays and Christmas. Snow is coming!
My husband is not a big fan of the snow, but he sure has a lot of stories as a child of his time in the snow. It was not that long ago we had a snowmobile as well. But snow is not something he enjoys. But ready or not, many have already experienced the first snow of the season.
Fall leaves, colors so bright cling to the branches before they let go….
Floating through the air they appear to know….
There is a season for everything and a time for snow!
So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…..
When you look at Patching Holes, it brings a visual to your mind of a hole. Then the word patching indicates this will be a temporary fix for this hole which will remain to exist.
I have been involved in education for over 25 years. I can testify we have been working on patching holes the entire time. When we meet to discuss the results of the test scores results reported each year, the same things come up in the discussions.
Those are the basic go-to patching holes all school districts address. If I have missed any, please feel free to share it with us.
There have been new approaches, new curriculum materials, lots of professional development, and no improvements. Taking time to look deeper into these issues is what is needed as we now find ourselves leading out of a global pandemic with students who have lost two years of academic, self-awareness, social-awareness, and foundational skills.
What is the solution?
There is a process to follow in making the best decisions for those we serve. It cannot be one school, some schools, all schools, but schools, families, and communities working together to develop plans to support the entire child as we help them build up; it takes legislators to fund schools adequately across all states and locations equally. All areas must have high-quality connections and equipment to serve students.
We do not need to patch the holes in education; we must fix them today. Education is not a political game, and it has cost generations of quality education.
Everyone has two basic needs to have filled. They need to feel good and safe. Let’s begin with my Two Rules in helping all schools, homes and communities with feeling good and safe. What does that look like and sound like?
These are just a few of the points, to begin with, helping to bring action items to the table to start establishing safety. There is a great deal of work to do, but this is the beginning of not patching holes but establishing foundations.
Curriculum in education seems to be something people are talking about right now. However, we are not talking about the right points of curriculum. We need to puch asside all of these extra topics which is adding layers and layers of work to the teachers, not to mention taking time away from students who are two years on average behind in the foundational skills they need in order to become successful in their lives. Children are not reading at grade level and they are not at grade level for math. These are two critical points which must be addressed today. Look at the data. We have seen an overall decline for years. Even those who were at level or above, were not making the gains they should have been based on their skill sets. Can we refocus our efforts on helping students learn foundational skills?
My blog post on October 27, 2022, began with students saying. Embedded within the post was an article with data collected from middle and high school students. The data in the paper presented the biggest barriers to student learning, according to a new report released by YouthTruth, a nonprofit that surveys K-12 students and families for school districts.
Anxiety, depression, and stress were indicated, along with students identifying they did not have enough support at school by finding enough adult support. School counselors, Social Workers, School Psychologists, and other Mental Health providers are in need, but there is a shortage. There are not enough qualified individuals to fill positions, nor do schools have the available funding to support all of the additional needs.
Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 24th, 2022, had an active shooter. A teen and an adult were killed in the shooting. With the fast-acting security team at the school, all doors being locked, following the safety drill protocols for active shooters, and the fast response of the police department, the shooter was taken down within minutes of the 911 call. All of this saved lives.
While investigating why this school is a target for violence and why the shooter with no background in violence would commit such an act, mental health is brought up. In every case of active shooters, mental health is brought up as an indication of triggers for these incidents. However, the first thing politicians, media, and others do is focus on the weapons used in the horrific violence.
I intend to bring a spotlight on targeting the core of the issue long before (years), before the few days before they have a breakdown and decide to do such an awful thing to the lives of innocent individuals. Those few minutes in the lives of all who survived will be with them for a lifetime. To all of the families who lost loved ones, the scars of the day are so deep. All of these add additional needs for mental health support for the trauma experienced from extreme events, which mental health may have been able to prevent.
In July of 2022, I wrote another blog post about safety and feeling good. These are the foundation of my Two Rule Philosophy for school. In having a Two Rule school, the purpose is to meet the needs we all value; Safety and Feeling Good. If you look at all of the rules you currently have, the basic foundation of each one is grounded in one or both of those simple Two Rules. However, they are not simple at all once we dig deeper into how we apply, model, explain, support, and teach all that goes along with them.
We will continue to see violence, anger, and issues with our youth and young adults until we address the issues at the core of the problem. Mental Health is a significant need. It is my professional opinion implementation of Two Rules in all schools will begin to develop the habits, skills, and knowledge needed to form a solid foundation for success not only in academics but in their life journey. In addition, we are advocating for funding to increase mental health support. We need to help more individuals who want to go into the mental health and education.
My final thought to share is this, as my editor is currently working on finalizing my book with me, it was important to me to have the book contain pages leaders can take to implement so it will have those. In addition, a collaboration of teams is significant for me as well, so this is included. When I say teams, I want to clarify what this means. Education is not something we do to children; it is something we do with children. Children, families, schools, and the community are part of the teams. Children will lead the conferences about what they are learning, what strengths they have, what they need help with, and how they would like us to all support them. Communication openly together. Nothing changes until we change our approaches together in partnerships. It really does take a village!
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Matthew 5:14
One of my rules is about feeling safe. As a child, I was terrified of the dark. When the lights went out, I could not see, and what I could not see scared me. How I did not know in reality, even when the light is on, there are things we cannot see we should be terrified of.
We’ll leave the light on for you. Is it an excellent marketing hit for what hotel chain? It is the best phrase and the spokesman Tom Bodett has the perfect tone of voice to capture the emotion the advertisers want.
At this moment, there seems to be a spotlight being used to flash from this political talking point to the next. Some politicians change their points of view based on polling numbers and then personal attacks on each other. I know I have watched these things happen before in my decades of life, but today they seem to be a little more dangerous.
My heart broke as we flipped on the TV going through stations, and saw a report of several people killed. The shooter had been killed in the process, he was 15 years old. Then another story I read about police officers responding to an emergency call of domestic violence which could have been just a way to get them to come so they could be attacked. Why so much anger?
Another spotlight is shining brightly on education. It should be! I am a retired educator and I have always wanted more attention on education, someone to look at the equity of the funding for education and to look at how we support education overall.
Starting my career as a Teaching Assistant and ending as the Director of Educational Support Programs, I have been blessed to see through the lenses of many. I have been in rural schools, urban schools, high-poverty schools, and diverse schools, and I have worked with gifted students and special needs students. However, the spotlight is shining with a twist on education.
What is happening in education, to education, and with education?
Parents should be involved! Students should be concerned! The community should be involved! “Education is something we do with children, not to them.” My Two Rule philosophy includes partnerships of home-school-community. The center of the philosophy is the child. Children are developing and growing on a life-long journey. Our responsibility is to provide a strong foundation of skills to help them reach the highest possible levels and to provide a pathway to success.
Now that the light is on education, it is time to show what you need, what you are doing, and how you will build partnerships to achieve for the students you serve. Step into the light and make your voice heard to push back on the positives you are doing. It is time to let your light shine bright! Please let me know if I can help you. Education for all children is essential to all of us.
I am excited to introduce you to Mitch Weathers, a high school teacher who has created and designed Organized Binder. Mitch teaches you precisely what I believe is the absolute best first step in establishing your work in becoming a successful school and classroom. His teaching of executive functioning skills focuses on six areas (Organization, Working Memory, Goal Setting, Planning and Time Management, Self Regulation, and Accountability), and he can take you through each one with first-hand experience on how it works with examples from his classroom.
Organized Binder is a consistent approach to teaching the executive functions our children need. It perfectly matches my Two Rule philosophy in helping everyone feel good and safe at school. Teachers are faced with “managing” classrooms and not being able to get the “teaching” they are passionate about doing because of executive functioning skills. Children can gain the skills they need to begin to discover not only who they are but what they can be.
Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. These skills are the foundation needed to build a successful learning journey and life. Children who have experienced trauma and other environmental issues, executive functioning skills have been impacted. Children at birth have been genetically predisposed to have some, but it is through environmental experiences they learn to utilize these skills. Birth to three programs, as well as pre-school programs, are an essential part of the educational journey for our at-risk children. Practicing these skills consistently, seeing them modeled, and being engaged with their use will most likely take risks in learning. Our children will grow more rather than slip further behind without a focus on the need to learn, use and practice these skills.
If you want to learn more about executive functioning skills development by age, a chart on the website is provided to you as a free download along with more information.
I told Mitch this reminded me of our AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program in my last school. Organized Binder and how Mitch presents his information in every classroom can utilize his methods, practice, and strategies. I want to invite you to connect with him at his site. Reach out to him and see if this is something you can do with a group or if you want to try it out for yourself. I want to make sure you know I am not getting anything in return from him for talking about what he does. I truly believe in this best practice for the children, staff, and families we serve.
Thank you Mitch for being the solution daily for the kids who need you!