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!

“I made a decision to write for my readers, not to try to find more readers for my writing.” - Seth Godin

A circle is a round-shaped figure that has no corners or edges. Have you heard circle used in different ways? When you think about a circle, you visualize the shape in your mind. A circle is a perfectly round shape—meaning any point around its curve is the same distance from its central point. “She is not part of that circle of friends.” “It is so important to have a circle of trust.” “The circle of life is part of the Lion King.” Many examples of the use of a circle as more than just a shape, but symbolic in the meaning of the words attached. The vision in our head may show us the shape, but the words in a phrase bring to our heart a different feeling or emotion.

Have you ever felt left out? I know I have before. People begin talking about something that happened; they start laughing and sharing information. Then here I sat watching them like I was watching a television show instead of sitting with co-workers. Circles of friendships are formed at work and it is great. It is when exclusion from these groups becomes more and more, causing those sitting outside the ring to feel isolated. When the circle of friends crosses over to the circle of safety and trust at work, a sense of belonging and validation is missed by others.

Leaders need to be watchful of these situations and try to resolve them quickly. We absolutely cannot tell others what they do outside of the workplace, and we want everyone to have fun and enjoy work; it is when those areas cross over that we find issues. I will point out leaders, especially if this came from you and modeled. Everyone wants to feel good and to feel safe in their environment. Two Rule philosophy has taught us to look at those two questions. It is applied to every aspect of life and at every stage of life. Establishing a Circle of Safety to include everyone in your organization is essential. Do not leave anyone off the list. Every person in the organization is part of the Circle of Safety.

I started the blog today with a quote from Seth Godin. I started my blog because I was working on writing a book. I need to clarify my efforts in writing, my reasons, and my purpose.

My intentions have only been to help someone. Maybe you are the one I am writing for, and if it is you, I am glad it is. I look at the names of all of those who choose to follow me and the direct messages sent to me. We all come from many different places and have other interests and careers but share many of the same thoughts, troubles, and, at times, tears. I am thankful for a new follower, a like, and an occasional comment, and I am encouraged to write for another day. I hope we create a circle of daily solution friends who can inspire, ask questions, add sparks to life, and share thoughts, ideas, and solutions to make today better than yesterday. Thank you for being part of my circle Janet, Valerie, @DavidCoker, @vivomentor, @togetr4success, @parentingfamiliesdpapa, @thechristiantechnerd, and I have others I will highlight as I continue to appreciate you.

Anytime you want to publish with a big publishing company, they want to know you have established a group of people who would purchase the book you write. I never thought about that part of the process, and I still do not as much as I should. I first began writing the book after my car accident and change in my career as a healing process.

My blog posts are written to help individuals working to serve others. I come from the educational world; I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, so you will find those stories in my writing. I am a faith-based leader, you will also see spiritual, inspirational, and motivational pieces. When you combine all of those pieces, you get: to be the solution daily. Leaders are not those sitting in offices but those doing the work guiding others, shaping and discovering solutions daily with the help of others.

I hope you continue to follow, share, join us and be part of the Circle of Solutions family. We are happy you are here and welcome your thoughts. I left out an important fact about myself. I have always been a Disney fan! This blog post is not complete without ending with the Circle of Life! Enjoy each day we have!

When you think about feeling good and feeling safe, where do you see yourself? Where is the place those two things happen for you?

Now that you have the place, who is there to help you feel safe and good? Is it the place only, or is it a combination of the place and the people in the place as well?

One last thing, do you have a time you felt safe and good? Do you have all of the things pictured in your mind? I am hoping you will share with us your thoughts. What place, people, time, and anything else help make you feel safe and good?

As a teacher and an administrator, I heard children over my career talk about loving to come to school. As the years clicked by, those words faded, and changes occurred. More violence entered the communities, and schools began to experience more violent behaviors and then attacks at schools. Crisis and safety plans were developed to include “active shooter” training. We added school resource officers to our schools and security measures. If school was a place, teachers were the people, and the time was your childhood when you felt safe and good, then I am asking you to work with me to help make it possible for All of our children.

School begins soon for many on a balanced calendar schedule. The summer is coming to an end before we know it. However, the violence of the world continues, the division of the country remains, and only problems are being focused on with no real solutions with an action plan to address all of the issues.

My roots run deep in my passion for helping children, education, and those who serve to help others in this world we share. It is not you or me but all of us who can choose to be part of the solution in a world focused on problems. We begin with Two Rules and bring HOPEFUL (Helping Out People Everywhere For Unity and Longevity)strategies with action plans to improve together school, home, and community.

July-Countdown

I believe more than ever, your staff, students, families, and community want to know everyone is safe and feel good about being at school. How can you make this happen? We have some work to do and some steps to take to help lead our schools through this season. We begin with step 1 in Safety.

As the leader of your school, it is important to share now with the staff, families, and community your priority is for everyone to feel safe and good at school. It is also important to you to be HOPEFUL (Helping Out People Everywhere For Unity and Longevity); our children can feel this way everywhere they go.

Possible phrasing for communications. Maybe a Facebook post, Twitter, Newspaper, Newsletter, or multiple ways with consistent messaging.

I hope you will join us in choosing to be part of the solution daily as we make every environment safe for all of us. I only have Two Rules. Everyone who walks through the doors of (name of your school) will feel good and feel safe about being here. Before you say anything or do anything, ask yourself, is this going to make me or others feel good or safe. If the answer is no to either question, you should not choose to say or do. Choose to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. The choice is yours to make. We will work together on a culture that builds on leadership, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and making decisions. Our children will be active in their learning plans as I believe Education is something we do with children, not to them. Children will share their strengths, weaknesses, and what they need help with as they continue to grow on their learning journey.

Student lead conferences are an essential part of the Two Rule philosophy. If you are not already doing this, do not worry, we will have some guidance for this as well.

I would appreciate it if you could share this blog with others who you know would be interested in education, leadership, and working together to help everyone feel good and safe at school. Thank you for being the solution daily!

My mother always taught me to look for beauty in the eyes of others. When you look at the eyes of others, it is a window into their heart, soul, and hope.

As a child growing up, I was picked on a great deal. I was a pale small-framed little girl; I was picked on a great deal. Most people do not believe me, but I was a timid girl and had no confidence at all. I would say I was afraid of everything and everyone. These things added up for an easy target for others to bully.

My parents were older; they were not educated but were the kindest and most giving individuals you would ever know. My mother had some health issues, and she had eyes that were crossed. Looking into the eyes of others was an excellent lesson for her to teach me, as she knew I needed to learn how to look up and not down.

Eyes are windows

As I continued to grow, people picking on me at school continued. I listened to my mother and did look at the eyes of all of the people who surrounded me each day. They did not always notice my eyes looking at them, but I was taking notes in my mind of what their eyes were telling me.

Many of the kids picking on me had eyes that told me a different story. I could look at them and see emptiness, sadness, anger, hurt, and so much more. I was not sure I was looking the right way. How could this be? These kids were so mean, strong, not afraid, and so popular, I thought.

I went home and thought about what I saw and what I would do with the information I had. Then I remembered that my friend and I sang at the church on Sunday. The song we selected was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” The lyrics “Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer.” I would do exactly what our song selection was telling us to do.

Filled with Hope

I want to tell you the teasing and bullying stopped. It did not, but it changed for me. I no longer looked at it in the same way. I needed to continue to look at their eyes and work to help fill them with hope. My purpose would be to show others how to be a friend. My efforts had to be developed, and I needed to work on things, but it is a process. I needed a support system to help me, and I found it with several different people. It was when I got to high school that the shift came to be.

It took some amazing teachers; Mrs. Arnold was one of the standouts to help make the shift in me. I am thankful for the encouragement I received from my church family, teachers, and most importantly, God. Filling eyes with hope is an important part of the work teachers do each day. Please value this part of the work they do, which is not measured in an assessment, but in their lives, the impact which reaches beyond the curriculum taught.

I still look at the eyes of others. Many stories are told without a word being said if you take the time to look deeply. Please do your part in filling them up with the hope we all need as you work to be the solution daily in a world in need.

I missed the bus is a phrase referring to being too slow to take advantage of an opportunity. In education, it was an excuse for being late to school, like the video attached to the word bus from 1992. Have you ever used that phrase?

Jumping on the bandwagon is another phrase used to join a movement or cause because it is trendy. “Everyone is doing it.” The phrase itself began back in 1848 when a circus clown named Dan Rice would use his wagon to take politicians around to conduct speeches to local people. The music coming from the wagon always attracted a crowd. Have you ever used this phrase?

These phrases may not be utilized as much today as they did in the past, but the concepts are still practiced. Leaders miss opportunities and jump on shiny new things when everyone else gets the popular item. Why do they do this? They are stretched thin and need to find quick results in a fast pace world. Many pressures are placed on our leaders to perform, meet the standards, and be better than all competitors.

As the leader of your organization, you have a great deal of responsibility. There is no more significant responsibility than taking care of those you serve. All of your team members need to know your vision, but most importantly, they need to know they can trust you. A solid foundation builds a team that knows who they are, what they are doing, and where. Our vision is our dream. What we want to achieve in the work we do is the culture created.

The culture of your environment is critical. The vision you have can be incredible, but a toxic environment can destroy it before you begin to build. Culture is how we work each day to move us forward to our vision. In our culture, this is where the actual work is done to make the vision clear for all to see.

What can you do as a leader? Let’s ask hard questions, design plans, and develop habits, processes, and purpose together. Which is more important to have a vision or a positive culture?

Vision and Culture-Both are needed

VISION

A vision is a cornerstone of the organization. It is a statement of what an organization would like to achieve in the future but is more than a goal. A vision inspires and connects employees to purpose. As leaders, we need to work together to develop a vision statement with clarity in decision making, help guide others, and make it part of our daily work. Today's vision statements need to reflect the changes as we lead out of crisis and into the building.

CULTURE

Our culture is designed by what inspires us daily. It is our interactions together in working to achieve the vision, mission, and purpose. The core beliefs, values, and behaviors of the individuals within the organization reflect the culture. For a continuous improvement cycle to be in place, culture and vision are connected to gain purpose.

Everyone in our organization has to be all in on the vision we have and be actively participating in a positive culture to achieve the momentum needed to grow. Just like putting a puzzle together, when one piece is missing, it can not be completed. When you have one individual bringing negativity to the group and fighting against the group's beliefs, pieces begin to pull apart.

Start your Phrase……

Jon Gordon has the Energy Bus. What can be yours? Do you need one to begin to develop what you need to lead out of a crisis and into building back the foundation for the vision and culture required to succeed? Be the Solution Daily in a world that needs you! No need for catchy phrases, just a solid foundation with core beliefs, a vision , and a design of how to get there. It is fun to think of names, phrases, and crazy ways to remember things. However, the importance of the work is what the focus needs to be on. It cannot be like it was, and we must decide what works now.

With the transitions to Covid from Covid and now additional issues facing us, we need to outline the needs in all areas to focus on our realities.

Fitting the puzzle pieces together

Now that we are looking at our needs, it is time to complete a deeper dive into a needs assessment. This is the best place to start when beginning to look at building a foundation for continued growth.

Just a basic format to begin to gather data on needs. Deeper dives as you go into specific areas, skills, departments, policies and procedures.

Can we work together to ask hard questions? Can we listen to all voices? I would like to have honest conversations about what we are facing. This isn't easy because we will not all agree. Doing what is right is not what is easy; jumping on the bandwagon or missng the bus. It is in having the integrity of doing what is best for all of those involved and those we serve. Ken Blanchard, one of my favorite leaders, found that integrity is what everyone seeks out in leadership. Jon Gordon, another famous leader, has a fantastic book just released called The Sale along with his co-author Alex Demczak which is a tremendous tribute to learning about integrity. Please get your copy today. If you think you deserve to have a free copy from me, tell me what you gain from reading these blogs and how you share it with others. Please send me an email after you like the post at yohobren@gmail.com. Thanks for sharing time and space with me daily.

There are many great men and women in our history we can celebrate, learn from, respect and model our actions. This week we began with a man famous for his speech, “I have a dream.” Dr. Martin Luther King not only had a dream he believed in, but he also believed in what could be achieved if we dared to do what he perfectly stated!

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

“I have a dream today . . .
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning. “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that. Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside. Let freedom ring . . .
When we allow freedom to ring—when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men, and white men, Jews, and Gentiles, Protestants, and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.”
Reprinted by arrangement with The Heirs to the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr., c/o Writers House as the proprietor New York, NY. Copyright: © 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. © renewed 1991, Coretta Scott King.

Also in our history are individuals or groups that made horrible mistakes, took steps, believed in things, and did things they achieved we do not find acceptable. We learned from those as well. It is essential to talk about all of them and build from the learning we discover, not divide, hide or devalue anyone as we move forward. I am thankful for all historians who have and continue to document for us these pieces, which are so valuable. If you have not explored museums, read some of these fantastic books, or speak to individuals who have experienced first-hand some of the historical events, don't wait. I have been blessed to talk with military veterans Holocaust survivors and visit several museums.

Dream, Believe, Dare and Do is the business practice utilized by Disney. I incorporated this mindset in my approach to serving students in education. Walt Disney was a master at creating environments full of happiness, love, fun, and excitement. He was a servant leader, I believe.

Students in our care need to have dreams! Our staff does as well! The schoolhouse should be a place full of opportunities. Our beliefs in ourselves and each other push us to achieve! When we dare to take risks, think outside the box, and do the work, we find success.

I plan for all to believe; Two Rules can achieve great success for all who dare to do the work to implement the philosophy in their lives. Keep connecting, reading, and thinking! #Bethesolutiondaily

Being a leader in 2022 is the same, different, or we don't know? Do the qualities and skills need to be the same? What are your thoughts? Do we need different leadership qualities? What is the most important quality for a leader? Why?

I believe a job title does not define leadership. Leadership is part of our lives at different stages and areas. We provide opportunities for children to explore, experience, and engage in leadership. We have many lists of characteristics and qualities created over many decades to identify excellent leaders. Has leadership changed? Do the qualities change? How can we help children grow to become great leaders?

We need your help! Tell us what qualities do great leaders need.

Leaders are essential to organizations now more than at any other time. The skills needed for leaders to help staff and students grow include:

There are several more you could add to the list. What would you add? Leading is serious business! When you are leading to make improvements and changes, it becomes very serious! Have you noticed some individuals do not like change?

Time for Change is the new book by Anthony Muhammad and Luis Cruz. The book is an essential piece in outlining the importance of school improvement plans related to the change process. To improve, change happens. At the Illinois Principal Conference, I listened to Luis Cruz tell his story, and his dedication to the audience were touching to me. He personalized his talk with the principals and emphasized, “You Matter.” He gave many examples on how to change the description of your title to include many of the things these fantastic leaders do each day.

Luis F. Cruz

“Leadership represents the ability to use influence to improve organizational productivity. Leadership is not a position; it is a set of actions that positively shape the climate and culture of the working environment. In essence, leadership is a verb, not a noun.”

Time for Change 4 Essential Skills for Transformational School and District Leaders Anthony Muhammad, Luis Cruz

Focus on Four

Gerry Brooks is fun! He provides the humor you need in the “truth” of the work educators are doing! I will share another one of his video clips with you, but please grab a copy of his book Go See the Principal: True Tales from the School Trenches. Utilize his videos, ideas, and thoughts to help with your school culture. We all need laughter! He has excellent points and solutions to some of those tricky situations you may find yourself in at times.

Gerry Brooks

It would be fun for staff to do some things or all that he mentions in the book. One of my favorites is the acronyms he has! Education is full of these! It would be great to do with your staff when you are working on scheduling. It cracks me up! Here is the video clip:

video
play-sharp-fill

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Did someone inspire you to be where you are today in your career or life? I reflect over mine and can identify several points of time where individuals inspired me, encouraged me, and pushed me—so blessed by each one.

“Mark Cole began his career working for John Maxwell 21 years ago. It was an inauspicious start for the man who would go on to be Chief Executive Officer of The John Maxwell Company and his nine organizations.” Mark started in the mailroom.

Bill Dodd shared a great post that follows along with my philosophy of solution-focused leadership. You can read the post about Mark Cole by clicking on his picture below. I pulled from the article the Four Questions all leaders must ask and How to view Leadership Problems. I added my idea of How to be Solution-Focused.

4 Questions All Leaders Must Ask

  1. When is the last time I learned something for the first time?
  2. When is the last time I did something for the first time?
  3. When is the last time I found something better for the first time?
  4. When is the last time I saw something bigger for the first time?

How To View Leadership Problems

How to be Solution-Focused

People who have a leadership mindset love solving problems. Every problem is an opportunity to learn and grow. Real leaders know there’s always an answer. Most of the time, there are multiple answers. When you focus first on solutions, we will get more solutions. After spending time on generating ideas for solutions, save them for your next brainstorming session?

COVID taught us to take problems and solve them. If we keep looking at problems, we will keep getting more. COVID does not seem to be going away and continues to be one of those topics that will generate a great deal of debate. Our debate should only be on ideas for solutions.

www.bethesolutiondaily.com

Solutions are always my focus; however, trauma and social-emotional needs became more of the center of my practice after 2010. I always focused on the needs of others, but my personal experience provided me with a more in-depth and enhanced view.

A semi-truck hit this vehicle driven by my daughter. I was sitting behind her and her two-year-old daughter at the time. My best friend was in the passenger seat. We all survived with myself receiving the most severe injuries along with my daughter.

I have always had two rules in my philosophy to school, but also two foundational learning practices are added as well. The two learning practices are social-emotional-learning and trauma-informed. Currently, we are dealing with the trauma of a global pandemic, and the effects are not touching only our students but our staff, families, and communities.

Always remember everyone has a story to tell. Build relationships so all feel safe, heard, understood and building skills to understand all of the “how-to” in relationships.

If you have ideas, thoughts, questions or need support with an issue you are facing please send me a message. My purpose is to provide support, solutions and strategies. One of the things I want people to know about me if you do not already know me is, my generosity. I give away more and more. I have always done this and I always will. Giving to others is important to me. I am working hard to create more free resources for you.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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