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Monday, June 18, 2012

Wrap-Up, Reflect, and Plan to Improve

The school year is winding down for us this week. I enjoy this time of year for several reasons, especially because come Friday, our teachers will have some time to begin to reflect, relax, and recharge for the next school year. They've worked hard this school year, and they've taught their students the value of hard-work and effort. It has also been a very rewarding year for us, and I appreciate all that our faculty and staff do for our students. Our students continue to grow and learn through the years they spend with us, and I know these dedicated professionals will keep our students' achievements trending upward.

Another reason I look forward to this time of year is because I have some time as a principal to wrap-up, reflect, and plan to improve. I continue to hear the words of Prof. Bill Garner, from my days as a doctoral student at Rutgers, in my head, "You need to take the time to read, think, and write." Prof. Garner regularly delivered this message to us and stressed its importance to becoming a practitioner-scholar. Not only did these words hold true throughout my graduate studies, but they are also crucial to my performance as a principal. Luckily, as educators, we're afforded the time to engage in these practices, and for me, there is no better time than the summer.

As I begin to wrap-up the current school year, it leads me to reflect on my performance during the past 10 months. I think about things that worked well for us, as well as those things that didn't go so well. I also think more about those evidence based school level variables that may improve achievement, variables such as professionalism, trust, efficacy, and academic emphasis. I examine everything we do and look for ways to improve each of these variables so we can improve learning for all of our students. Most of the evidence for improving student learning from a leadership orientation lies within each of these variables. Therefore, my plan to improve our school for the next academic year includes reading the scholarly literature to learn more about the evidence for optimizing school conditions to improve student learning.

How do you use the summer to improve your performance for the next school year? Please join the discussion and share your plans and thoughts.

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