Sunday, October 5, 2014

We get to do this, we are just not there yet!

Creating A Culture of Achievement

Douglas Fisher & Nancy Frey HOW TO CREATE A CULTURE OF ACHIEVEMENT--in your school and in your classroom

I thought for this review I would post my personal copy of the book I just devoured. You can see I am in love with office supplies as well as writing anecdotal note to myself for future reference. This read was a gem. Maybe it was the timing. I am in the biggest challenge of my career to date and in the mist of high stake change. I am absolutely thrilled for the opportunity, but finding a starting point required strategic thinking. 

Fisher and Frey provided the initial framework to start my thought process. They refer to this staring point as pillars, and the first pillar is defined the minute you walk into the building. What does that feel like for all stakeholders? What messages are we sending? Does each person feel a part of the change and valued for their insights and perspective?

The second pillar requires a shift in process and procedures that provides tools for teaching students to support them to become the person we know them to be. Holding students accountable for their actions and helping them understand how their behavior affects others. These restorative practices try to foster understanding of the impact of their behavior, and how they can repair that harm. 

The choice word pillar is the third pillar and built on the foundation of Carol Dweck's (2006) work with Mindset. A growth mindset "is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts" (p 7). To establish trust and create a culture of change requires us to listen, replace the word but with if or yet, and do the next right thing to help students identity their mindset of possibilities.

The fourth pillar is about learning and critical for the structure of equitable student achievement. We each need to get really good at teaching with research based practices and to get to know our students and their lives well. Understanding who they are and where they come from is the foundation for developing strong trusting relationships that establishes in each of us it is never too late to learn.

Finally the last pillar supports creating a system where each and every staff member, students, parents, and families knows without a doubt we are the best school in the world. We get to begin today with a passion and rigor that creates not only a sense of urgency, but one of pride and celebration. We get to do this, we are just not there yet!

How do we create a Culture of Achievement? Together. We create an environment that is conducive to learning with time and effort. Working every day in a forward movement and a positive mindset. Fisher and Frey provided a host of ideas to get the reader started. Here is my list which I have scribbled in the inside of the cover of my book. 

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