Saturday, June 9, 2018

"Cultivating a Community of become more than you ever thought possible."

Jimmy Casas CULTURIZE—Every Student. Every Day. Whatever It Takes.

I’m looking back at our school year. With just a few short days left I can’t help but smile on the school culture we have all been relentlessly focused on as we continue our school improvement journey towards...yet. If I look closely, I can tell the staff is incredibly tired, but you have to know them to see this. They are still smiling, full of energy, cheering their students on to student’s end of year goals. They are finishing strong and modeling for our students to do the same.

It was just four years ago we started implementation of a school improvement turnaround model. The first step we prioritized was changing our school culture. Such an incredibly simple statement, that turned out to be extremely difficult, endlessly rewarding, and never done. I picked up Jimmy Casas book Culturized to help me figure out what we were missing, forgetting, or just overlooking. As it turns out, and as you can see from my notes...plenty.

Rather than write a recap of the entire book Culturize, here are just a few of my own personal takeaways that I want to use for reflection and to share with our dedicated teachers and leadership team. You can find all of my reflections from Culturize on my twitter feed @afewthingsworth. These insights and thoughts are pushing my thinking forward to be and do better for our student, staff, and families.

I realize it would be so much easier to accept what is and just walk through our establish routines and procedures. Maybe I would even be able to sleep at night, but I can’t. I just can’t.  I heard the author and speaker John Maxwell speak on being average, and this stuck with me. “To excel’ literally means to go beyond average.” Casas words in Chapter one added to Maxwell’s thinking, “We cannot allow average to become our standard. For our students to grow, and do, and be the amazing individuals we love, we are pushing ourselves to go beyond average.

When I read this passage in Chapter two, I felt like I needed to hit the repeat button over and over again. Listen, LIsten, Listen. I would add to this, lean in, be present, and learn the intent. Oh and one more...put down your phone, take it out of your pocket, out of your hand, out of sight and sound of notifications forever dinging. We all want to be heard, and students are no exceptions.

One of Casa’s last takeaways for me was found in Chapter 5, and focused on “the relationships we build.” Indeed that is what teaching and learning is all about. Whether it be the relationships you have with the teacher’s your support, or the students your serve, it is the center of everything. Yes, everything.

Casa reminds the reader, “We must remain vigilant that our words and deeds add to our school culture in a positive way rather than negate it” (p. 9). “Let us rather act with a sense of urgency to re-culturize our schools, acknowledge there is no room for the status quo” (p. 177).

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I like how you flagged and outlined your thoughts.