Four Things You Should Do This Week!

Show Description:
I will lead off this episode with a couple apologies:1.     I’ve got a cold and am low energy, so I’m admittedly not bringing my A-game this week. Paraphrasing BB King…2.     I know this episode’s title has a click-bait feel to it, but it is the best I could come up with today (see apology 1 above). The premise for today is that most of you are 4-8 weeks into your school year and should be falling into a routine at this point. It seems like a good time to do some poking around and get some vital signs for your school and your leadership, so we’ll discuss four things you can do to give you insights for your focus for the next month of school.
I’m celebrating two things:
1.     Monday’s email about my mom’s new Porsche generated a lot of reaction, like “this is your best email ever!” Thanks everyone for letting me know, it helps me keep going on those days when I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, and have a cold.
2.     I’ve just been offered a publishing contract on my book! It has been a long road and I’m excited to be moving forward. Lest you’ve forgotten, the book is about the 6-steps to escaping urgency and becoming a people-centric leader. I imagine as a publication date gets closer I’ll be sharing more and more.
The Big Idea
At this point in the year it is easy to get into a groove. Now, grooves are good, but how do you stop that groove from becoming a rut?
More specifically, how do you make sure you aren’t stuck in the urgent rut? Are you getting into classrooms like you promised yourself you would this year? Or are the discipline referrals already undermining your plans?
Have you been there for your ECT’s? Or are you relying on mentor teachers to take care of them? Guess, what? Your mentor teachers are as busy as you are!
Without further adieu, four things you should do this week:
1.     Check in with your ECTs
2.     Dig into your discipline data to look for patterns to tell you who, where, and when to focus on.
3.     Use the 5-minute coaching tool to conduct an informal culture check
4.     Reflect.
Okay, that’s today’s episode of….
Just kidding. I get goofy when I’m feeling sick and overwhelmed so just laugh with me. Let’s go into a bit more depth:
1.     Check in with your ECTs
a.     Why ECTs and not just first-years?
b.     Why aren’t mentors enough?
c.     3-point check in
                                               i.     Relationships
                                             ii.     Management
                                            iii.     Curriculum
2.     Dig into your discipline data to look for patterns to tell you who, where, and when to focus on.
a.     Who are your high-flyers (you probably already know) and is there a flight pattern? Do you have a morning check-in set up for them?
b.     Where and when do you have spikes? E wing restroom at the beginning of 4th period? Then ask why?
c.     What teachers are sending the most referrals – check their classroom management.
3.     Use the 5-minute coaching tool to conduct an informal culture check
a.     Walk down the hall and catch people in or by their rooms, position yourself side-to-side to lessen power differential, go through the pattern:
                                               i.     X-weeks into the school year, I can’t believe it!
                                             ii.     What’s going well for you so far?
                                            iii.     Have their been any surprises?
                                            iv.     Is there anything you would do differently? You could also ask, “Is there anything WE should do differently?” to focus more on the building.
                                              v.     I appreciate you sharing. I’m looking forward to all the great things you are going to do with kids this year!
4.     Reflect. 
a.     Carve out an hour. Maybe Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, or Friday night. Whatever works for you. Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted, turn off your phone. Use an old-school paper notebook or journal and your favorite pen. If you are too techy, at least use a pad and stylus. The kinesthetic action will help in reflection.
b.     Just begin writing whatever comes into your mind. Be unfiltered. If you need an outline, you could do:
                                               i.     Celebrations
                                             ii.     Things you would do differently
                                            iii.     Frustrations
                                            iv.     Questions
                                              v.     Answers
                                            vi.     List actions that can have impact
                                           vii.     Identify patterns for important things
                                         viii.     Play with your priorities
                                            ix.     Come up with one word to embrace for your mindset, e.g.,, “Listen” or “Why?” or “Smile”
                                              x.     Just go where ever your mind and heart take you
c.     The purpose is to help you do a brain dump so you can begin to see patterns and make decisions about where to focus your efforts.
Summarizing (The big takeaway)
Notice that 1-3 are all about gathering data and 4 is about figuring out what all that data means. Certainly you don’t have to do any of these things, and most AP’s probably won’t. But, most APs are probably already caught n the black hole of urgency and will still be there in June. Want to be different? Ask more questions, listen to the answers, and invest in reflecting on what you’ve learned. This is the path to being more intentional and having a bigger, longer lasting impact on kids and teachers. Bonus – you will live and lead better.
Show Outro
Thank you for including me on your leadership journey. 
I look forward to seeing you on Friday when we debrief the week’s emails. I’ll recap my mom’s Porsche story, so it should be fun!
Please remember to subscribe and rate this podcast. Rating the show helps others find it, and if you want to be a superfan, consider leaving a review. Again, you’ll be helping others find the show and you’ll be making me smile. And maybe you will even find yourself getting a shoutout at the top of the episode.
I’m Frederick Buskey and thank you again for joining me on this episode of the Assistant Principal Podcast. Cheers!
Frederick’s Links:
Four Things You Should Do This Week!
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