A Profile in Instructional Leadership: Lauren Norwood

Being a school principal is rife with challenges in even the most predictable of circumstances. Transitioning into the principal seat in between school years to lead a staff you haven’t yet met, can layer on even more obstacles to the already difficult work. Lauren Norwood, principal of Burke Elementary in Chicago, has faced this experience with enthusiasm and commitment. As the instructional leader, she has committed to improving student achievement while pursuing avenues for developing the adults in the community. So, how does she do it? Being Present - During a recent meeting, a third party mentioned that the success of a recent initiative was due in large part to “Lauren’s presence, comm

Time for New Instructional Priorities? Think Again.

We like to accumulate wins. We need to accumulate wins. The satisfaction of crossing something off of a list, marking it complete, adding it to our professional tool belt is thrilling. And volume seems to be the name of the game in education these days. The more priorities we’ve accomplished, the better we must be, right? And the faster we do it, the stronger we are, right? Its not uncommon, however, for those same priorities that we have proudly displayed in our Trophy Case of Mastery to crop up again next school year, next month, next week... It’s also not uncommon for us to veer from the real priorities and hack them into tinier and tinier bits just so we can put something, anything, in o

Instructional Problems Require Instructional Solutions--Without Distractions

Take a moment and think about your day today - start to finish - and pay specific attention to anything (multiple things, people, issues, calls, etc.) that threw you off or distracted you. A distraction, by definition, prevents you from giving your full attention elsewhere and cannot be the most important item. (We’re not talking emergencies or crises -- we know those happen and will have to be addressed -- it's the myriad little things that throw you off course from what you should be doing, even what you have scheduled to be doing.) Did you attend to those distractions or did you brush them aside for the urgent and important actions that you had already prioritized? We all let that happen

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