You Asked, I Answered!
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You’re listening to School Leadership Reimagined, episode number 50.
Welcome to another episode of the school leadership re-imagine podcast. I'm your host Robyn Jackson and today is episode 50 today. Instead of our normal training, what we're going to do with something different, I thought I'd shaken up a bit because normally on these podcasts I kind of decide on a topic and then I give you training around that topic each week. But because this is episode 50 and because I'm feeling a little nostalgic.
I thought I'd do something different.
I thought what I'd do this time is to invite you to ask me questions and then I will do my best to answer them on the podcast. So for all of you who sent in your questions, I want to thank you so much. I told you, don't go easy on me and you took me up at my word, you did not go easy on me.
And so that's why I'm not going to be able to answer all of the questions on today's podcast because you all ask some pretty in depth questions. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to tackle about three of the questions and then I'm going to do a rapid fire at the end with some of the other questions that don't require kind of big answers on today's episode. And then what I'm going to do is save some of the other questions for upcoming episodes, either things that I'm going to be addressing on those upcoming episodes or if you really like the Q and a format, maybe we will make this a regular part of the show. You will have to tell me what you want with that. So today is a little different. We're going to do Q and a and I'm going to jump into the questions in just a moment.
But before I do that, there are a couple of things I want to talk to you about.
So first of all, I need to take a moment and just thank you. Those of you who have been listening from the very beginning, and those of you who have joined us recently, thank you for inviting me into your homes, on your walks, to your workouts to your drive to school, your drive home from school. Thank you for inviting me into your lives and being a regular listener of this podcast. I know your time is valuable and I don't take it for granted that you spend time with me every single week listening to this podcast and I just, I dunno, I just want you to know how grateful I am that you do that and I am committed to continuing to give you value and making sure that every single week I'm providing you with something that's going to help you turn your school into a success story.
So thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for downloading. For those of you who have left reviews, honest reviews. Thank you so much. I, I read all of your reviews. We use that feedback to help us get better. If you haven't had a chance to review the podcast yet, I'd love to hear what you think and then I'll also want to thank those of you who have reached out and connected with me via LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter. I am always thrilled when I get a chance to connect with you and then then I get to see the work that you do. We can talk offline, you can ask questions, you can share with me your success stories and so I just want to thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for making me a part of your lives. Thank you for showing up each week and listening and participating and reaching out on social media.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of you. I don't take you for granted.
I, I find it a real honor and a privilege to be a part of your lives. Okay. So much you stuff over so nobody starts crying. Me need me. I don't start crying. And today let's go ahead and jump into some of these questions. Now. The first question, I got this question in several different versions and so I've kind of taken this question and you know kind of matched all of those questions together to create one version. So basically here's the question. The district has implemented a new curriculum intervention program grading and reporting policy, et cetera. I got all of those anyway. So the district is implementing something new and my teachers are not consistent and following the new policy they feel it's another box to check when they are already overwhelmed.
How do I address this problem and motivate teachers to meet these expectations? Now I'll be honest with you, I get this question a lot and it basically boils down to how do I get the teachers to do what they are supposed to do. And actually this entire podcast is dedicated to answering that question. How do you move teacher will and skill so that you can turn your school into a success story. And in fact, what we do at Mindsteps is help you do that, turn your school into a success story with the people you already have. Well, one of the big frustrating things about any type of, of administrative role or coaching role is that you have to have your impact through other people. So as a teacher, I can impact kids directly. You don't have to work the Winnie buddy as an administrator or a coach or a district leader.
It's not about the direct impact, it's really your indirect impact.
You see something that kids need, you want to make sure the kids are getting what they need and you have to convince other people to do that. And so it's really frustrating. And so it's one of the things that we spend probably the most time helping people do. So this is a good question and there's not an easy answer, but there is enhancer. And so that's the good news. And in fact a lot of the episodes that we've been doing this season have been directly addressing that answer is he? Here's the way that we typically launch a new initiative. The district says, we now need to do a new grading policy or we need to have a different approach to how we teach math or we need to Institute a more intervention for students. Whatever it is.
The district comes up with this new program and then what we typically do is once the district announces that we're moving in this direction, we announce it to teachers and then immediately those teachers are held responsible for implementing and then we get frustrated when the teachers are saying, wait a minute, how does this fit in? I'm overwhelmed. I'm already working hard as it is. This is a new checkbox. I don't even see the value of this. It's just another hope that you're making me jump through. So you're frustrated because the teachers aren't moving, but the teachers are frustrated because if you present it as just here's what the district says and you do a big rollout and then you say, now go forth and do it. I don't blame them. That's exactly how it does feel. It does feel overwhelming. It does feel like another box of checkoff.
You may see the value of it, but your teachers don't see the value of it.
And whenever you have teachers who are refusing to implement or they're not implementing with fidelity, there's typically either a wool problem or a skill problem. It's not a matter of teachers being lazy. It's not a matter of teachers being obstructionist. That is usually not the case. What is the case? Is the way that we roll things out can actually create will and skill problems. And so we have to kind of rethink how we roll things out in order to make sure that we're doing it in a way that will foster will and skill instead of killing will and skill. So how do you do that? Well, at mindsets we teach something that we call the mind steps transformation process. And there are six ease. A lot of people who are in our space are like, you know the thing with the six ease, that's what they call it.
So we're gonna have to come up with a better name for it. But right now it's the mindset transformation process. And it does have six steps. And I've been going through the steps in the podcast. You can go back and listen to starting, I think episode 48 49 and 50 and then even next week 51 52 and 53 are all going to go into detail about the six step process. But let me talk you through the process now. So if I were going to roll out, let's say a new intervention program or a new approach to teaching kids mathematics, for instance, here's what I would do. The first thing is you have to get people excited about the new program. The announcement comes and typically we just announce it as a foregone fact. We don't talk to people about why we're doing it.
We don't shape the why in terms that resonate with people that connect with their why.
We just kind of tell people this is the right thing to do. And so that's what we're all doing. And then we expect people to fall in line. And that really is disrespectful. Teachers who are professionals who, who are in the trenches every single day trying to help and support kids. So just announcing, okay, kids are not learning or the test scores are indicating they need more support, so we're going to do this. Go out and do it without talking to teachers about why this, why this one over that one. Why? Why is this program going to make a bigger difference? How will this program make a bigger difference? It's really, really not only disrespectful, but it's just a waste of air because if you don't help people understand the why behind the program in terms that resonate with their own, why they will not buy.
And so the first stage is how do you get people excited about the program? And I'm not talking about a pep rally and balloons and or you know, wow, we have cake at staff meeting. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about how do you get people genuinely invested in this new way of doing things. And that means that you are going to have to take time to tell the story of change.
You're going to have to take time to help people see why you're asking them to do something before you're going to get them to do it.
And this is a step we often skipped. So the first stage is to excite the next stage is then after you get people excited, you need to give people time to explore it. A lot of times we roll out a new curriculum, we'll get one day of training, we hand people a whole bunch of curriculum documents and then we're done.
Or we follow up with additional training, which is just more new information and we haven't given people a chance to digest the original information and we're just piling things on. And so it does feel like one more checkbox during the explore stage. You want to talk to people, what's your hesitation? Why might this feel overwhelming? What are some of the barriers that might keep you from implementing this and implementing it with, with fidelity in your classroom? This is the time to really surface people's concerns and then after you've surfaced them, this is the time to really take them into consideration before you expect people to start doing the work. We skip this and sell the complaints. Show up afterwards. When we see the resistance, when it's already too late, when we're already frustrated, you should from the very beginning. Once you get people excited about the idea, you should start exploring what are going to be the big barriers.
How do we remove them? How do we set people up for success?
And that's not something that you do in an office all by yourself. This is something that you do with the people you are expecting to implement. Giving people an opportunity to play around with it to see what might be intimidating or overwhelming, and also showing people how this isn't one new thing. You might need to take some things off of people's plates. You may need to show people how they can integrate this new strategy with what they're already doing. If we don't take time to do that first, then it's no wonder people hesitate to implement. It's no wonder that you're not getting fidelity of implementation. It's no wonder that people may pay lip service to the idea but never actually implemented because you have to give people an opportunity to explore and learn.
A lot of these new initiatives, people have been spending months researching, thinking about exploring the problem, figuring it out. They've had months to think about it. They've had months to get used to the idea. And then when we rolled it out to teachers, we roll it out, you know, in an afternoon. And then we say go do it. And if they have concerns, you know, then we look at them like they're the problem. Wait a minute, you have months to think about this. The teachers have had minutes to think about it. So you need to give people time and it doesn't have to be the same amount of months that you have. You can accelerate that time, but you do need to give people time to get adjusted to the idea in the same way that it took you time to get adjusted to the idea. So the second stage is explore.
The third stage is "Engage".
During the engage stage, that's when you give people time to play with a new idea. That's where you get people time to, to attempt the new idea and you giving, you're giving them feedback and support. And here's the thing, this is the time for non evaluative feedback. In other words, teachers need time to play with it and feel free to make mistakes and not been and know that they're not going to be punished by those mistakes later on. So a lot of times we'll roll something out, we don't give anybody time to digest it and then we expect them to implement it right away. And then we show up with our clipboards and then we're giving them all this negative feedback and we're writing them up because I didn't implement. Or when did people have time to play with it?
When did people have time to to try it out to see how it's gonna fit with their classroom to make it their own. We almost never give teachers time to do this. And I'm not talking about months in the years. It may be a matter of weeks, but we do need to give teachers time to to to figure it out. We may need to give them extra training. We may need to give them more support. We may need to give them non evaluative feedback so that they know that they're on the right track, but if people know that they have time to play with it and that they're not going to be evaluated, that all we ask is that everybody be engaged and we know you may not get it right at first and that's okay.
We're going to give you support so that you can be set up for success.
When you do that, you get a lot more people attempting the new strategy, the new attempting the new thing and they do that with genuine. In other words, it's an authentic, genuine attempt rather than Jeff's paying lip service to the idea because people know that they're not being judged by it. Now they're going to be some people during the engaged age who are going to start complaining or dragging their feet and that's okay.
You work with them during the engage stage, which you tell them, listen, we got to get this straight. How can I support you? This is important. Why? Because the next stage, the fourth stage is the expect stage and during that stage now you can start holding people accountable.
You've gotten them excited.
You've given them a chance to explore, you've gotten them engaged with the work and a non-evaluative environment and now you can set the expectation. Now I expect to see it every single time of visit your classroom or now I expect to see it on every report card or in every syllabus or whatever it is you're looking for. This is the stage where you start to get everybody moving, everybody implementing, and that everybody will be implementing effectively. Not everybody will even be implementing with fidelity at this stage and that's okay.
All you want to do is every time you go into classroom, do I see it? Do I not see it? That's it. Now I may see it, but it's done poorly and that's okay. Give that teacher more support. Give that teacher more feedback and you don't have to worry about that teacher getting away without doing it with true fidelity because after the expect stage comes the evaluate stage and now you're coming in and you're like looking for a just are they doing it, are they not doing it, but are they doing it with fidelity?
Are they doing it with quality?
Are they doing it according to the level that you want to see people doing it and now you can start giving people evaluative feedback. But guess what? When people push back and say, well no I don't want to do it because he said, wait, wait, wait. I gave you opportunities to get excited about it. You understand why this is important. I've given you opportunities to share this feedback. You didn't share it at that time. We've addressed the concerns that were shared. I have given you all kinds of support and training and non evaluative feedback to get you ready. I have set a new expectation and been very clear about what that expectation is. So at this point when you go on an evaluate, it feels fair because you set people up to successfully pass and I'm using air quotes here, your evaluation, you set people up to be successful when you walk into their classroom.
Now imagine if before I came in with my clipboard and started evaluating, I gave you all the answers. I showed you exactly what I was looking for. I worked with you to make sure that you are ready and then I come in and evaluate you. This is not something to be afraid of. People actually welcome the evaluation at this stage. They're excited for you to come in because you already set them up to be successful and then the last stage is extend. Now that we've gone through a cycle and we now have everybody implementing and with quality, what is the next thing that we need to be working on? What other information do we now have that we didn't have before that we can use to adjust what our next course of action should be? How are we doing? Are we seeing the changes that we said we were going to see when we implemented this and are we seeing the results that we expected to see and that we talked about that we hoped we would see during the excite stage and this is how that cycle works of lot of times we get very frustrated when people aren't implementing.
We shouldn't be frustrated at them. They should be frustrated at us.
Instead of using a bigger that helped people really embrace this new change and really be successful at implementing it. We just announced the change and then expect everybody to get along and then we write them up when they don't do that work. That's not how builders handle things or say if I want this change to be systemic, if I want this change to be something that's ingrained in our school, I have to find a way to help everybody buy into that change. I have to find a way to help everybody to be successful with that change. And I have to find a way to give people the feedback they need and the accountability they need to to, to continue the change throughout. So a lot of times the people that we work with when we go in, they have been trying unsuccessfully to get an implementation or get some sort of initiative going.
And when we go in they are ready to abandon the initiative. And when we show them this process and we help them take a step back and start the process over again using this process, not only do they implement the initiative, but the initiative becomes so embedded in the culture of the school that in a couple of years people are forgotten. It's an initiative. They just say, well, this is the way we do things around here. If that's the kind of implementation that you want. If you want more than people paying lip service, if you don't want to have to deal with a whole bunch of complaints, if you're not trying to overwhelm your teachers, this is the process you need to use. Start with excite and then go to explore and then engage. Then expect, evaluate and extend. And when you do that, that's how you get that fidelity of implementation and you get all of your teachers on board and cheerfully doing that.
Now I need to add this caveat, that's assuming it's not a boneheaded initiative to begin with.
You know, the excited stage will tell you that if you can't make a compelling case for why that initiative needs to be there, you really don't need to do it. So this is assuming that the initiative actually has merit than take people through those six stages and that will help with the overwhelm. Now a lot of the follow up questions to that is a lot of people say, well, we've already started and you may have already started, but you're not going to get any further. You're just going to have a rough year where you're trying to drag people through. Even if you've already started, you can back up and say, okay, let's have our conversation and the conversation is why aren't you doing this? The conversation is I think that beef, when we first announced this initiative, we didn't fully explain why it was so valuable and going back and doing that excite price up process all over again and then giving people a small window to say, okay, now we're going to, we're not seeing it in a classroom as yet, and so we want to give you some support and some feedback, so we're going to do some things to set you up.
We're going to, if you're struggling to get it done on top of everything else, then that's your training. We're going to show you how do we get this done and everything else done and what do we need to take off your plate? If you're struggling because you tried it or you're of doing it superficially or not seeing results, let's go back and, and look at how you're implementing it and let's find a way to help you implement it with more authenticity and, and so that, that way it can be more successful in your classroom. So you can still even at this point, go back and now start from the beginning, bring everybody together and say, let's take a pause. Let's talk again about why this is so important.
A lot of people think during the excite stage, if I tell the story or change one time, that's all I need.
No, no, no. That's a big mistake. You need to continually repeat it. You need to be a broken record because that's what it takes for people to really believe it, that it's going to be real, that you're not going anywhere, that this chain that you're asking people to make is going to stick around and it's valuable and you need to continually repeat the story at every stage of this process because people get discouraged. People forget you need to read that broken record. And so you can go back even now and start repeating that story of change and get that change happening. I'll say one last thing about this and this is something that we are teaching in builder's lab right now is that you have to make sure that you are choosing the right initiatives and you can't know whether or not you're choosing the right initiatives unless you have established your vision, your mission and your core values.
And those of you who've been listening for a while, you know, I'm not talking about the traditional vision, mission and core values that we were taught to do in school. Those, you know, I'm not going to disparage them, but those are not, those are not going to get you where you need to be. I'm talking about the way that I've been teaching you on this podcast and if you want some support with that, you can also come to builders lab. We all have day one is about vision, mission, core value and root cause. And until you've gone through that process, you are not ready to choose the right initiative.
Now, I know for some of you these initiatives are yours that come down with the district.
But, if you have that vision, mission and core values, you can find a way to take a district initiative and make it meaningful for your staff when you show them how they're connected with the vision, mission and core values. I'll give you an example. We when I was the administrator at the middle school, our district changed our grading reporting policy two weeks before teachers came back from pre-service. And what, by change, I mean they radically change it. So all of a sudden teachers could not give kids zeros. Teachers, if kids, if you're using a a hundred point scale and kids did not turn their paper in, you couldn't give them a zero.
The best you could give them wasn't 50%. Teachers had to accept late work. Teachers had to give kids retakes on summative assessments of kids didn't do well. And so when the teachers came back, we had to announce this and they had to, they had four days to revise their syllabi and submit a syllabus that was in alignment with a grading reporting policy and this was announced district wide with a huge district and when we first heard the news we thought, Oh, they are going to kill us.
The teachers are going to kill us. How are we going to roll this out?
This is a radical departure for how we've been grading. And so we started talking about why we started kind of figuring out why are they changing this policy? What are they trying to accomplish now the task force have been working on it for about 18 months. We had about 18 minutes to digest it before we had to roll it out to teachers, but we did our best and then we went through this process. We started when the teachers came back after they finished breakfast, we went in and we said, okay, so let's, let's just deal with the elephant in the room. Many of you have heard the grading or reporting policy has changed. But we want to talk about, before we get into all of the logistics of it, let's talk about why and we have that conversation.
We talked to teachers about our core values and our vision and our mission for our school and about what we wanted our students to accomplish. And then we talked about how the new grading and reporting policy changes were designed to help us achieve our vision, mission, and core values. And then the next thing we did is we said, okay, we need, we've gotten them at least if not excited, we've at least kept them from, you know, kind of burning us at the stake. So that was the excite stage.
And then we did some time with exploration.
So then we said, now let's talk about all the things that you believe would be barriers for your getting this done this year. And teachers who were saying things like, I don't have time to make an alternate assessment. How do we manage the logistics of kids coming in for retakes? Does it mean to have to give up my lunch everyday or stay after school? And we went through this whole thing. Everybody's raising all these things and we didn't, we didn't try to fix everything. Then we just collected them. And then after the teachers left for the day, we looked at them, we said, okay, all right, here's what the teachers are saying. And we'd also ask the teachers to tell us what's the biggest barrier.
And they named three. One was, how do I get, how do I make all these additional assessments? Two was, when am I going to have time to do this reteaching and reassessing that they're asking. And three, I can not stomach giving kids 50% when they didn't do anything. So we just start tackling those three barriers.
The teacher said, if you could solve those three barriers, then we'll do it.
So we got that agreement from them. And so we started tackling them. And so the next day we got them engaged and we started thinking about, well can we do so for the teachers who just insisted that they needed zeros, we got them to switch from a 100 point scale to a four point scale because a four point scale what a line with the, the heart of the grading reporting policy, which is that there had to be even distributions between grade levels. So in a four point scale you can give a zero because it's four three, two, one and zero whereas in a a hundred point scale it's usually a hundred to 90 89 to 80 79 to 70 69 to 60 and then 59 to zero and there was this huge wide kind of swath of grades in between for an F, F had like a 50 something points spread. So those teachers were happy.
We got them switched there, we got other people engaged by looking at what are some alternatives to assessments. We got other people engaged in the, so we, we addressed some of their issues and gave them training support, feedback around the grading and reporting policies. And help them start PLA problem-solving. And then after that, when we got the, after we got people excited and engaged and gave them time to explore, then at the end of the week, that was a new expectation. Everybody turned in their syllabus and we looked at each syllabus and we looked at what they were doing, made sure the grading reporting policy was aligned. If it wasn't, they had to go redo it. We did the expect stage F then when you know, school started, we, there were challenges, sometimes teachers had an overwhelming number of kids.
We shifted our schedule so that teachers could do reteaching and retesting in the middle of the school day as a part of their advisory periods.
And so there were snafoos around the schedule and we fixed all those things and we continued to collect feedback. And after a couple of weeks, everybody got settled into the reteaching reassessing and the new grading reporting policy. And then about midway through the first marking period, right about the time for progress reports, we went in and evaluated teachers grading and how was it, what was happening? Are they implementing the policy? Are we seeing a difference in terms of students, not only their performance but their understanding. And what we found was we are, and what we found was a lot of teachers were still struggling. They were implementing it on evenly and we gave them feedback and support and got them to the point where they implementing it evenly. By the end of the first semester, we had a 100% fidelity and teachers weren't complaining anymore. Everybody was implementing, everybody had been getting feedback and support all the way through and accountability and our culture shifted and so no problem.
And then we, the second semester we extended it over the summer. We extended it some war. By the end of the year, our middle school was the only middle school in the entire district that had implemented the granting reporting policy with a hundred percent fidelity. And in fact the district had gotten so many complaints from so many other schools that by the end of the year, the district had walked back on their requirement for those standards, for the grading reporting policy and each school could choose. And we went to our staff and we said, while the district is saying we can, they're going to lighten up a little bit on the policy this year because they've gotten so many complaints. What do you want to do? Guess what our staff said? I said, Oh, no, no, no, no, we're doing it. Five years later when I returned to that school after I'd left, they were still doing it.
In fact, it was one of the cornerstones of their culture.
So when you have a new initiative, when someone's coming out and saying, the district is saying, we have to do this, we have to do that. That doesn't mean that you have to drag teachers to the goal. If you use the right process. Not only will teachers buy in, but they will implement with fidelity and it becomes a part of your culture. All right. That was a long answer to question number. Why he's the way I can only do three questions. Question two is a little bit easier. Our students need extra help. Can I ask teachers to stay beyond their duty day to tutor students? We can't afford to pay them, but our kids really need the support. How do I motivate teachers to go above and beyond for our kids? So when I was thinking about this question first I was thinking about, well no you don't want to run a foul of the union and that sort of thing.
But then I understand what this administrator's asking because you still want to be able to support the kids. So how do you do that? And then I started kind of interrogating the question itself. Why is it that teachers have to stay extra in order to support the kids? Why aren't the kids getting the support they need in the classroom during the class period? And I think that's the answer to this question. If you find yourself saying, wow, I need extra time or I need this or I need that, you need to ask yourself a question, why do we need extra? What's happening during the instructional day that gets our still not getting it? And a lot of times before you go grabbing for a solution about extra support for your struggling students, a lot of times the answer is we're not providing them with the right of support during the school day.
Now here's what I suspect is happening with a lot of schools who have struggling students.
And I wrote about this in the book, how to support struggling students. And I learned this strategy from max Thompson who I think it's brilliant and he has, he goes around and his companies, he's retired now, but his company learning focused solutions, they actually support schools that are struggling just like this. And they find ways to do it in the duty day. And one of the things that max taught me is that we spend too much time remediating students. So we wait for kids to fail and then we rushed to remediate them rather than spending time accelerating students. So I will never forget when I first started a Mindsteps, I was doing a lot more work for teachers and I went to a school in upstate New York and I showed them the strategy of acceleration.
And the generally, this is just the student success plan that I outlined in how to support struggling students that book. Anyway, so I showed them this success plan and which is based on accelerating rather than mediating kids. And they got excited about it.
So they decided, okay, we're going to do this.
Well, we're gonna experiment with it and we have these 20 or so kids who are just low performing kids, nothing's working with them. And so they took their lowest performing students in this school struggling, I mean the lowest performing eighth graders in the school. And here's what they did. They said, you know, we're going to do, we're going to try to create a success plan.
So instead of going to some of their specials every day, they got the special education teacher to work with these 20 lowest performing eighth graders in the school. And instead of remediating the students, she worked with our teachers and said, what are you, what are you doing with your kids next week? So we're reading the story. So the special educator would get a story map of the [inaudible].
She wouldn't read this story to the kids ahead of time.
She would just create a story map of the story and take them through the story map. That way the kids kind of understood the underlying structure of the story, so when they were asked to read in class, they weren't as lost or if they got lost, they could locate themselves on the story map and get back into the story. If the kids were doing math problems, that required a lot of times tables. Then the special educator a week or so before they actually encountered those problems, she would be going through their timetables so that she'd set them up for success.
In other words, she would talk, the teachers find out what was happening, what was coming up, and then she would give the kids the tools and the strategies and the background knowledge that they needed to be successful on that upcoming learning task.
After one semester of doing this, none of the kids were earning anything less than a C.
These are the kids who were the number they were failing. These were the, they were fit. They were the worst performing kids, eighth graders in the entire school and none of them was earning a C after a semester of providing them with that acceleration. So that wasn't necessarily extra tutoring after school and all the other stuff. What I was was figuring out how do we set these kids up to be successful in the classrooms that they have right now? How do we help them be successful with what's ahead rather than trying to go reteach everything that they've missed behind them.
And when you do that, that can be very powerful. So if you feel like you need extra time or extra tutoring, a lot of it could be that you need to be setting your kids up for success and focusing on acceleration rather than remediation. And if you learn, want to learn more about how to do that, then there are two sources. One is you can go to mindset, think.com and then click on the store and get how to support struggling students.
You can also look on the blog posts where I describe a little bit more about what goes into the success plan.
And how you set that up. The other thing is, and I'm not getting paid to do this, I just love them so much, is to get in touch with learning focused solutions. That's Max's company and even though he's retired, they've carried on his tradition and they do really amazing work in schools. So either one of those can help you with that.
Lastly, I'll say this, if you do need extra support rather than continuing to ask your teachers, you need to be leveraging the resources in your community. So if after doing all of that, you find that your kids still need some extra tutoring and support, what I would do if I would contact local businesses, so I've been in schools where, you know, we've been next to, you know, like a IBM branch or I mean who does IBM anymore? Like maybe Microsoft, you know, some sort of tech company. And what we'll do is we will talk to that company and get them to send over volunteers. Volunteers come over during their lunch period or they come after school and they commit to working with cans an hour a week or two hours a week and tutoring them on certain things and then the company gives their employees incentives for doing that. So one is some partner with the local business. Another one that I've been, I've been finding really helpful lately is to talk to sororities and fraternities.
A lot of the alumni chapters of sororities and fraternities have some really great resources.
I have found mentors for a lot of my kids by talking to alumni chapters of sororities and fraternities. The third is local churches. I know we don't mix church and state, but local churches are a huge resource. In fact, one school where I worked as an administrator, we had a local church that provided that managed our in school suspension. They had volunteers working in our in school suspension program, tutoring kids and working with kids and supporting kids. And they even had some volunteer counselors to help kids kind of think through the consequences of their actions. So it can, churches are just like, you know, ever since that experience, I've just been a big fan of talking to churches and seeing, you know, they're not doing it in a denomination or a proselytizing way, but they are wanting to give back to communities and they often have really great volunteer to do that.
And then the last one I would think about our teacher education programs. If you have a local university and you've got kids who are, you know, freshman or sophomore, juniors and their education majors, they would love more time in the classroom, more time to be able to support your students. So I would check there rather than asking the teachers to volunteer. Okay. So the last question that I'm going to tackle today is a question that I get asked a lot. And so I want to tackle it here. I'm going to give you kind of a broad brushstroke answer and then if you want more information, you know, I don't know. We'll see. Okay. So here's a question.
How can I do what you do?
And whenever people ask me that and when they're asking me that face to face, I always ask them, what is it that you think I do? Right? Because a lot of times you see the glamorous part, you see me on stage and I am presenting to these big audiences. And you know, are you here I travel and that may sound really glamorous. So I want to know is that what it is that you think I do because that's not what I do. That is a byproduct of what I do. What I mostly do is sit down and try to figure out problems.
What I mostly do is work with clients. You know, I do a lot, you know, some stages and some keynotes when he on the day to day basis, I am working with our coaching clients, helping them solve problems in their schools or I am working with our people at builders lab, helping them during that intensive walk out of there with a clarity, vision, mission and core values and the strategy for an a plan and a pathway for how they're gonna move their schools.Or I'm creating content.
So that's what I mostly do.
So the first thing is what do you think I do? Because that's not it. The second thing is why do you want to do what I do? You know, I do this work almost because I can't help it. You know when I, you all know my story. I told it to you before I was a school administrator. I was on a fast track and right when I was being offered a promotion, I resigned because there was this book inside of me that needed to get out and I knew that I couldn't do that and be fully present to run the school every single day. So I resigned and then I can't help myself. The work that I do now, it's something I can't help myself. That's why I do it. I don't do it for the money.
I don't do it for the glam. I do it because this is what I really believe I'm called to do. If you don't believe you're called to do it, if you are trying to do this because you want the glam life, if you're trying to do this because you're sick of being an administrator or a teacher or coach and you want to get into something else, this is not the right business because well, for one thing, you eat what you kill. So if you don't get out there and work, you don't get paid. And I don't think people realize that. I don't think people realize just how crazy that is. You know, we're used to working and every two weeks paycheck comes.
When you start your own business and you're out there consulting, you don't get a paycheck every two weeks.
You eat what you kill, which means that not only are you delivering, but you're also making sure that you're marketing and bringing in new business and you're serving your current clients and you're producing new content. And you know there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes. So now that I've gotten that out of the way, if you are still interested, there are a couple of things you need to consider. Number one, do you want to start your own business or do you wanna work for somebody else?
And there are pros and cons to each of them. It's just up to you. If you're working for somebody else, you are just consulting. That's all you have to worry about. You don't have to come up with your own framework. You go out, you serve people, you train, you give speeches, you do whatever, but you just go do that work. You get a really nice salary for doing that typically, and you can get out there and do do that work and, and it can be very rewarding and you don't have the hassle and the headache of actually going to get the business. You just have to deliver and do the, you know, the fun part.
Now, if you want to start your own business, then you have to really commit to being an entrepreneur.
It's not just about the content that you want to deliver. You also have to spend as much, if not more time building a business. You see, most people own a job and if you want to own a job, that's fine. You know there are a lot of people I know who just get go from one client to the next, to the next, to the next. They just own their job and they're happy with that. But if you really want to build a business, you have to think about what is the end going to look like? And am I committing, am I really willing to commit to being an entrepreneur? So the first thing is do I want to work for somebody else or do I want to work for myself?
And then the second thing is, okay, if I want to work for myself, do I want to own a job or do I want to build a business? And if you want to build a business that you really need to go get some training on how to build a business, that's a whole nother skillset. And it's quite frankly something that we don't learn as educators. You have to think entirely in a different way in order to be an entrepreneur. So once you've developed that, then the next thing is, okay, if you want to go out on your own or build your own business, do you have a framework? You have to have something that you're want to offer people. You have to have a transformation that people actually want.
A lot of people say, well, I want to teach about differentiated instruction, and I say, okay, why?
And they said, well, because I'm good at differentiated instruction. That's great. Is anybody buying training on differentiated instruction? Can you offer people value? What makes you different from anybody else's offering? Training on differentiated instruction. If you don't develop your own framework, if you don't create something that meets an unmet need in the marketplace, then you don't have a business. Nobody's buying. It can't be about what you want to do. It has to be about what people need. What is a transformation that you offer people? And if you can't articulate that, you're not ready to go into business. If you, if you, if I ask you what is a transformation that you want to offer and your answer is I want to teach people how to do that because I'm really good at this. That's not the transformation. Here's an example of a transformation. I help school teachers go from creating a bunch of different lesson plans to try to meet all the needs of the kids to creating one lesson plan that is guaranteed to meet all the needs of the kids.
Do you see the transformation you are solving a real problem that people have that people are looking for a solution to rather than being overwhelmed or you know, and and, and trying to create multiple lesson plans because you've got kids with different needs in your classrooms. I can show you how to create one lesson plan and it's going to meet all of the needs of your kids. It's gonna save you a lot of time and it's going to help you be more effective with your students. That's the difference. Until you can articulate that and articulate that clearly you don't really have a business. Now I have a course and it is, it shows you start to finish how to build your own consulting business and it's closed right now because I don't have time to service it. Usually when the course opens there are live Q and a calls in addition to the course material and you know, you go 12 weeks throughout the entire course.
What if you're interested and going through the course because you want to build your own business?
Just send me a note. You can send it to me on LinkedIn or you can send me a note firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you a link if you want to get involved in the course. Now it's a significant investment so it's not like a $47 course, but I do that because if you're not serious, don't waste your time going through the course of course, shows you how to come up with your transformation and to come up with your idea and to then build your business and create your framework and test out your product and how do you Mark it? You know, it's not going to be about Oh you what colors you use for your logo and how do you find your business cards. That's not a business.
This is going to show you how to build a real thriving business, but it is a significant investment. And so if you want to go and get access to that information, just send me a note on LinkedIn or email me at info at mindset st com and I can get you a link to you know, a link for you, you know, kind of a backdoor link if you want to kind of join that course. Okay. So that's all I'm going to say about that. All right, now I'm going to give you a few rapid fire questions. Here's the questions that I got that, you know, they're not really, they don't require long answers, so I thought I'd answered them really quickly. Okay, so here's the first one.
What was the last flavor of ice cream you made?
That's because I tell this ice cream story, I would say so for those of you don't know, hi, love to cook. And I love to cook because I love to eat. So you know, we just finished, I'm builder's lab and everybody kept saying, we thought we were coming to builders lab and we were going to get like a box lunch. But we feed people so much. We spoil you. I mean there's an amazing breakfast and so you go, there's a huge breakfast buffet that you get. And then lunch, it's a huge lunch buffet. You get, you know, multiple protein options and sides. And I mean people. And then there's always Sue. I mean it's just a big buffets. Everybody's like full when we get back from builder's lab. And then at the break, at the, at the afternoon break we do a dessert buffet. So you know, you go out again and you get there is coffee and tea and then there are multiple different kinds of desserts.
And depending on where we are, sometimes there's popcorn. I mean it's just, there's this food all over like C and, D. The reason I do it quite frankly is a, I want to spoil you. So when you kind of build his lab, you do get spoiled. But B, because I love to eat. And so anyway, I tell this story about how I making ice cream. It's like a story to tell. And so people just want to know what ice cream I'm making. So let's be honest, I have not made as much ice cream as I've want to this summer.
The last flavor that I made was a goat cheese and cherry ice cream.
Now don't screw your face up. It's delicious. It's like a cherry cheesecake. That's what it tastes like. So, but I haven't made any ice cream in a while and I'd probably, I'd probably need to another, make another batch of that cause that's a really good fall flavor.
Right now I'm working on muffins. My sister is gluten free, sugar free and vegan. And so I'm trying to make muffins if I'm trying to make that. So I'm trying to perfect those muffins. So I've been making them every single week. And so I think I've got them perfected now. Like the textures. Right. And I do different flavors of muffins. That's like my current obsession. But you know, who knows in a couple of months when I am traveling a lot, I don't get to cook. So when I'm home from traveling I just go nuts in the kitchen. So anyway, that's the answer to that.
How's your puppy?
So for those of you who don't know, I have a gorgeous Connie Corso, her name is NOLA and she's like 90 something pounds and she's just as sweet as she can be. She is still a puppy, a big puppy now.
She still tries to get on my lap. I love her to death that she is, you know, when I come home off the road, she's always there waiting for me on the porch to greet me. In fact, now I call ahead and say I'm, I'm, I'm always home so that the dog can be there on the porch to greet me. I love her dearly. And so that's the puppy. Okay, so put some people another question. I've got is...
Where do you live?
So I live in Washington, D C actually live in the city and mindsets. Our offices are in Washington D C and that doesn't mean, I mean that, that's where we work. That's where, you know, we're howls, but we go all over. So I'm all over the U S and Canada, South America I think. I don't think I've been to Europe yet or Australia yet, but I'm happy to go if you wanna invite me.
We've been to Asia, so we've been all over the place. We go all over the world. But our offices are in DC and that's where I live. Okay. This is the funny one. So some people have come called the office or I've come to builders lab. They want to know is Sheri my sister? Yes, Sheri is my sister. She's also my boss, so I do what Sheri says. She runs, she's the boss of me. And then the last question I get is, this is the variation, this question, the last question is what do you do for fun? Like create, create more stuff for builders lab. I cook for fun. I love to read. I don't, you know, I read a lot on plane, so I'm always reading. I've been a listen to a lot of podcasts right now.
I sound like such a nerd, but I like learning something new.
I mean, if I could do that all the time, different things. I mean, I go down these rabbit holes all the time or, you know, take classes and, you know, learn a new thing, a new skill, learn how to do something new. That's really kind of at the heart of what's fun for me. So, you know, don't, don't laugh, don't call me a nerd, just cause I don't have, you know, more interesting hobbies and that. But I love to cook. I love to read. I used to love to travel and that I've started doing for a living and now I just want to be home. But that's kind of what I do for fun. All right, I need to wrap this episode up. Gets it. This one's been a pretty long one, but I hope you've enjoyed the Q and a format and that I've added value to your day.
If you like it, let me know. Send me a note on LinkedIn or you know, send us a note through Twitter, Facebook. Just let me know if you'd like the Q and a format or if you have your own question that you'd like to see answered in an upcoming episode. I'd love to do it. All right, let's talk about next week.
Next week we're going to jump back to our format.
We've already talked about excite and explore and engage. And now we get to everybody's favorite stage. You know, how soon can I expect people to actually do the work?
Well, next week we're going to talk about the expect stage and how you can start setting that expectation and how you can start seeing people implement. How do you get everybody, everybody implementing even the foot and the naysayers.
How do you get everybody implementing and how do you do that? Like a builder
Thanks so much and I'll talk to you next time.
Bye for now. See you next time.
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