Why Not Here…

“The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous, and enduring, and thus more intelligent, even competitive.”  -Paul Hawken

The last few years could be considered difficult and stressful times in education.  A fiscal crisis at both the State and National levels have hit our schools and districts with extreme force.  A force that has led to sweeping loss of personnel and programs.  While some schools and districts have weathered the storm more successfully than others, all have felt the wrath of the times.  And yet, the requirements, pressures, and expectations to do more and better with less, have risen at exponential rates throughout all levels of the profession.

As a previous principal, I was blessed to work at an incredible school with wonderful students, parents and staff.  It was also a school that had to accomplish its goals and work on an extremely limited budget.  An experience I still treasure to this day.  We learned to overcome the difficulties associated with having to do more with less.  And when all was said and done, there is a certain pride in being able to accomplish our goals, objectives, and expectations next to schools that were handed funds that dwarfed our minimal yearly budgets.  There is a certain pride when creative and out of the box thinking leads to success.  And yet, it seems more and more we learn that throwing money at a problem never leads to the answers we are looking for or need.

Which may be a reason why creativity, vision, trust, relationships, teamwork, and emotional intelligence are a few of the vital necessities of today’s leaders…

However, what does concern me, more than the financial concerns that have been levied down upon our districts, are the conversations that are rising out of the depths of these difficulties.

It is not the conversations themselves…they are really creative, positive, and enlightening to the possibilities that surround us.  The concern lies at the foot of where  we stop those conversations.  Where we end the thought…

Many of those conversations surround themselves around the financial woes of our times.  Concerns about how they can no longer offer the programs previously offered, or collaborate in the same manner or method as before, or hire the needed or necessary support staff to implement their intervention program.  Which are valid concerns.

The interesting turning point in the conversations is when it moves to what is happening in their own child’s school.  The discussions around the creative and innovative ways that their own child’s school is making that program or intervention work.  How their child’s school PTA is providing support to keep the program?  How their child’s teacher’s are using creative and innovative methods to keep that program or intervention going?  How their child’s school is working with the local community and businesses to keep those programs and interventions funded and supported?  Great conversations and great ideas…

And yet, the conversations seems to fade and wane at this point…

At a point when the conversation really needs to grow and flourish.  A conversation about next steps.  About how we need to become “that school”.  How we need to start being a little more like my child’s school.

Why should the great and innovative things only be happening at my child’s school.  We need a conversation changer, we need to turn it towards…“why not here”…why not at our school.  Those are the conversations that need to start occurring on a  regular basis in our schools.  We need to be that school.

Maybe at your next leadership meeting…ask everyone to bring in a list of all the creative and innovative things that are happening at their child’s school.  Let’s throw all of those ideas out on the table for everyone to see.  Let’s start the conversation there.  And I bet you would pull together some really great ideas for your own school.  Isn’t it time…don’t your want to be that school.  The school that everyone says “you know what they do at my child’s school”…instead of the other way around.  Might be a great leadership meeting.

Just a thought…

“What saves a man is to take a step.  It is always the same step, but you have to take it.”  -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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One thought on “Why Not Here…

  1. I think that some of the best and most creative solutions in education have come about when finances are tough. Although it has positive results, the statement should cause us to reflect deeply. Why does it take financial crisis to become innovative? Part of our role as leaders must be to create opportunities to be creative and innovative in our schools and systems regardless of our fiscal situation.

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