As a school administrator, it’s not always easy to have a growth mindset about your work. The combination of external expectations, an overwhelming list of needs, and a shortage of energy and time all threaten to topple you over. However, recognizing milestones and setting small goals can help you see the progress along the path rather than the daunting long road ahead.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the midpoint of the year! And regardless of how many teacher/sub shortages, continuing COVID considerations, and sensitivity issues you had to face in the first half, here you are with pages of the calendar completed. That in itself is quite an accomplishment, so be sure to acknowledge that.
Take this chance to look around and behind you. What have you done that you are proud of? What have you faced that was difficult? It’s okay to give yourself credit for having done hard things. Remember, surviving failures is also an accomplishment–especially if you plant the seeds of learning and growth in that dark, rich soil.
As a school administrator, you have probably come to love data. After all, it’s the key to seeing, interpreting, and acting on what is happening at a school. The midpoint of the year is the perfect time to gather your data and make time in your crazy schedule to pay attention to it. Remember those goals you set at the beginning of the year? How are they going? How can you act, based on what your data tells you? There are many, many data points you could look at, but to get you started, let’s review the core questions for learning:
- Are programs being used with fidelity? (If not, this might be a good time to plan for some professional learning.)
- Are students working towards their learning targets? (If not, how can you pivot now? What is the best for students: More time? More effective strategies? A pivot to something different? Intensifying either the relationships or relevance of the content that will motivate students to learn?)
- Is instruction targeting the right things? (If not, how can you identify and intensify instruction around the most important standards for your students?)
You know a lot already, but what could you be forgetting to ask? The questions will be specific to your context, but here are a few that won’t be in your program reports:
- Are your teachers overwhelmed? Is there anything you need to do to simplify priorities, provide helpful coaching, support PLCs, or otherwise help your teachers have the context they need to be motivated and successful? Is the learning relevant for your students? Are students active?
- Are they encouraged to bring their best selves to the classroom? Do they feel safe? Do they feel like they come to the classroom with a background that will be a part of their learning today?
You, like your teachers and students, can’t do everything all at once. What is most important? What would be okay to let go of? Could you get more done if you let yourself get a little bit more sleep? Taking care of yourself, growing one step at a time, and using data as a tool are all ways to look toward the second half of the school year as an opportunity for success.
Sources and further reading: