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Leadership Lessons Learned the Hard Way Session #29 Sue Szachowicz Principal, Brockton High School, Brockton, Massachusetts.

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Presentation on theme: "Leadership Lessons Learned the Hard Way Session #29 Sue Szachowicz Principal, Brockton High School, Brockton, Massachusetts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Leadership Lessons Learned the Hard Way Session #29 Sue Szachowicz Principal, Brockton High School, Brockton, Massachusetts

2 What you never learned in any grad school, or in any licensure program… And, Im supposed to know this WHY??? You just cant make this up!!! Other potential titles of this session:

3 Opener Who is this woman and why is she here? The challenges of leadership: How would you handle this? (Leadership dilemmas to solve) What did we really do? My Top Ten Lessons of Leadership Learned the Hard Way You just cant make this one up! My agenda for this session:

4 1. Stand up if this is your very first year teaching. Thank you for joining this wonderful profession! We applaud you! Opener: The Power of Us:

5 2. Stand up if you are in your first administrative position. We applaud you!!! Thank you for stepping up to lead. We applaud you!!! Opener: The Power of Us:

6 3. Stand up if one of your students is now a teacher. We applaud you! Thank you for sharing your love of teaching with your students! We applaud you! Opener: The Power of Us:

7 4. Stand up if you are a Superintendent or Central Office administrator. We applaud you! Thank you for leading and supporting us in the schools. We applaud you! Opener: The Power of Us:

8 5. Stand up if you are a parent of a child in public school. We applaud you! Thank you for supporting us in the public schools. We applaud you! Opener: The Power of Us:

9 6. Stand up if you have been in education 20 years or more. Thank you for dedicating yourself to our wonderful profession! We applaud you! Opener: The Power of Us:

10 7. Stand up if you have had a day when you feel like youve made a difference in the life of a student. We applaud you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We applaud you! Opener: The Power of Us:

11 Our School of Champions So who is this woman, and why is she here talking about leadership???

12 As we say in Boxer Country we are WICKED AWESOME Brockton High School Brockton, Massachusetts Featured on the PBS series Need to Know

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14 Comprehensive 9 – 12 Enrollment: 4,218 Poverty Level: 72% Minority population: 73% 50 different languages 50% speak another language in the home Approximately 12% in Transitional Bilingual Ed. Approximately 11% receive Special Educ. Services Who are We??? Our Demographics

15 57% Black - includes African American, Cape Verdean, Haitian, Jamaican, and others 26% White 14% Hispanic 2.5% Asian.5% Native American Meet our Students

16 Oh how FAR we have come! Our journey of four steps: 1. Empowered a team 2. Focused on literacy for ALL - NO exceptions 3. Implemented with fidelity and according to a plan 4. Monitored, monitored, monitored

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18 Turnaround at Brockton High BROCKTON - Brockton High School has every excuse for failure, serving a city plagued by crime, poverty, housing foreclosures, and homelessness. Almost two-thirds of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and 14 percent are learning to speak English. More than two-thirds are African-American or Latino - groups that have lagged behind their peers across the state on standardized tests. But Brockton High, by far the states largest public high school with 4,200 students, has found a success in recent years that has eluded many of the states urban schools: MCAS scores are soaring, earning the school state recognition as a symbol of urban hope. Principal Susan Szachowicz, shown chatting at lunch with Yiriam Lopez, is in many ways the schools biggest cheerleader. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff) By James Vaznis Globe Staff / October 12, 2009James Vaznis Emphasis on literacy brings big MCAS improvement

19 GO Boxers!!! September 28, 2010 Boxers in the NEW YORK TIMES High Expectations NO Excuses!!!

20 Hey, it was no picnic! YOUR TURN: Lets try some leadership dilemmas

21 Personnel Challenges 1. What was your first reaction or thought – and BE HONEST! 2. What solutions/alternatives did you come up with? 3. Based on your discussions, your experiences, and your own instincts, how would you handle it- what do think is the best way to go?

22 Personnel Challenges Please take a few minutes to discuss the two personnel challenges: Dance of the Lemons and Mr. Hero using the three guide questions.

23 Personnel Challenges So, for the Dance of the Lemons: What did YOU decide? Heres what we did…

24 Personnel Challenges So, for Mr. Hero: What did YOU decide? Heres what we did…

25 Leading Change Challenges Please take a few minutes to discuss the two Leading Change challenges: Do It My Way and Breaking the Trust using the three guide questions.

26 Leading Change Challenges So, for Do It My Way: What did YOU decide? Heres what we did…

27 Leading Change Challenges So, for Breaking the Trust: What did YOU decide? Heres what we did…

28 Adversarial Relationships Challenges Please take a few minutes to discuss the two Adversarial Relationships challenges: Free Speech Nut and Defiance using the three guide questions.

29 Adversarial Relationships Challenges So, for Free Speech Nut: What did YOU decide? Heres what we did…

30 Adversarial Relationships Challenges So, for Defiance: What did YOU decide? Heres what we did…

31 My Top Ten FYI – This is so totally NOT research based. This is walk a mile in my shoes based.

32 My Top Ten: #10 Dont make a decision while walking around, it always comes back to bite you…the gotta minute? approach.

33 My Top Ten: #9 Two leadership lines that work: Im sorry and Its MANDATORY!!!

34 My Top Ten: #8 You cant eliminate feelings – the key is managing them. (Why do you despise me so???)

35 My Top Ten: #7 PLAN your fierce conversations (difficult, disciplinary, adversarial…) conversations

36 Fierce Conversations Fierce is an attitude. Fierce conversations are about moral courage, clear requests, and taking action. Fierce is an attitude. Susan Scott Also, Talk Sense by Barry Jentz

37 Fierce Conversations Three key steps in a Fierce Conversation: a. The opening b. The dialogue c. The resolution

38 Step 1: The Opening Step 1: Structure the conversation: set the boundaries in an OPENING a. The purpose of today is… b. The procedure is… I will tell you everything I know about the incident and ask you to tell me what you know c. Time frame - and together we will come up with a solution within the next 30 minutes. If we need more time, we will schedule another meeting.

39 Step 2: The dialogue You extend the invitation to a dialogue Heres what Ive seen, I need to hear your take on this… (back and forth) Then listen (can be difficult) USE AND be prepared for SILENCE Restate what the other person says (so, I hear you saying that…)

40 Step 2: The dialogue (continued) Be clear about why this matters. When you give negative feedback, expect to get it back. Help is often viewed as a hindrance. Know when NOT to listen. Let me write down what you said so that I get it exactly and then repeat it back.

41 Step 3: The Resolution Make it clear the intent is to resolve the issue So where are we now? What have we learned? How do we move forward? End the fierce conversation with a plan Memorialize the discussion in writing

42 Homework! Think about a fierce conversation you need to have – the office bully, the obnoxious colleague you have tolerated, perhaps even the principal who hasnt been a leader. Give yourself a date by which you will have had the conversation, then… DO IT!

43 My Top Ten: #6 Contracts and unions dont mean CANT. BUT, know what you can control, and what you cant control, and dont waste an ounce of energy on what you cant control.

44 My Top Ten: #5 Because weve always done it this way is not a reason to continue down the same path.

45 My Top Ten #4 FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS Tune out the noise, be the hedgehog (Sense of urgency, sense of possibility; AND, subversive leadership works)

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47 My Top Ten #3 Celebrate and publicize your successes, even small ones. You use the media, dont let the media use you. (The bunker mentality doesnt work.)

48 48 They believe! Spread the word! Changing students beliefs: Celebrate and Publicize!!!

49 Be proactive (they will find you when its bad) Boxer Roundup Weekly radio segment Billboard and banners Business meetings in the city Be your own BEST media hound!

50 50

51 My Top Ten: #2 It takes a team to implement change. So GO AFTER THEM, even if you drag them on board kicking and screaming (begging sometimes worked for me) Your best hope for moving your school forward may be to work with the experts within your own school (as Ray says often Leadership is not a position, but a disposition to act)

52 Honor Roll Assemblies – Celebrate and Laugh!

53 My Top Ten #1 No excuses…life isnt fair. Use the challenges to your advantage. Changing expectations is FREE!!!

54 You just cant make this up… No matter how well prepared you are, no matter how many ed degrees you have, no matter how many years youve done this… there are some things you just cant prepare for… just WATCH… and meet our new student…

55 Moral of the story??? You just never know when you are going to run into a turkey in your building…

56 Contact Information Sharon Wolder Associate Principal for Curriculum and Instruction Brockton High School 470 Forest Ave Brockton, MA bpsma.org


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