Friday, April 27, 2012

Striving to be the BEST

When I started as principal in Merton in 2007, I introduced a theme to the entire district.  We discussed making Merton the BEST, which stands for Believe, Encourage, Share, Trust.  As I think about the changes in the landscape of education in Wisconsin, and around the nation, I believe that I need to review and reinforce this theme and the four sub-themes.
Merton is the BEST.  We have great students, a committed staff, and involved parents.  Our students perform well in class, represent our school in the community, and perform well on placement tests and WKCE tests.  The three groups- students, staff, and parents- have allowed Merton to strive to be the BEST.  But we can always strive to be better.  We can do this by concentrating on the sub-themes of BEST.
Believe-  We need to believe in each other and in our students.  We need to believe that we are all doing what is best for kids.  It says that right on the bottom of our district letterhead.  The morale of the staff is declining based on a number of factors, but we must still believe in one another.  We can increase our belief in one another by sharing ideas, visiting classrooms to discover new learning techniques, and focusing on the great things that our students are creating in our school every day.
Encourage-  We need to encourage each other more now than ever before.  There are those not in education who don't see the valuable work that we are doing with students every day.  We need to encourage each other to take risks, develop relationships with each other and our students, and to look for the best in every situation.  This can't be done with words alone.  It must be done with actions, as well.
Share-  We need to share more with each other, and not just the "school stuff".  When we share, we really get to know each other on another level.  We can share about our personal lives, but with each other and with the students.  This sharing really helps develop stronger relationships.  We need to share what we do in classrooms, what we have learned from conferences or conventions, what we have learned from our PLN, and what we have learned from each other.  As educators, we don't do this enough, but to really be the BEST, we need to share.
Trust-  We need to trust each other more.  How can we further develop this trust?  That is a big question, but I think that trust can be built by believing in one another, encouraging one another, and sharing with one another. If, as a staff, we trust one another, we can truly be the BEST.
Your comments, thoughts, and suggestions would be appreciated.