I am old enough to remember having to get extra jugs of water and going to get cash out of the ATM. Remember those days? The turn of the century when we sang along to the Prince song, “Party Like It’s 1999”? And, just like that, we are now well into the 2000s as we greet a new decade . . . 2020. How can that be?
I always love turning the calendar to a new year. It signifies for me a time to let go of what doesn’t work and keep what does. It also prompts me to think about adding something new and challenging. As a principal, I spent this time in January to do the same. I recently came across a newsletter that I placed in each staff member’s mailbox upon return from our winter break (yup, back in the day newsletters on colored copy paper were all the rage). I thought these promises to my staff could still be relevant today:
I promise to be in classrooms every day. To do this, Jane will continue to manage my calendar and block out time for me to get up out of the office and into classrooms (Jane was my office admin. assistant). Unless the school is on fire, I’ll keep that promise.
I promise to give you frequent feedback. I don’t just want to be in classrooms. I want to help you work smarter, not harder, for our students. I want you to do the same for me.
I promise to protect your time. I know that you value collaboration and that you want to keep the focus on looking at student work. However, you know me, I’m an idea machine. Hold me accountable to this promise.
I promise to keep the main thing the main thing. The state says we have a lot to do. I know this is true. But, I also believe that if we keep our focus on building readers, then everything else will fall into place.
I promise to keep our kiddos at the heart of what we do. They matter and count.
What are your promises and/or goals? Our team is looking forward to supporting you and your teams to achieve everything that you imagine as we turn the calendar to 2020. The best is yet to come!
Kerry Purcell is a former principal of Harvard Park Elementary School (Springfield, IL). She now serves as Senior Executive of Focused Schools.