***Warning: This is my first blog EVER. Inspiration to try out blogging came from Aaron Hogan (@aaron_hogan), Dr. Ryan B. Jackson (@RyanBJackson1) and Jeff Veal (@heffrey). I’ve been digging on their blogs this summer, so I’ve decided to make the jump from reader to writer. Thus, if this blog stinks, please blame them. If it’s a worthwhile use of five minutes, please thank and recognize me. Just kidding. The guy that wholeheartedly believes in PLC and PLN would never say that. Thanks for reading!***
Leadership Learning Goal: Help Our School Build a Brand for Teaching and Learning
Summer is a great time to relax with family and friends and recharge for the upcoming school year. This year I’ve indulged in my fair share of relaxing with family and friends. While I’m still going to work in plenty of summer fun (#1 on the fun list is making it back to Kaufman Stadium to watch the Royals…how fun is this team right now?!?!), it’s time to start making bonafide progress on my list of professional learning goals.
First on my list has been to read solid and stimulating material. You know the kind that is backed by sound research and reputable publishers and also makes you routinely say, “WOW! I’ve got to start doing this in my school.” Recently, I’ve chosen solid and stimulating material that relates to my professional learning goal of helping my new school (Union Valley Elementary, Hutchinson KS, USD 313) build and promote a brand for teaching and learning. The bonafide BEST resource I found in my learning quest to build my school’s brand is The Power of Branding by Dr. Tony Sinanis (@TonySinanis) and Joe Sanfelippo (@Joesanfelippofc).
After reading this thoughtful and cogent book, “branding your school,” for me, has shattered its reputation as a jazzy catch-phrase you routinely see on Twitter or hear at conferences. Now I view “branding” as vision-buidling/mission-instilling in its best form. I’ve never discounted the importance of building a common vision of teaching and learning among staff, I’ve just never been very good at it in my six years as a principal. Moving into a new school with new staff hungry for collaborative, change-oriented leadership, I need to be good at it! I guess I’ve never been very good at because previously read material on the subject matter has been lengthy and too process-oriented.
While Sinanis and Sanfelippo rarely-if-ever use the lingo “vision or mission,” they help you create, share, and instill both! Branding your school via reflective dialogue and then promoting it using social media will help you cement “what your school is all about” into the hearts of your staff and then transmit it to a global audience on an immediate and routine basis!
So if developing a shared vision/mission with your staff is something you’re doing for the first time or something you’ve always struggled with it, flip your mindset about it with The Power of Branding.
Consider my mindset officially flipped….