Give it a Go with Colin Andrews Transformative Principal 041


Part 2 of my interview with Colin Andrews.

  • How Colin hires great teachers
  • Colin doesn’t ask any interview questions, he just listens to his VPs ask all the questions.
  • An online form for parents to fill out student’s absences.
  • How Colin inspires people to be the best they can be and ensure students have global, authentic connections.
  • Sister schools in China, Korea, Japan, mainland USA and Kodiak, AK.
  • How he gets connections with other schools in the country.
  • How he took the school from $800 in the bank when he started to $200K for materials and PD.
  • Global connections so kids can think about how to talk to kids across the ocean.
  • Goal to connect each class to two overseas classrooms.
  • Picks books relevant to his locale’s native culture and other native cultures in the other schools and share them with the students.
  • How Colin started connecting with the schools he partners with now (No mention of Twitter!)
  • How to be a transformative principal: Open doors for other people. “Give it a Go”
  • What keeps him going: his grandchildren.
  • Connect with Colin

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Envirokids with Colin Andrews Transformative Principal 040


This week I interview Colin Andrews, principal of Blockhouse Bay Intermediate School in Auckland, New Zealand. Mr. Andrews is inspiring. He is doing so much cool stuff, we didn’t have time to get to everything.

  • We start by talking about the learning fellowship that Mr. Andrews did many years ago. A four way study looking at transition from elementary to middle and then to high school.
  • Forest, outdoor classroom, pest control, projects all directed by the kids.
  • Envirokids, through process of inquiry and student voice that create amazing things.
  • Pathway and other Envirokids project
  • It is the ability of the teacher to be able to spot a question and really pursue it.
  • Structure of envirokids: two-three blocks of time on Fridays, one teacher, about 30 kids.
  • Working days for the families, kids need to bring one parent with them to participate in the work day (on the weekend).
  • How to make manual labor sound exciting?
  • 4 Ethics - Academics, cultural, sporting, and service to the community. Recognized through everything they do all the year long.
  • Role of the advisor of Envirokids. One teacher teaches all academic subjects, so she changes her teaching on Friday to focus on the Envirokids.

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In part two of my interview with Jordan Collier, we dive into his plan for observations. Really informative stuff, and a good plan for any administrator.

  • Observations - daily schedule.
  • Jordan focuses on helping teachers when doing observations.
  • Attempting to alleviate fears of observations by building relationships.
  • How to facilitate a role-play to help teachers see what it is like to do an observation.
  • How a two-minute conversation can change a teacher’s practice.
  • The importance of set meeting times with teachers to talk about what they are doing.
  • The schedule process.
  • The greatest compliment in the world, “You’re never in your office.”
  • Trying to get kids to think you are following them because you are in their classes so often.
  • You have arrived when you are being invited to teachers’ classrooms.
  • How to have the positive conversation and still focus on improvement.
  • Dealing with uncomfortable situations.
  • Freaky Friday folder.
  • Staff Culture Check! Sign up fo
  • Leverage Leadership
  • Looking for consistency for staff culture check.
  • Friday newsletter.
  • What you can do to be a transformative principal like Jordan: Be obnoxiously positive about your school.

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Being Positive with Jordan Collier Transformative Principal 038


Jordan Collier, the principal of Central Arkansas Secondary School is an amazing principal. We barely scratch the surface of what he is doing in this first part of the interview!

  • Jordan shares how powerful this podcast has been for him, especially the interview with Sam LeDeaux
  • How it is different at a religious school compared to a public school.
  • Discipline issues at a private christian school.
  • Using Bible study time to work on issues with students.
  • Telling the story of @CACMustangs. How the students get in on telling the story.
  • Mustang Missions. - Helping kids serve others, love them, and be there for others.

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Part two of my interview with Sam LeDeaux. You’re going to love it. Here is his blog

  • How to balance the need for caring about the teacher with meeting the demands of the state and evaluation system. Evaluation in two simple steps
  • Perspective of evaluation “your performance” vs. “service to kids”.
  • I want teachers to invite me in for lessons that could go any way and possibly be really different.
  • Leaders, strive to be the weak link
  • How Twitter has changed his practice. Parents want to observe the classroom to ensure they like what is happening only when you are not transparent.
  • Dedicating entire days to being in classrooms, while still managing requirements of his job. The more I am out and about, the less things there will be that pin me in my office. Goal: 8 full days in the class per month.
  • Sharing what he learns and fails at with the staff.
  • Inspiring Twitterers: @gcouros @justintarte @8amber8, chats, and anyone who is willing to share something is really inspiring.
  • How to be a transformative principal: be patiently perseverant.
  • What inspires him: his son, is he meeting his son’s expectations for school, because all his students are his sons and daughters!

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Sam LeDeaux is a principal at a K–5 school in metropolitan Chicago. His forté is working well with his parents and staff.

  • 62 staff members and 869 parents working together to make things happen!
  • Learning that people “somewhere” doing things were actually people who were doing these things right around him.
  • Twitter and Social networking have been incredibly transformative and empowering. [#mannschool](https://twitter.com/MsKCairns/status/497443796661960704)
  • Transparency is what makes him effective.
  • Parents suggest and respond to ways to make his school better through social media.
  • We can grow in ways that we never before thought was possible.
  • Continuous sharing and positive collaboration makes technology transformative.
  • You don’t need to have common planning periods to have time to collaborate.
  • How to balance the difficult issues with being transparent.
  • It is not about personal performance, it is about service to kids.
  • When it is seen as a personal attack, you shut down when you are evaluated. When you see it as improving service to kids, you don’t get upset.
  • Peer observations - invite and show the value.
  • We do not let schedules get in our way of improving and service to students.
  • What is the purpose of peer observations?
  • Evaluations should be about growth.

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Shawn is a principal in British Columbia and is doing some amazing things with technology at his school, including having kindergartners use iPads to create amazing projects. In this interview, we discuss the following:

  • What Shawn is most excited about relating to technology in his school.
  • Why do we use technology in schools?
  • Learning as scaffolding and focusing on learning first, and technology second.
  • Blended learning as having digital and physical tools in front of the student at the same time.
  • Powerful for learning are situations that capture what a student is thinking.
  • Shawn’s role as principal to teachers regarding technology in the school: Permission to try, permission to fail.
  • How to gain trust from your faculty. We are in a relationship business.
  • They need me to support them when they need support and challenge them when they need to be challenged.
  • Reflecting in front of your teachers and being vulnerable in front of them.
  • H/T to @ChrisWejr about 5 things to roar about blog posts.
  • Positive blog posts went from no big deal to students finding those positive events in the school.
  • Key elements to 5 things to roar about posts: celebrate success (student and staff successes) and give parents an idea of what learning looks like in our school.
  • What can we do to be a transformative principal? Mindset, tell the story of your school and do it wherever you are comfortable.
  • What reminds him about why he is doing this great work? For his own kids.

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