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Strengths-Based Education Through Strengths-Based Leadership

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Full day workshop for the admin team of the Cariboo-Chilcotin School District. Key topics included: creating a positive school climate through the strengths of students, creating a positive culture by embracing the strengths of staff, and creating a positive school identity by sharing the positive stories of students and staff. The idea of using social media to bring the district together and connect people with others was also introduced.

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Strengths-Based Education Through Strengths-Based Leadership

  1. 1. Moving Forward With Our Strengths Strengths-Based Education Through Strengths-Based Leadership August 26, 2015 SD27: Cariboo-Chilcotin Admin Team Chris Wejr www.chriswejr.com
  2. 2. "I come to you humbly not to tell you what to do on your journey but to share with you what I have learned on mine” Wab Kinew cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Thompson Rivers University: http://flickr.com/photos/thompsonrivers/8518479289/
  3. 3. What Matters
  4. 4. Learning Intentions • I can share WHY we need to shift to a strength-based model of education • I can share ideas to move to a strength-based model in my school • I can create a plan to connect with at least one student and better engage him/her through his/her strengths • I can create a plan on how to create positive change through the strengths of my staff members • I can describe how to better connect with the strengths of my colleagues • I can share ideas on how to better share the positive stories and strengths of my school
  5. 5. Hoping for sit-n-git PD?
  6. 6. Strengths-Based Education
  7. 7. “We don’t know who we can be… until we know what we can do” -- Sir Ken Robinson
  8. 8. “Connection is why we are here. We are hardwired to connect with others -- Brene Brown cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by Andrew: http://flickr.com/photos/30235101@N06/3344044448/
  9. 9. Our stories shape who we are
  10. 10. Stories about ourselves Video: http://vimeo.com/66058153
  11. 11. The Story of Amy CC Image from Don Kennedy https://flic.kr/p/bn4FAs
  12. 12. Agassiz Centre for Educatio n New Stories From Vancouver Sun
  13. 13. What are “strengths”?
  14. 14. CC Image: http://flic.kr/p/bhvabR Each child has a gift... We need to see and nurture these gifts so they emerge and flourish throughout an individual’s life. -- Lorna Williams
  15. 15. STRENGT H S d e f i c i t s
  16. 16. What we see… Depends on what we look CCImagebyRyanHaddadhttps://flic.kr/p/inZ5S
  17. 17. “But the other side is unbaked. The side of strengths, the side of what we are good at, the side…of what makes life worth living.” Dr. Martin Seligman “Psychology is half-baked, literally half-baked. We have baked the part about mental illness. We have baked the part about repair and damage…” Image from Pixgood
  18. 18. The Strength of Dom
  19. 19. A School Built on Strengths My students OUR STUDENTS
  20. 20. When Placed in Leadership Roles… Students FLOURISH
  21. 21. Personal Reflection Why is strengths-based education important to YOU and your school? CC Image from CatDancing https://flic.kr/p/7MzZGa
  22. 22. We cannot see the strengths in others if we fail to see the strengths in ourselves. Create a slide that includes your name, your role, a photo, 2 interests, 2-3 strengths, and an area of curiosity (optional: favourite quote, recommended read)
  23. 23. Strengths-Based Education IN ACTION!
  24. 24. Blog: http://bit.ly/NrekwQ
  25. 25. See Our Strengths - Identity Day http://youtu.be/XRFYlbJvhbI
  26. 26. Giving Students CHOICES
  27. 27. Student Edcamp Encouraging confidence and leadership in areas of strength and interest. Victoria Woelders
  28. 28. CHOICES Passion Projects Innovation Days Inquiry Project-Based Learning Genius Hour Outdoor Education Blended Learning Student Edcamp
  29. 29. Start with ONE
  30. 30. Tapping Into the Strengths of Our Students Write about one student in your school and HOW you can better connect with him/her through his/her strengths
  31. 31. Tapping Into the Strengths of Our Students Consider your staff and students. What are 3 activities/ideas you can build upon or create space for in your school that will tap into the strengths of your students? Share at table, record in Google Doc
  32. 32. Discussion Time
  33. 33. “Amy” in her element Video: https://youtu.be/3nZyo-jHr8Q
  34. 34. Strengths-Based Leadership Tapping Into the Strengths of our Schools
  35. 35. Creating An Effective Culture CC Image from PopTech https://flic.kr/p/8tXtQp
  36. 36. Strengths-Based Leadership: What Is It? Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGaEAzqWeQQ
  37. 37. Are We Asking the Right Questions? CC Image from Raymond Bryson https://flic.kr/p/fGyo6Q
  38. 38. “We cannot motivate others… we can only work to create the conditions for people to motivate themselves.” -- Image: http://flic.kr/p/8zWLAj
  39. 39. Teacher Leadership The old model of formal, one-person leadership leaves the substantial talents of teachers largely untapped... Leadership is the professional work of everyone in the school. Image: http://flic.kr/p/6kFV4R - Linda Lambert
  40. 40. Elephant and the Rider CCImageFromCliveReidhttps://flic.kr/p/67PRDH
  41. 41. Focus on the BRIGHT Spots CC Image by C. Singleton https://flic.kr/p/b1fj48
  42. 42. What’s broken? How do we fix it? What’s working? How can we do MORE of it? Chip and Dan Heath
  43. 43. “When an organization’s leadership fails to focus on individuals’ strengths, the odds of an employee being engaged are a dismal 1 in 11 (9%)… When an organization’s leadership focuses on the strengths of its employees, the odds soar to almost 3 in 4 (73%)” -- Tom Rath CC Image from Midiman https://flic.kr/p/aXqQS
  44. 44. Positive Psychology We should be building on the best things in life AND repairing the worst… Dr. Martin Seligman CCImagefromCamdiluvhttps://flic.kr/p/7Ls5GD
  45. 45. A Gentle Nudge “shrink the change” CC Image from Joe McKenna https://flic.kr/p/5RdRYK
  46. 46. The Strengths of our Schools
  47. 47. Our Students Cannot Sit Still Our Students Need to be Outside!
  48. 48. Strengths of a Community
  49. 49. Who Are We? The Strengths of Our Schools • What makes your school unique? • How can you make this a strength? • What are 3 things that make your school a great school? • As a table, create an image (web with text, drawing, etc) on the chart paper that highlights the strengths of your schools (be sure to label your school). Post on wall.
  50. 50. The Strengths of Our Staff
  51. 51. Gallup - StrengthsFinder From Dallas Marks http://www.dallasmarks.org/
  52. 52. How Do Your Staff Members Get to Use Their Strengths? Are we giving our staff the tools they need to flourish?
  53. 53. Make time for what matters cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Xava du: http://flickr.com/photos/7933170@N03/652332630/
  54. 54. Time for… Strengths Curiosity Innovation cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Toni Verdú Carbó: http://flickr.com/photos/tonivc/2283676770/
  55. 55. Tapping Into Strengths Edcamp Style Video: https://youtu.be/Oygu7Kb-YWc
  56. 56. Living Systems Learning Communities
  57. 57. Turning it Around The Story of Kari CC Image from Prime Education: https://flic.kr/p/c43rny
  58. 58. Be a Connector. Image: http://flic.kr/p/gHVux
  59. 59. Shifting Mindset Through The Strength of an Education Assistant
  60. 60. Tapping Into The Strengths of Our Staff Members • Name 1-5 staff members (depending on size of school) who you can see help lead change in your school (try to include one/some that is/are not currently creating change). Name 1- 2 areas of strength for these people. • Explain how you can tap into their strengths, place them in increased leadership roles, and use these bright spots to help create change.
  61. 61. 5 Ways to Use Strength-Based Leadership in Schools 1. Provide feedback and encouragement in areas of strength, then move on to areas of possible growth. 2. To nudge change or encourage progress, start with strengths. – Engage by starting with “the elephant” 3. Create TIME in the schedule for staff to use their strengths, curiosities, and interests. – Ex. Living Systems Learning Community 4. Create the conditions for professional learning opportunities that tap into the strengths of staff members. – Ex. Edcamp 5. Be a connector. – Help staff to connect with others with similar areas of strength both in the building and beyond. – Create a collaborative culture that helps staff to also tap into the strengths of others.
  62. 62. Discussion Time
  63. 63. Be More… Dog?
  64. 64. Creating Positive Change Through Our Strengths
  65. 65. Who sees the learning? Who hears the stories?
  66. 66. Kent Elementary School
  67. 67. A school focused on strengths
  68. 68. Share the stories CC Image from N. Dibley https://flic.kr/p/9wjGjC
  69. 69. A window in… cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Kol Tregaskes: http://flickr.com/photos/koltregaskes/213069641/
  70. 70. Focus on and share the CC Image from K. Reese https://flic.kr/p/bDhp6 bright spots
  71. 71. A Collaborative Culture
  72. 72. A New Story
  73. 73. Inclusion
  74. 74. Embedded Culture Real Pride
  75. 75. We built a HILL
  76. 76. A response to a school’s story
  77. 77. The resulting celebration from a shared story of a wonderful school community
  78. 78. New School New Strengths
  79. 79. Building Trust CC Image from T. Vogel https://flic.kr/p/i67wYD
  80. 80. Trust me?
  81. 81. Sharing the positives
  82. 82. Sharing: From me to us
  83. 83. The Start of a Collaborative Journey
  84. 84. Open the Doors Share the Stories Shift the Culture
  85. 85. How will we more effectively share our stories as a school and district?
  86. 86. Seek and create intellectual collisions cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓: http://flickr.com/photos/torley/2539392357/
  87. 87. Expand and Connect the Pockets cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Esther Simpson: http://flickr.com/photos/estherase/227972493/
  88. 88. cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Roberta Cortese: http://flickr.com/photos/satyrika/8093129936/ Are you harnessing the power of a district hashtag?
  89. 89. What is ordinary to you… Might be extraordinary to someone else cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by akshay moon: http://flickr.com/photos/akshaymoon/4732030995/
  90. 90. Obvious to you?
  91. 91. As a district, how can we better connect through our strengths? District of Schools  School District My students  Our students
  92. 92. Creating Action How will what we did today… change what we do tomorrow?
  93. 93. Commit to Action
  94. 94. Try something new. Take a risk. Do it. http://youtu.be/ZV_DKgb264E
  95. 95. Thank you!
  96. 96. Connect With Me www.chriswejr.com About.me/ChrisWejr @chriswejr chriswejr@gmail.com

Editor's Notes

  • I have to tell you.. I am no expert.
    I have been honoured to connect with many educators through social media … doing amazing things for kids.
    I have been privileged to meet many of them and hear their stories.
    Not here to to tell us what we as schools are doing wrong
    Honour what you already do and push us to gently nudge us to start with strengths

    Share a few stories that will hopefully give us a window in to a strengths-based culture.
  • twin daughters. Only 4 – we have raised them identically… yet they are so different. They each have different strengths and struggles
    Both love to dance. Horrible at sitting still.
    Curiosity, joy for life.
    I hope their teachers embrace who they are. Embrace their strengths and support their areas of struggle. Tap into their wonderment for life.
    My students – all so different, bring the best of who they are. For many, school is a wonderful place… for others, it is a struggle to behave properly and to keep up.
    My dream – I have seen a strengths-based classroom. I have seen a strengths-based school… my dream is a strengths-based district.

    I have 2 4 year olds. They have such a wonderment for life. Why are the mountains following me? What a teachable moment!
    Depth perception, speed, velocity... Then went into lens, retina, toss and cones. Apparently my teaching was not that engaging…
  • The point is that Kids come to school creative and curious with clear interests.
    Watch centre time or recess.
    Young kids are not afraid to share their strengths. They say they are good at everything! They also see the strengths and beauty in others.
    As they get older, something happens... They lose this sense of wonder. This comfort in being creative and curious. Their story changes. 
  • My hope for when you walk out of here
    Not mind blowing stuff… just takes a slight shift to a different lens
    This is about culture…without strong culture, we will never get to effective strategy.
    this is also about engagement. – engagement and culture through strengths
  • What is it?
  • in order for our students to learn to be… they need to learn what they can do.
    I agree with Sir Ken – but find myself asking … yes, so now what? What do we do?

    students go through school learning all the things they cannot do and either not realizing the things they CAN do.
    We have an opportunity in BC right now. So many districts are saying “let’s try that”.
    There are a lot of changes but also a huge opportunity to create change… change that helps create positive stories for students.

    There are so many of examples of educators working hard to create the conditions for positive stories of our students.
    There are still negative stories and identities of student life at school…



  • It all starts with Relationships. Connection. Interests and strengths. Getting to know students.
    Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser say each child needs to be able to name 2-3 adults who care about them.
    Do we know who our students are? Do we know what they are good at? What they do beyond school?
    Do they feel worthy when they walk through our doors?
  • The stories shape our identities.

    the stories that are told to us AND the stories we tell
    It takes years for us to explore identities and strengths…
    Our children are building their stories right now
    So how do we build positive stories of student life at school?
    From what I have seen and in my experience… students don’t always see themselves in the most positive light… and neither do we as adults.

  • Kids often see the positives
    We learn to be critical and reflect… but do we learn to see the negatives too much?
    Before we can see the strengths in others, we must see the strengths in ourselves.

    I know you all have been through a rough few years… changes in admin, reconfigurations, a lengthy labour dispute.
    I am hoping today we can not only help to see the strengths in students but to change the lens altogether and also see the strengths within ourselves and our colleagues.

  • Amy - Gr 12, top dancers in the FV . I like to listen to the stories of our students. I interviewed her last year.
    2 different stories. 2 different identities.
    Studio - leader who grabs your attention with dance and character – heads turn. “KRAMER”
    School- story of who she is at school, she said “she just tries to blend in… be invisible”.
    struggles in academics, loves her creative writing and visual arts.
    favourite teacher - Mr. C. She skipped many … but rarely missed Mr. C’s class.
    Why “he encouraged us to be who we are in his class”, “he was so random… singing, writing poetry on an oddly shaped paper”
    “share what we learned in ways that worked for us… for me, I could write poetry or draw how a story made me feel”. Test and quizzes
    other classes… so routine. So fast. Teachers are trying to get through everything…
    Does anyone know about you in school as a dancer? No. – bio but nothing done with it
    Advice : slow down, be random, be interesting, be interested,
    2 stories - We all know our Amy’s – their strength is not noticed at school. They try to be invisible… or noticed in negative ways.
    How can we help to bring their strengths into their world of school and change the story?
    Throughout this talk… think of a child in your your school with a story that needs help changing. Who is your Amy?
  • ACE is the alternate school in agassiz - labelled as bad kids.
    Sandy Balascak created the conditions for these students to change their experiences at school. Change their stories
    The students have become a staple in the Agassiz community – 9 to 90. Especially the seniors community.
    Each Christmas, these “bad kids” give up their own Christmas morning for seniors.
    5am, cook, prepare breakfast and share gifts with local seniors. Became a nation wide news story.
    Sandy found their strengths and changed the story… and changed the community.
    seniors have gone back to school including 3 over the age of 80 last year.
    Majority of ACE students graduate with their Dogwood too… the staff believe the students can do it, and the students continue to prove them right.
  • 89 year old Kay on the far left with 76 year old Maureen in the middle along with other graduates of ACE.
    In an alternate setting, there is more flexibility but - we tap into the strengths of students, we can help to change their stories of school.
    We tried to do this at my former school Kent Elementary through an event called Identity Day
  • Skills, Qualities, traits, virtues that lie within people.
    Arts, athletics, trades, academics… and also virtues like empathy, care, resiliency, and courage
    Exist side by side with struggles and weaknesses
    Strengths can be learned… and that is where we can have a huge impact on our students.
    Some are unaware of their strengths… or fail to see their strengths.
    We can help change the lens. Not about teaching them to think they are awesome at everything….
  • Lorna Williams of the Lilwat First Nation
    NOT saying this is polarized we teach kids to AVOID their areas of challenge…
    use their areas of strength to build themselves as learners so they can embrace struggle, effort and growth.
    Soft? Sure. Powerful? Absolutely.
  • As a new teacher, I thought I was going to come in and fix kids. Fix all those that struggled.
    We often seem to be in the business of “fixing kids”.
    As a society, we are often driven by deficits. The disease model. Fix people.
    Diagnose, interventions.
    IMPORTANT but we often miss a key part of the story… the story of strengths and interests

    Which lens? There is power in starting with strengths.. Using the strengths to buiild/
  • What we focus on gets larger – what are we looking for?

    Challenge to see strengths in stressful situations – large classes, large needs, large curric, little support.
    It is also difficult and stressful for us to see through the deficit lens.

    Step back… seek out the positives in our schools.
    When we look at our challenging students, what do we see? Where is the bar?


  • Positive Psychology Research  did an activity in which people with depression determined their 3 top character strengths and then had to spend time doing NEW things with these strengths for one week. 6 months later… still feeling significantly better. They did the same thing in a few schools… and achieved positive results in learning, cooperation and social skills.
    The best part about this was not only did people feel better… but they stuck with the activities for the next 6 months without being asked.
    By focusing on strengths, we not only bring up the deficits but we also create the conditions for people to truly flourish… to take those strengths and create more passion, more purpose, and more pride.

  • Seligman and others researched and came up with 24 character strengths that crossed cultures, societies, religions, etc.
    There are questionnaires and surveys to help you as well as students from age 10 decide what their top strengths are.
    Doesn’t mean we don’t have the others but there are some in which we have more of. When people get to spend time using these strengths, happiness increases. Mental health increases. Engagement in school increases.
    It will be interesting to see where this goes in schools.
  • Sometimes our greatest struggles become our greatest strengths.
    Met Dom in my visit to the school when he was in grade 4
    Asked for him to be in my grade 5/6 class. Was stubborn, withdrawn, reluctant learner
    met with my principal – what is he good at? Didn’t know – all I knew was that he would not do any work. FIND OUT
    Met with Dom one recess. Lived with his grandma (mom was too young when she had him), took a bus 2 hours each day
    Loved music – both loved Johnny Cash
    Was a drumming leader in his community… BOOM.
    Set up our FNSW to work with him at recesses.
    Asked if he would play in front of class – declined but then talked into it. Sang and drummed, beads of sweat… huge roar of applause.

    Other joined in... Played in in front of our class each Monday. Played in front of our school for every event.
    Formed a group – Sacred Connection. Part of the Pre-Olympic performance. Drummer with all the adults in a Pow-Wow we had at our school.
    Friendships grew… he did the work in class!
    last day of school… he missed the bus. We found him in the class crying. Huge hug. Did not want the year to end.
    Now 16, Dom spoke at the local Erase Bullying and I spoke to Surrey Supt Jordan Tinney – Dom was the highlight.
  • Dom continues to lead. Sings and Drums for Kent school events.
    Will be graduating this year… hoping to be a chef.
    We all have a story of someone like Dom.
    There is such power in using strengths to change the stories.
    This next clip is called “with a piece of chalk” – pay attention to your emotions at the start vs at the end.
  • Kent Elementary – OUR STUDENTS
    Previous principal and many staff member and parents, community members (esp FN community of Seabird) taught me this.
    LEADERSHIP roles - flourish- Gardening, big buddy, tech crew, lunch monitors, cheerleading, office helpers, library tech, early morning readers, FN drumming and dancing
    Not a reward – part of the educational experience.
    Because of the philosophy that each has a strength, we had to rethink how we honoured kids.
    We had to question if some of the processes we used in school were ignoring some strengths and highlighting others…
    Were we somehow creating stories of students as winners and losers?
  • MY students to OUR students – find out what works, what has worked… and do more of it!
    How can each child lead?
    Why are we afraid to use former teachers who had success with a child?
    Ask what CAN a child do? When ARE they successful? Schedule this in.
    Secret Agent – assign a child with making one person happy each day… or each week. Secretly.
    Embrace the relationships with other adults in the building.
    There are also many things we can do within our classrooms.

  • "Without an awareness of your strengths, it’s almost impossible for you to lead effectively.” Tom Rath
  • Identity Day
    One of the most powerful events I have ever been a part of
    project about themselves and present to every other student throughout the day.
    Not graded… done with families.
    Students shared who they were – what they loved – what they did.
    Their family, passion, culture. Hockey, lego, dance, FN drumming, jewelry making, gardening, even had a goat…
    and a girl who taught us about her story… a story of autism.
    Shy, lonely – art – pets
    Confidence soared. She developed a new identity at school.
    When I was talking to her mother about bullying… she said the anti-bullying ideas had short term impact… helping my child share who she was and what she could do made all the difference.
  • 3 times a year for 6 weeks… Wednesday afternoons,
    teachers chose to teach in an area of strength/passion, students chose sessions to learn in an area of interest
    Gardening, ball hockey, science, geology, knitting, basketball, video production, coding, chess, bird watching, 2-way radios, sketching, painting, FN carving, etc
    “I never have to ask ‘How was school today’”? (parent)
  • Tap into strengths and interests of teachers and students
    Slow down – take the time
    Go through each off the ideas
    CHOICES - Canoe building, CSI, Glee club, flag football, stop motion video, readers theatre, lego architects, bird watching
    A quote from a parent… I know on Wednesdays I don’t have to ask “what did you do in school?... They just tell me”
    Passion projects at LSS – Christa Barberis
    PBL - answer a question, solve a problem, reflect learning in world outside the classroom.

  • Judy and Linda – students need 2-3 adults who they know care for them and want them to be a success
    Starting with strengths… Can be overwhelming
    We can do this by starting with one.
    One idea, one lesson… one student.
    Story of James – teacher’s idea to connect through strengths
    He still has some struggles but I have a connection. He no longer shuts down when I talk to him… he seeks ME out to share his stories,
    We can often feel overwhelmed by so many students with so many needs.
    As educators, we have an incredible impact and a crucial role with today’s youth.
    So Start Monday… start with one. Start with one child’s strengths - Change one child’s story.
    I leave my daughter to say the final word.
  • I spoke to Amy recently… she said that this was such a huge moment for her.
    Staff and students now know her for her strength in dance. Staff have shown interest in her life beyond school.
    She has also danced in front of her whole school as part of a school wide fundraising event. She is no longer invisible.

    She is determined to graduate this year and will walk away from our district knowing that we provided an opportunity for her to show so many people in the Langley School district and beyond… who she really is.

    After the break we will be focusing on the leadership aspect of this… how we can tap into the strengths of our staff members to create positive shifts to our organizational culture.
  • This about culture… about engagement… and about strengths.
  • There is a saying that culture eats strategy for breakfast.
    Without a strong culture, there is very little effective collaboration (with educational collisions)
    Instructional leadership is so important… but we need a strong culture to have instructional leadership throughout our schools
    “light-hearted culture with an intense purpose” – Hoffman
    With a strong culture there is more engagement. How many of our staff members are truly engaged when we meet?
  • Change is hard – I love change… you go first.
    “The greatest challenge to innovation is the human resistance to change” – Ed Catmull (Pixar)
    Innovation is hard when it is constantly done off the side of our plates.
    There is no more money coming… we need “frugal innovation” – Cale Birk
  • Are our questions moving people?
    We have low literacy rates – how can we improve?
    We are doing well in numeracy – why? What can we learn from this?
    Move from what can fix to what can we build upon?
  • What are the conditions that are needed to engage our staff?
    Autonomy (professional) – Mastery – Purpose (WHY)
  • Everyone can and should lead – principals can create the conditions for this to occur
    the vast majority of our schools are still squandering the experience, ideas and capacity of our nation’s schoolteachers. - Bill Ferriter
    Informal
    Areas of strength/interest/passion
    To get people to lead change, we need to tap into the hearts.
  • Jonathan Haidt – the Happiness Hypothesis
    Lead with the heart, steer with the mind…. Chip and Dan Heath also talk about shaping the path.
    Elephant is the emotion, the gut, the heart. Rider is the mind. This makes change very difficult as you cannot change directions if the elephant is not willing.
    Tap into the strengths… focus on the bright spots
  • "You are simply asking yourself, “What’s working and how can we do more of it?” That’s the bright-spot philosophy in a single question.” Chip and Dan Heath
  • Gallup research on Strength-based leadership
  • we should be just as concerned as strengths as weaknesses
    we should be as concerned about making the lives of normal people more fulfilling as we are with healing pathology
    Helping those that struggle.
    Helping those good staff members flourish and become truly great.
    Not about ignoring deficits…. But focusing more on strengths.
    “Can I give you some feedback?”…
  • Focus on the strengths… build confidence AND provide a gentle nudge to create change.
    Shrink the change. Radical incrementalism.
  • Challenge into opportunity.
    How Kent turned things around through strengths
    Change the lens from a challenge to an opportunity.
    Students who cannot sit still… love to be outside and moving. Staff and families with interst/strength in outdoors
  • Hill Video
  • Heavy Metal Rocks program – great example of embracing the strengths of a school community
  • Personal reflection
    Table talk and record on chart paper
    Take photos of the images on poster paper and then create google slides to send out to team afterwards.
  • Are they aware of their strengths?
    How can we create the space to tap into their strengths?
    Chris Kennedy – give them the tools.
  • What do we want to see in our schols? Growth? Innovation? Collaboration?
    Make time!
    Staff meetings, Pro-D
    Shifting priorities in our current day
  • Google 20% Time, FedEx Days – Dan Pink’s Drive
    FedEx Prep
    Teacher Innovation Day
    Staff unconference (edcamp style) – strength from within

  • What are we curious about?
    “seed time” to those that use it well
    Inquiry - driven
  • Very difficult to develop struggling teachers through our weaknesses.
    Tap into positive psychology. Do something in areas of strength.
    D.I.T.
    Huge struggles at former school. Needed new start, new space, much support.
    Strength of resiliency… as well as in the arts.
  • Model sharing of ideas. Create intellectual collisions.
    Be the messenger of what is happening in one class to the other – and to families (verbally, social media) WINDOWS
    Offer time to observe
    One of the best things that I have done is spent time in classrooms learning from great teachers and trying to share those stories to other classrooms.
    Provide time for teachers to share their strength (ex. Woelders)
  • Moving into the afternoon… more planning. More collaborating. Creating ACTION.
    Important to be brave and think on the edge. Frugal innovation.
  • We can shift our school and community culture through the stories we share.
    Much like when we focus on the strengths of our students, we can change their story of life at school..
    When we share the strengths of our school, we can shift the confidence and culture in our school… and change our story.
  • Traditionally the learning experience has stayed within the walls of each classroom.
    Very few stories.
    Education is seen only by students and staff within the classroom
  • 2009 principal of Kent School – a GREAT school with a reputation that did not match..
    High needs school with some significant challenges and not so great story..
    Low Fraser Institute ranking. Poverty, behaviour, a staff stretched to the max.
  • AND a school focused on strengths.
    A school that looked to the strengths in students first.
    A school with an embedded culture and caring dedicated staff.
  • Stories help to shape who we are
    So we needed to share these positive stories… stories of care, strength, and innovation.
    Stories to be shared throughout the school and throughout the community.
  • In 2009, we took to social media to share our story.
    A new blog (10 Good things to talk about), a Facebook Page, Twitter feed as well as many other avenues.
    We wanted to use technology to meet parents where they were at to share the awesomeness that was our school.
  • These platforms gave staff, students, and families a window in to the fantastic learning that was happening in our school.
    Parents had never been able to “see inside the classroom” from work.
    Staff became more aware of the great things happening in the school.
  • And when we Focused in and shared the bright spots… what is working that we can do more of?
    Staff felt more Supported and more confident. They were proud of who they were and what they were doing.
    With support and confidence, people were more open to share… and take risks for their students.
  • This confidence and sharing filtered into an organic collaborative culture
    Where we were able to provide seed time for small groups of teachers to meet and focus on bringing areas of their passion and inquiry into our school
  • Our story had changed. People were proud to be at Kent School and proud of Kent School
    We were becoming known throughout the province for some of the innovative ideas we were doing to support our students.
    More people started to take on leadership roles and create new stories for our students.
  • We moved from my students to our students… people from neighbouring schools and districts stated to look to us as an inclusive school.
    We now had a new, wonderful challenge as our reputation was a school that helped students with struggles to eventually flourish.
  • Our Aboriginal students and families brought in their strengths and pride in culture…
    The Aboriginal culture became part of what we did… it affected our culture – pur assemblies, our teachings… how we honour the strengths in each child.
    Changed our awards, honour roll, and student of the month.
  • We tapped into the strengths of staff and the community… and instead of focusing on getting a new playground…
    We built a hill. A place for rolling, tumbling, running, jumping, climbing. Real outdoor play.
    We shared these stories through social media
  • People started to take notice and a phone call came from a random lady referencing our hill and many other stories we had shared.
    She wanted to set us up with a donor help our school out. I cautiously listened but I am glad I did..
  • As a year later, the Sedin Family kicked off their new foundation with a huge $50,000 donation to our school.
    They heard of the wonderful things that were happening in our school community… and knew we had our challenges.
    And reached out to help get a new playgorund for our kids.
  • In 2014 I moved to a new school in a new district with different strengths
    From the outside looking in, it was hard for me to see what those strengths were.
    A great school that lacked stories being shared.
  • Before we could share the stories, we had to bulld trust
    I met with every staff member one on one for 30 mins to learn more about them
    I spent a ton of time in classrooms getting a feel for who we are at James Hill
    Building trust is so important… but we don’t want to blow it….
  • And then we opened up the windows… started a new blog, facebook page and twitter account.
    We started to share the stories throughout the school and the community.
    There were so many moments and ideas to be shared.
    Tooth Fairy
  • Again.. Staff started to build confidence.
    Instead of me going searching for things to share, I would get invited in.. Or sent photos of the wonderful learning moments in the school.
    We shared online, we shared in staff meetings… and in the copy room.
  • Shifting the culture – people are more confident and collaborative in staff meetings
    willing to share their ideas and thoughts on education at our school.
    We have a long journey ahead of us… but we are building trust and confidence and letting people in.
  • Our stories shape who we are.
    When we Start with strengths… and share these strengths… we create a window in and we change the story.
    When we Change the story… we change the identity…. And Change the culture in our schools.
    Thank you.
  • Table Talk, share at table, Google Doc.
  • We need to rely on frugal innovation…. No new money coming – tap into what is available now
    Clayton Christensen – seek out intellectual collisions – seek ideas that challenge and support.
    Steven Johnson – when hunches collide
    Social media is like Coffee houses of the age of enlightenment… now we can use technology to have our hunches collide… and to seek out these intellectual collisions
  • an important task is to take the pockets of innovation and effective practice and help create the conditions for these pockets to spread.
    We have silos in education through classrooms, subjects and other structures.
    Through technology, we can seek out and share great things so it becomes less of a pocket and more of the norm.
  • One of the best ways districts can do this is through the power of a hashtag.
    #sd36learn is a great example of how the largest school district in BC has come together and expanded these pockets of innovative practice.
    #think35
    Whether it is a district, a school, or a subject area – there is power in a hashtag of bringing people together to connect, enhance prof learning.
  • What is ordinary to you…
    Often hear – what am I going to share that is worth sharing? Why don’t you find out?
    Moving schools has shown me that there are things that just happen at my former school and current school… and we think they happen everywhere.
    We often spend far too much time wondering if something is worthy of sharing… than time spent actually sharing.
  • How can we improve our school culture and change the stories of our students and staff by tapping into their strengths?
    Let’s create a plan of action for HOW and WHAT… together.
    Bringing it all together – strengths of students, staff, colleagues… How are we going to do this? How are we going to start with strengths and use this to create a positive culture in our schools?
    Comiit personally and then create accountability by sharing with learning team of 3 people on learning walk.
  • What are you going to commit to???
  • What will you being here today change what you do Monday?
    Do one thing new.
    Don’t need to reinvent the wheel
  • Slides will be up on my website.
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