ILASCD February 2022 Journal

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Impact • Service • Advocacy

Quarterly Journal - February 2022


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A Letter from the President

Trending 6


Whole Child

Book Review: The 19 Burnout Cure Book Review: 22 Teaching with the Heart in Mind

Belinda Veillon, President


Resource Corner

The Unity and 32

Greetings, We welcome in 2022, and with each new year, we feel the hope and exhilaration of new beginnings, rebirths, a fresh canvas on which to begin a new masterpiece. However, with dismay, we might look upon the start of this wonderful new year with some trepidation and questions. Will 2022—Look the same? Feel the same? Sound the same?—as the last two years? Definitely things are looking up, and we have made it almost half way through this current school year, but the lingering trauma continues to take its toll on so many of us. In his book, The Three Questions, by Jon J. Muth, based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, Muth tells the tale of Nikolai, a young boy who felt uncertain about the right ways to act. He is able to categorize his uncertainty into three questions… When is the best time to do things? ...Who is the most important one? ....What is the right thing to do? These questions express relevant concerns for each of us as we embark on a new and 3

Individualism of Climate and Culture 5 Ways School 37 Culture Can Shine During the Hiring and Onboarding Process









Intentional Interactions with Heart to Happiness

Upcoming Events 65 School Spotlight 68

A Letter from the President (cont.)

ILASCD Leaders

familiar, yet uncharted and unfamiliar journey each day.

Belinda Veillon, President

As Nikolai quests to find the answers to his questions, so do we, seeking out mentors, teacher leaders, cohort groups, on a daily basis. Interestingly, Nikolai asks three very auspicious members of his community—a heron, a monkey, and a dog. The value of this trio is not only their knowledge, but also their perspective and the value in the difference that each has to offer. At times, however, the focus of each response to each question can be quite narrow and selfcentered. Finally, Nikolai, slightly confused by the varying answers, approaches the wise turtle who is busily toiling in his garden. Once again, Nikolai poses the three questions …What is the best time to do things? ...Who is the most important one? ...What is the right thing to do?

Akemi Sessler, Past President Scott England, President-elect Amy Warke, Treasurer Debbie Poffinbarger, Media Director Amy MacCrindle, Secretary Ryan Nevius, Executive Director Bill Dodds, Associate Director Task Force Leaders: Membership & Partnerships Denise Makowski, Andrew Lobdell

The turtle, in his wisdom, recognized that he could not respond to the questions in ways that would be universally meaningful. Just like for each of us, relevance relates to context. We must each make our own meaning and determine the answers.

Communications & Publications Joe Mulikin, Jeff Prickett Advocacy & Influence Richard Lange, Brenda Mendoza Program Development Bev Taylor, Terry Mootz, Sarah Cacciatore, Dee Ann Schnautz, Doug Wood

However, it is not only the answers that are important, but also the focus of the questions themselves. I feel these questions can provide a manageable tableau to address our surroundings. The specific answers will not always be 4

provide a pause when it seems that we are being bombarded from every direction. And, best of all, the answers to these questions are personalized, context agnostic, and situation independent.

the same, but the importance and the context are. Nikolai, through three unavoidable circumstances, was guided to the answer to each question. • When is the most important time to do things? ...Now

Step back. Take a breath. Remember that at times it is also okay for…

• Who is the most important one? ...The one you are with

• The most important time is …when you are ready.

• What is the most important thing to do? ...The thing best for the one(s) who is standing by your side

• The most important one is …you. • The most important thing to do what is right for you at that time in that place.

I believe these questions could assist in guiding through situations that seem insurmountable. Perhaps they can

Sincere hopes for an amazing 2022, Belinda Veillon, President IL ASCD


Trending Leading a Narrative of Collective Efficacy Now more than ever, leaders need to be purposeful in fostering positive school culture. Although current conditions present a unique set of hurdles, leaders Christine M. Anderson can build and reinforce school identity and culture by intentionally discussing positive collective efficacy contributions. One way to do this is through the use of narratives. Everyone in the school creates narratives to find meaning in processing positive and negative experiences, and they are communicated continuously through words and actions. Especially during challenging times, teams look to their leaders’ narratives to help them process and resituate adversity as well as to inspire future courses of action. Both leaders and teachers can use narratives in their practice to purposefully strengthen the school climate and culture. The idea of using narratives is not new. In fact, people have been using narratives as long as they have been using language itself, and the brain has evolved to seek narratives to create meaning in interconnected experiences. Anthropologist Clifford Gertz suggests that “culture is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves.” Even in schools, narratives are cultural artifacts that speak to our emotions as well as have the potential to build confidence and hope while navigating uncertainty. The current instability can make it challenging to find the traditional hallmarks of success in the classroom, and the search for significance can be isolating in the absence 6

leaders can weave together interpreting past experiences with present practices to craft a narrative that supports positive culture and student learning even as the environment continues to evolve. Moving past just the mere idea of collective efficacy, a collective efficacy narrative is a story an interdependent group purposely creates about their identity and the significance of the obstacles they have overcome with intention (Anderson, 2021). The goal of a collective efficacy

of a shared narrative for understanding struggles. However, when teams process hardships together, the narrative they generate has the potential to foster belonging (Bavel & Packer, 2021). Collective Efficacy Every school has collective efficacy beliefs. They are evidenced through teachers’ confidence in their collective ability to overcome obstacles and to have a meaningful impact on student

Collective efficacy is essentially a narrative people tell themselves about their team’s identity and what they are capable of in the future based on past experiences and present practices. learning (Tschannen-Moran & Barr, 2004). Positive collective efficacy can accelerate the learning gained in a typical year by as much as three fold (Hattie, 2016). Collective efficacy is essentially a narrative people tell themselves about their team’s identity and what they are capable of in the future based on past experiences and present practices. ​​ The stories people tell and reshare with others create cultural vibrations throughout the whole organization that are felt all the way from the front office to shaping interactions among teachers and students. By channeling the components of collective efficacy,

narrative is to make a team’s identity and competencies explicit as well as to reflect optimistically on where they are capable of heading next. Conditions that Ground a Meaningful Narrative Collective efficacy is not an accident when it is present in schools. Donohoo and colleagues (2020) synthesized a framework for environmental conditions that support collective efficacy, and these conditions can be conceptualized in two categories: multidirectional empowerment and habitual practices. Both contribute to efficacy narratives 7

Trending (cont.) by pointing out and reinforcing specific research-based relationships and systems in the school that support collective efficacy beliefs.

results in student learning (O’Leary, 2021). The work of empowered teachers is the embodiment of the school’s collective efficacy narrative.

Multidirectional Empowerment Teachers and leaders jointly exert multidirectional influence throughout an organization through shared purpose, cohesive practices, and iterative learning. Collective efficacy is strengthened

Collective efficacy narratives draw on multidirectional empowerment when they champion teachers’ contributions to bolster student learning. It also reserves space for every teacher to have membership in a shared vision.

The most important thing supportive leaders do is to empower teachers through reinforcing high-yield learning practices within teams; elevating the contributions of others; and creating space for teachers to enact agency in the school (Donohoo et al.; Dewitt, 2022; Hattie & Zierer, 2018). Narrative Considerations:

through a partnership among empowered teachers and supportive leaders. The most important thing supportive leaders do is to empower teachers through reinforcing high-yield learning practices within teams; elevating the contributions of others; and creating space for teachers to enact agency in the school (Donohoo et al.; Dewitt, 2022; Hattie & Zierer, 2018). Teachers are empowered when they trust and rely on each other because they believe that their joint actions produce meaningful

• How/when do teachers have space to influence school-level decisions and processes to support learning? • How is teacher influence on learning and in the lives of students shared and celebrated? Habitual Practices Habitual practices that support collective efficacy occur when educators form shared mental models for what effective instruction looks like, collaborate in 8

meaningful evidence-based reflection focused on instructional improvement and high expectations for student learning, and share ownership over the direction of their work (Arzonetti Hite & Donohoo, 2021; Hattie et al., 2022). Habitual practices have maximum influence when teachers collaborate and reflect at regular intervals. They also benefit from the collective knowledge of their teams when they observe each other teach. As the pandemic continues, habitual practices are the support systems available for educators to overcome the present complications.

look like and when is it shared and challenged? • What evidence of learning reinforces effective instructional practices? When is it deeply discussed, challenged, and celebrated? • How will everyone understand their part and importance in improving instruction? Affirming Identity through Strength in Past Experiences Collective efficacy narratives highlight key experiences from the past to affirm the team’s competence and fortitude to persevere in the face of adversity. When narrating key experiences, leaders are tapping into two sources of collective efficacy: mastery experiences and social persuasion (Bandura, 1997).

Leaders include habitual practices in their collective efficacy narrative when they celebrate and provide time for genuine collaboration among teachers. This is more than sharing resources for an upcoming unit. It is when leaders give space for teachers to partner in goal-oriented work surrounding student learning and trust each other enough to engage in difficult conversations when gaps appear among words and classroom practices (Dwyer & Hiscock, 2019; Fullan, 2007). Collective efficacy narratives are effective when they share how the continual improvement of present practices lays the foundation for a compelling vision of the future.

Mastery experiences are the most powerful source of collective efficacy beliefs and describe previous situations where groups experience hard-earned success such as teaming to redevelop and successfully implement curricular changes. Social persuasion occurs when credible people share their confidence in the team’s competence to meet a given challenge well. Moments of social persuasion can be powerful both as they occur and when reflected on.

Narrative Considerations:

Key moments are missed opportunities if leaders do not slow them down and

• What does effective instruction 9

Trending (cont.) associated with teachers’ experiences. They can also identify obstacles to student learning that may be cleared out of the way. Naming and jointly processing emotions and recurrent themes gives teams power over them (Brown, 2018). Leaders can only foster total belonging in their collective efficacy narrative when their vision validates feelings and experiences as real before attempting to pivot them (Tschannen-Moran & Tschannen-Moran, 2020).

celebrate them as evidence of the team’s identity and capability (Heath & Heath, 2017). Narrative Considerations: • What hard-earned achievements is your team most proud of? Why? • How has your team collaborated and innovated to get better? How was it celebrated? Leveraging Counternarratives Compelling collective efficacy narratives are not authentically crafted in isolation. Rather, they are co-constructed by listening to teachers share their stories and by interlacing narratives with reflections on collective experiences and practices. Co-constructing narratives reduces isolation and nurtures an inclusive culture. This includes highlighting competencies while simultaneously not denying adversities in an attempt to recolor current circumstances.

Narrative Considerations: • What recurring themes and emotions are prevalent in jointly unpacking the counternarrative? • How can the counternarrative become evidence of strength and belonging? Inspiring Hope for the Future Especially in difficult times, educators show up every day for students, and they want to be inspired by the meaningfulness of their work. They seek to impact student wellbeing and learning because at some point someone cared for them the same way. Collective efficacy narratives cue team members to recognize how their purpose lines up patterns of competency and significance in their work. They provide a safety net for teams to be open to how current circumstances will leave school systems changed for the

When counternarratives arise, they must be heard with care and empathy and their orators pulled close. When teachers share reservations, they are signaling trust. A critical opportunity opens for leaders in attending to concerns as one of the most dependable ways to inspire people is to listen to them (Hedges, 2017). Counternarratives help leaders examine their own blindspots as well as name feelings and recurrent themes 10

social harmony. New York, NY: Little, Brown Spark.

better because, together, they found the strength and flexibility to adapt and overcome. Ultimately, school culture is influenced by narratives surrounding its ability to innovate and persevere. This even reverberates down to how teachers and students interact in the classroom. Nothing can be more important now than communicating strength and trust from overcoming hardships together to inspire a pathway forward. Collective efficacy narratives are a powerful way to accomplish this.

Brown, B. (2017). Dare to lead. Brave work. Tough conversations. Whole hearts. New York, NY: Penguin Random House. Dewit, P. (2022). Collective leader efficacy: Strengthening instructional leadership teams. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Donohoo, J., O’Leary, T., & Hattie, J. (2020). The design and validation of the enabling conditions for collective teacher efficacy scale. Journal of Professional Capital and Community.


Dwyer, W. & Hiscock, C. (2019). Rethinking the American high school: Finding your focus and using your strengths. Oshkosh, WI: FIRST Educational Resources.

Arzonetti Hite, S. & Donohoo, J. (2021). Leading collective efficacy: Powerful stories of achievement and equity. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Anderson, C. M. (2021). Collective teacher efficacy and its enabling conditions: Measurements and associations. (Doctoral dissertation: Northern Illinois University).

Fullan, M. (2007). The new meaning of educational change (4th ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Hattie, J. (2016, July). Mindframes and maximizers. 3rd Annual Visible Learning Conference. Washington D. C.

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York, NY: W. H. Freeman and Company.

Hattie, J., Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Clarke, S. (2021) Collective student efficacy: Developing independent and interdependent learners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Bavel, J. J. & Packer, D. J. (2021). The power of us: Harnessing our shared identities to improve performance, increase cooperation, and promote 11

Trending (cont.) Dr. Christine M. Anderson has been a curriculum leader serving multilingual learners in West Aurora School District 129 since 2012. She also serves as adjunct faculty for the Teaching Diverse Learners graduate program at Aurora University where she coaches experienced educators in leading teams through the curriculum development, evaluation, and change process and in creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging in their classrooms and schools. She spent the early years of her career in education first as an instructional technology graduate assistant at UIC and then as a public high school ESL/ TBE, English teacher for students from all over the world. She holds a master’s degree in Linguistics from University of Illinois at Chicago and is a recent graduate from Northern Illinois University’s Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program. Her postdoctoral work focuses on bridging research, policy, and practice as a member of the Emerging Education Policy Scholars 2022 cohort. Her ongoing research endeavors include collaborations to make collective efficacy research more accessible and actionable for practitioners.

Hattie, J., & Zierer, K. (2018). 10 mindframes for visible learning: Teaching for success. New York, NY: Routledge. Heath, C. & Heath, D. (2017). The power of moments: Why certain experiences have extraordinary impact. New York, NY: Simon Schuster Hedges, K. (2017). The inspiration code: How the best leaders energize people everyday. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. O’Leary, T. M. (2021). Classroom vibe: Practical strategies for better classroom culture. Melbourne, Australia: IngramSpark. Tschannen-Moran, M. & Barr, M. (2004). Fostering student learning: The relationship of collective teacher efficacy and student achievement. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 3(3), 189-209. Tschannen-Moran, B. & TschannenMoran, M. (2020). Evocative coaching: Transforming schools one conversation at a time (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.




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Whole Child Implications of Student Culture on Learning and Educator Ability to Support the Whole Child Jenna Nelson, Ed.D. Students bring diverse experiences, cultural identity(ies), and understandings that influence their interaction with the classroom curriculum and instructional practices. Educators must attend to students’ individual identity to effectively foster student learning. A central means for doing so is by attending to the needs of the Whole Child. In this article, I discuss the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Whole Child tenets and consider one of these tenets in relation to supporting culturally diverse learners. I also discuss implications for teachers and administrators to contemplate to best support the Whole Child. ASCD Whole Child Approach The ASCD Whole Child approach to education strives to “prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow by addressing students’ comprehensive needs through shared responsibility of students, families, schools, and communities” (ASCD, 2013, para. 1). To address this call, ASCD (2013) developed five Whole Child Tenets for promoting long-term student success—healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. This article will focus on one 14

as additive rather than subtractive, as remaining whole rather than framed as broken, as culturally enriching strengths rather than replacing deficits” (p. 1). CSP

of the Whole Child tenets—supported— to highlight how educators can support the Whole Child by considering student culture and its impact on learning.

By authentically bringing students and communities of color into educational practices, we can teach to and through student strengths and their individual experiences to enhance student learning and achievement (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Gay, 2000). Culture and the Whole Child Framework “The term culturally sustaining requires that our pedagogies be more than responsive of or relevant to the cultural experiences and practices of young people—it requires that they support young people in sustaining the cultural and linguistic competence of their communities while simultaneously offering access to dominant cultural competence” (Paris, 2012, p. 25).

extends culturally responsive pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Gay, 2000) by ensuring that pedagogy is more than responsive or relevant. Under this pedagogy, educators work to support students in sustaining their cultural and linguistic understandings while aiding students in accessing dominant cultural competence (Paris, 2012). Under CSP, educators must value and see all learners as whole and human (Paris, 2016). Using CSP, educators can work “to prove that [the] practices and ways of being as students and communities of color are legitimate and should be included meaningfully in the classroom learning” (Paris, 2016, p. 6). By authentically bringing students and communities of color into educational practices, we can teach to and through student strengths and their individual experiences to enhance student learning

Culturally Responsive & Sustaining Pedagogy It is valuable for teachers to implement culturally sustaining pedagogical practices (CSP) to foster the learning and achievement of culturally diverse students. CSP places students at the center of curriculum and practice to develop students academically. According to Paris & Alim (2017), CSP “positions dynamic cultural dexterity as a necessary good, and sees the outcome of learning 15

Whole Child (cont.) and achievement (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Gay, 2000).

ensure that culturally diverse learners feel valued and seen within the school curriculum (Paris, 2012). When educators emphasize students’ cultural identity, students are more likely to engage with the course curriculum. Such actions, furthermore, support student academic growth and achievement.

Supported In the ASCD Whole Child tenets, the tenet supported requires that all learners have access to individualized learning opportunities and that their learning is fostered by qualified and caring educators (ASCD, 2013). According to ASCD (2013), a key indicator of the supported tenet is “our school personalizes learning […] to meet academic and social goals for each student.” The use of CSP aligns with the supported tenet because these practices consider individual student characteristics to guide the curriculum and instructional practices to support student learning. By developing a curriculum that considers student culture, language, ability, interest, background, and experiences, students can meaningfully engage with the material and grow academically and socially in the process.

Teachers and Administrators: Partnering for Supporting the Whole Child and Student Culture Teachers and administrators play an influential role in the lives and learning of culturally diverse students. These stakeholders need to foster these learners’ social and academic competencies to help students fulfill their potential. To assist in the education of the Whole Child, educators need to attend to the reality that we must see each child as an individual to enable us to look beyond scholastic abilities and more fully understand and support the Whole Child. The ASCD Whole Child tenets offer valuable insights for teachers and administrators to consider when fully supporting the Whole Child. In addition to attending to long-term student development and fostering the success of all learners, it is essential to consider how to support all culturally diverse students. As addressed in this article, a central means that educators can look towards to ensure that culturally diverse

By creating a curriculum aligned with CSP, educators can ensure that student cultural identity is authentically taken into consideration in the classroom context to develop meaningful learning experiences for culturally diverse learners. By attending to students’ lived experiences and viewing the culture of every learner as an additive quality as opposed to subtractive, educators can 16

learners are supported is the purposeful use of CSP. It is essential to remember that to be culturally sustaining, teacher pedagogical practices must be more than

need of attention in many school districts. To support culturally diverse students, educators must attend to any preconceived perspectives and work

Educators must support learners in “sustaining the cultural and linguistic competence of their communities while simultaneously offering access to dominant cultural competence” (Paris, 2012, p. 95). responsive or relevant to the cultural experiences of students. Educators must support learners in “sustaining the cultural and linguistic competence of their communities while simultaneously offering access to dominant cultural competence” (Paris, 2012, p. 95). Through doing so, CSP ensures that educators consistently support the multilingualism and multiculturalism of students in both their practice and the perspectives they hold of students (Paris, 2012). As we work to educate the Whole Child, stakeholders must understand and attend to the individuality of each learner as a human being to ensure that their academic, social, and emotional potential is fostered and that they are prepared for life beyond the classroom.

to ensure that they view every student through an asset-based perspective. Using the ASCD (2013) Whole Child tenets, the following questions have been derived to offer teachers and administrators ideas to ponder as they work to educate the Whole Child with attention to student cultural identity: • What strategies do we utilize to promote a supportive learning environment for culturally diverse students to ensure that we consider student cultural identity as we educate the Whole Child? • In what ways are we considering culture when we are attending to the social and emotional development of the Whole Child?

Next Steps: Questions for Teachers and Administrators to Ponder Effectively educating the Whole Child through considering student cultural identity continues to be an area in

• Where can we improve, and what supports do we need to move forward? 17

Whole Child (cont.) References Dr. Jenna Nelson (Ed.D.) is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum & Instruction and Assistant Division Chair at Concordia University Chicago (CUC). Her current research is on curriculum and teaching practices for supporting culturally and linguistically diverse learners in gifted and talented education. Her research interests include gifted and talented education, secondary English education, literacy, and teaching culturally and linguistically diverse learners.

ASCD (2013). Whole child initiative. http:// Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice. Teachers College Press. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 465-491. Paris, D. (2016). On educating culturally sustaining teachers. TeachingWorks. Paris, D. (2012). Culturally sustaining pedagogy: A needed change in stance, terminology, and practice. Educational Researcher, 41(3), 93-97. Paris, D. & Alim, H.S. (2017). Culturally sustaining pedagogies. Teachers College Press.


Book Review The Burnout Cure: Learning to Love Teaching Again by Chase Mielke

Review by Christina Ordonez

Click the cover to view on ASCD.

Close your eyes and think of that moment, or maybe moments, when you made the decision to be an educator. We entered the profession with passion and a desire to make a difference. However, circumstance or time or both may melt away the candle of our passion and what was once a light in our lives—being an educator—is what is now burning us out. When that burnout occurs, the capacity for excellent culture diminishes.

to Love Teaching Again, may be one of the most important books you can read for yourself or work through with colleagues. It has a personal and uplifting tone that pairs well with the well-researched SEL and psychological principles, but most importantly, it suggests opportunities to embrace Mielke’s Empowered Thriving Model for continuing your love of teaching or finding it once more. Often, books seem written for specific educational audiences: elementary school teachers, secondary school teachers, administrators or school leadership, and the general public. The beauty of The Burnout Cure is that while some aspects

In a year when it feels like more teachers and administrators are feeling burnt out and contemplating leaving the profession than ever before, Chase Mielke’s book, The Burnout Cure: Learning 19

Book Review (cont.)

With the flexibility of a Choose-Your-OwnAdventure novel, The Burnout Cure allows for snippets of research, personable examples, critical questions, and applicable actions to be pulled for individual or group use in any order, with each element enhancing the rest.

are angled towards classroom teachers, most can be used by anyone.

Each chapter is labeled with one of these elements allowing the readers to explore based on their own needs.

The structure of the book itself is one of the most unique and helpful aspects of it. With the flexibility of a ChooseYour-Own-Adventure novel, The Burnout Cure allows for snippets of research, relatable examples, critical questions, and applicable actions to be pulled for individual or group use in any order. Each element enhances and builds on the others allowing educators who are feeling burnt out to chunk the advice for timely and quick access.

A quote sets the tone and the opening of each chapter and is followed by reflective questioning, research, and explanation of how to fight burnout using that chapter’s lens. Not only is the writing accessible, but it has a variety of resources included for a deeper dive into the topic. Following this narrative is what Mielke calls “Life Assignments.” The Life Assignments are specific actions and reflections one can complete to develop within that chapter’s lens. In fact, many of the Life Assignments are appropriate and would provide value to educators and non-educators at any level. The assignments—such as those on mindfulness, optimism, empathy, altruism, and gratitude—guide readers to be better members of society, friends, partners, and parents, as well as educators. They ignite the passion and the purpose in life. At

The book describes three main elements that Mielke introduces on pages 4-5: • Awareness - ability to “know and see certain things that we didn’t see previously” • Attitude - how “we frame and feel” about teaching • Action - specific changes we can make 20

the end of each chapter, Mielke himself reflects on his own process, finalizing each chapter with a personal touch, positivity, and optimism.

helps teachers to weave the lessons they are learning through the book into lessons with their students. It suggests Altruistic Acts for Educators. It includes resources beyond the references in the book to provide practical personal and professional well-being.

One of my favorite Life Assignments is called “Craft the Why” (pg. 164). For those of us who have been educators for a while and have become leaders within our schools, we oftentimes are so caught up in the daily tornado of tasks that we forget the “Why.” No one moves into administration because they are excited about more meetings and more paperwork. When we get caught up in the minutiae of leadership, those “Why” reasons fade from view. This chapter serves as a reminder to strengthen our fortitude on those days that are not what we envisioned. It also helps to reframe and prioritize, allowing us to focus on the bigger picture when the details seem overwhelming. And yes, while this is an example for experienced administrators in the educational system, being able to prioritize and recognize what is in your control and outside of your control is also a skill that new educators desperately need in order to prevent burnout in the first years of service. Like any good educator, Mielke doesn’t just think of the book’s use in the moment, but how its lessons can spread and connect to other areas in your life. This includes having an extended appendix area that

Creating a positive culture in your school hinges on the engagement of your staff. When teachers and administrators feel purposeful, they are galvanized to share their passion for education. For Professional Learning Teams, this book can be used effectively as a book study, to add notes to a newsletter, or for small, quick, well-being exercises throughout the year, helping to set a strong foundation for positive culture. I would encourage all educators at any level of experience and with any job description to have this book on their shelf. Even if you don’t feel you need it today, inevitably there will be a moment where you question why you decided to be an educator. Mielke states, “Maintaining the fire for education hinges upon our choices – whether we let the flame burn out or take action to refuel” (pg. 169). The Burnout Cure helps you to recall the passion that you had for education and raises you up to help others reignite theirs.


Book Review (cont.) Christina Ordonez has worked at Hoffman Estates High School since 2002, starting as an English Teacher and Reading Specialist and moving in 2011 to the roll of Technology and Media Department Chair. In addition to her primary positions, she is also a theatre director and auditorium manager. As a New Educator Coordinator and one of the leads of the Teaching and Learning Team, Christina enjoys mentoring and supporting her colleagues in their continued learning and development. She

holds Masters Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction, Reading Specialization, and Educational Leadership. She finds her passion in facilitating professional growth for all educators and removing barriers to educational opportunities for both students and staff.

Book Review Teaching with the HEART in Mind by Lorea Martinez Perez

Review by Dr. Peter M. Sullivan

Click the cover to view on Amazon

Lorea Martinez Perez’s (2021) Teaching with the Heart in Mind: A Complete Educator’s Guide to Social Emotional Learning is a book that uniquely speaks to the challenges faced by educators today. The past two years have brought unparalleled 22

demands on schools as learning communities worked tirelessly in determining how best to support student learning during the global pandemic. Despite these efforts, educators do not have to search long to see how the COVID-19 pandemic and associated loss of learning opportunities have impacted students throughout the nation.

respectively which have occurred during the pandemic. At the same time, a chorus of researchers and practitioners have highlighted the need for schools to address the social and emotional needs of students coming back from a period that has been associated with significant trauma for many. A study by Duckworth, Kautz, Defnet, Satlof-Bedrick, Talamas, Lira, & Steinberg (2021) evidences statistically significant decreases in well-being for 11th and 12th graders who had engaged in school remotely during the pandemic. This study joins many reports surfacing the emotional challenges which students face associated with the pandemic.

Recent studies have demonstrated the need for schools to support students both academically and emotionally as they deal with ongoing challenges associated with lost learning and social opportunities. A study by Halloran, Jack, Orun, and Oster (2021) evidences significant decreases in passing rates for students on state mathematics assessments in the aftermath of the pandemic and concludes that: “Our analyses demonstrate that virtual or distanced learning modes cannot support student learning in the same way as in-person schooling.” Importantly the study evidenced that such challenges were experienced at a greater level in schools that served larger numbers of students who were Black, Hispanic, or eligible for free and reduced lunch. A recent analysis by Goldhaber, Kane, and McEachin (2022) quantifies that it will take the equivalent of 14 and 19 weeks of additional instruction for students in grades 6 through 8 to cover losses in learning in reading and math

These realities have yielded a series of disparate and impassioned calls on the part of educators, policymakers, and the larger community to focus primarily on either the academic or social-emotional needs of students as we continue into the next phase of the pandemic. In too many communities, the debate has focused on whether to focus first on the emotional or academic needs of students—operating under the assumption that these two areas of the whole child require separate attention. All of this begs the question: what if social and emotional learning (SEL) actually supports the development of 23

Book Review (cont.) important habits requisite to academic success in a way that promotes demonstrable increases in student achievement? Into this discussion comes the important work of Lorea Martinez

to SEL becomes a commitment to ensuring that school communities meet the needs of the whole child—ensuring that each student concurrently develops emotionally, socially, and intellectually.

To Perez, authentic SEL programs speak to the larger school culture which has the power to transform the very nature of the school experience for students, educators, and other members of the community. The concept that SEL is a support rather than a distractor to efforts focused on student achievement is a vital one. And it has never been as important as today. Educators are faced with a policy environment that seeks to blame them for society’s ills rather than highlighting the unique ways in which our schools reflect both the successes and challenges of our communities. While I may wish that Perez had done more to describe the research which links SEL and student achievement, the focus of the volume is really upon providing teachers with actionable strategies which they can bring into classrooms and use with students. Teaching With the Heart in Mind offers specific skills to guide teachers as a map for supporting the emotional development of their students. These foundational strategies include:

Perez and Teaching with the Heart in Mind. Rather than conceptualizing SEL as one more thing that schools must take on in addition to student learning, Perez views SEL efforts as foundational in supporting increased levels of student achievement by reducing impediments to learning. To Perez, authentic SEL programs speak to the larger school culture which has the power to transform the very nature of the school experience for students, educators, and other members of the community. While teaching essential content of SEL is critical to the ability of educational communities to promote the wellness of students, a true commitment to SEL entails, according to Perez, “more than just a program or lesson; it is about considering how your school policies and your teaching practices support (or fail to support) students’ learning and growth, and making appropriate changes when needed.” In this sense, a commitment

• Honor Your Emotions • Elect Your Responses 24

omission does not detract from the importance of this volume and the hopeful message it offers today. We can and must focus on the development of the whole child—understanding that a focus on SEL will support concurrently the emotional and intellectual development of the students today’s schools serve.

• Apply Empathy • Reignite Your Relationships • Transform with Purpose The book offers clear guidance for ways in which educators can use these skills to transform their classrooms. These skills can also be applied to other settings like faculty meetings and parent conferences given that they are most impactful when integrated across roles in a learning community. Perez emphasizes how these skills can impact all elements of a school by emerging as a lens through which curriculum and school governance can be viewed and evaluated.

References Duckworth, A. L., Kautz, T., Defnet, A., Satlof-Bedrick, E., Talamas, S., Lira, B., & Steinberg, L. (2021). Students attending school remotely suffer socially, emotionally, and academically. Educational Researcher. Prepublished. doi. org/10.3102/0013189X211031551.

Perez also highlights the importance of self-care for educators who face so many challenges today: “When educators are able to be patient and compassionate with themselves and have strategies to reduce their stress, they are more likely to be present and available for their students.” Truer words have rarely been spoken.

Goldhaber, D., Kane, T. J., and McEachin, A. (2022) Analysis: Pandemic learning loss could cost U.S. students $2 trillion in lifetime earnings. What states & schools can do to avert this crisis. LA School Report. analysis-pandemic-learning-losscould-cost-u-s-students-2-trillionin-lifetime-earnings-what-statesschools-can-do-to-avert-this-crisis/

Teaching with the Heart in Mind is not a perfect book. It could be improved by providing additional resources to equip educators to confront the inevitable argument that time spent on SEL is time taken away from student learning. While such thinking is clearly flawed, it does impede the authentic implementation of SEL in too many schools. But that

Halloran, C., Jack, R.,Okun, J. &, and Oster, E. (2021). Pandemic Schooling Mode and Student Test Scores: Evidence 25

Dr. Peter Sullivan has served as a teacher and administrator in Illinois public schools for over 30 years. He currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent of the Will County Regional Office of Education. Dr. Sullivan also serves as an adjunct professor and dissertation advisor at the University of St. Francis where he earned his doctorate in educational leadership.

from US States. NBER Working Paper No. 29497. system/files/working_papers/ w29497/w29497.pdf. Perez, L. M. (2021). Teaching with the HEART in Mind: A Complete Educator’s Guide to Social Emotional Learning. Brisca Publishing.

ILASCD on Pinterest


Resource Corner

UNDERSTANDING A TEACHER’S LONG-TERM IMPACT Fostering skills like self-regulation does more to improve students’ future outcomes than helping them raise their test scores. READ MORE...

HOW TEACHERS CAN EXTEND THEIR INFLUENCE BEYOND THE CLASSROOM Choosing to get more involved in their community and beyond can pay dividends for educators and their students. READ MORE...

BUILDING COMMUNITY WITH RESTORATIVE CIRCLES A technique for proactively building the skills and relationships students will need when challenges arise. READ MORE...


Through the practice of these circles, my students and I can build deeper relationships through sharing, listening and having the experience of being heard. All through simple conversations but with a framework that allows for respect and safety. READ MORE... 27

Resource Corner (cont.)

A THREE STEP PROCESS TO IMPROVE SCHOOL CULTURE School leaders who want a culture of high expectations and trust for their school need to find time to commit to building such a culture starting with defining the why for the school in collaboration with staff. READ MORE...

How can we support the emotional well-being of teachers? Sydney Jensen WATCH

3 rules to spark learning Ramsey Musallam WATCH


Click HERE to learn more!

The Leading Equity Podcast focuses on supporting educators with the tools and resources necessary to ensure equity at their school.

Zaretta Hammond “Culturally Responsive Teaching” at the San Francisco Public Library WATCH


Resource Corner (cont.)

IMPROVING STUDENTS’ RELATIONSHIPS WITH TEACHERS TO PROVIDE ESSENTIAL SUPPORTS FOR LEARNING Solely improving students’ relationships with their teachers will not produce gains in achievement. However, those students who have close, positive and supportive relationships with their teachers will attain higher levels of achievement than those students with more conflict in their relationships. READ MORE...

CHANGING SCHOOL CULTURE BY WORKING TO CHANGE EXISTING BELIEFS ABOUT SCHOOLING The paradox is that many teachers think they are changing their practices, but they are not. The culture of the school influences what teachers do and how they teach. Galileo School, a charter school I founded, took the approach of changing school culture by working to change existing beliefs about schooling. These guiding principles, based on psychological theory and research, serve to create a climate of engagement and achievement, and may serve as a guide for other schools seeking to change their school culture. READ MORE...

BOOK SHELF Click the covers to see more on Amazon. 30

Click HERE to learn more!

14 SIGNS CHANGE IS HAPPENING AT YOUR SCHOOL ...after all the effort you pour into these new initiatives, it’s easy to feel like no one is listening, like nothing is evolving, like those positive results you imagined were just some forlorn dream. (Insert a big sigh here.) READ MORE... 31

Article The Unity and Individualism of Climate and Culture

Jasmine Gilliam As we start the new year, let’s start in truth: the climate and culture in many of our schools are crumbling. Students are reporting anxiety in response to the challenges of returning to in-person learning. Tensions between teachers and administrators are at an all time high. Teachers, like many other professions, are participating in what is being called the “Great Resignation,” exacerbating teacher shortages and stretching everyone thin. If climate and culture are the heartbeat of our schools, then many of us need openheart surgery. Unfortunately, while most educators would agree that climate and culture are key to a successful school, these terms are used to describe so many intangible things, from student behavior to staff morale, that it renders the terms almost meaningless. How can schools rally around terms that mean something different for each person? Before we can work to improve climate and culture, we need to be clear about what they are, and understand that they are not interchangeable. “Climate describes the shared perceptions of the people in a group or organization, while culture includes how people feel 32

In that moment, all of the relational trust we’d built—and the climate it created for me and others— was lost because that school lacked a culture of teacher leadership. These encounters built mutual respect and personal regard between me and my administration, so when I was nominated for Golden Apple Teacher of the Year I assumed it would be easy to get a recommendation from my school leaders. Yet my principal denied me a recommendation because I had no formal teacher leadership experience. In that moment, all of the relational trust we’d built—and the climate it created for me and others—was lost because that school lacked a culture of teacher leadership. There was no established pathway for teachers to take on leadership opportunities, and I had no path for professional growth because the school had no standards or expectations about how teachers could develop leadership skills. Without clear structures for growing into a leadership role at the school level—in other words, without an organizational culture supporting professional growth—ultimately the trusting climate I had felt was a mirage.

about the organization and the beliefs, values, and assumptions that provide the identity and set the standards of behavior” (Stolp & Smith, 1995). In simpler terms, climate deals with how people in a school feel, and culture is made up of all the structures that cause them to feel that way. To be successful in building and maintaining a healthy climate and culture, school leaders need to address both simultaneously. Climate Without Culture Virtually every school has explored the importance of relational trust. We know the power of trusting relationships with students, colleagues, and leaders in the building, and these individual relationships combine to create a climate of trust. One school I worked in held the concept of relational trust at its core. Administrators there took me under their wings: held 1-on-1’s about my long-term plans and future aspirations, gave me increased responsibility in the day to day operation of the school, offered lots of verbal and written praise, and selected me to represent my school in district level meetings.

Culture Without Climate After realizing I wouldn’t be able to pursue my teacher leadership goals 33

Climate and Culture (cont.) there, I transferred to a different school and applied for the Teach Plus Change Agent program, which provides training and coaching for teachers leading change efforts in schools. In my first year as a Change Agent, I resolved to build a culture that would provide my team with all the structures and pathways for growth that I myself hadn’t enjoyed. I created documents, spreadsheets, and slide decks full of jargon about how we would approach diverse learner education at our school. I felt really good about the clarity I’d provided, so I was surprised when I read mid-year feedback from my team: “It is too much. Everything is always new. I feel like I can’t get a grapple before she starts something else. Jasmine has great vision, but it is all too much.”

year, all I had was a bunch of documents and a bunch of blank stares from a clearly divested team. In focusing entirely on building structures to sustain group culture, I’d failed to spend the time on personal trust and relationships that I always did with students, and I’d been as ruinous to the team as my previous boss. I needed to be more intentional about learning my team members’ interests and passions, creating a climate of trust that would enable that lasting team culture to take hold. Culture and Climate Together Now, in my third year as a Teach Plus Change Agent, I am able to find a balance between culture and climate—most days. I’ve established routines to maintain relational trust, like dedicating the first 10 minutes of each coaching session I lead to relationship building, and I work to develop a true partnership with each team member as we work toward

Relationships had always been second nature for me in the classroom. In this new role, though, people trusted the

The authentic partnerships we’ve built have created a trusting climate, which enables us to work together to create a strong and lasting team culture that sustains trust. vision but didn’t necessarily trust me to lead the process, because I was so focused on ensuring that every structure was written out in detail that I took that trust for granted. Halfway through the

shared goals. I still have my hoard of documents outlining a vision for change and procedures for our team, but now those documents are just the foundation of what we are creating together. When 34

whether cultural factors are sustaining that climate or threatening it; if the

challenges arise, we use the structures we’ve established to solve them

...great teachers look for schools with strong and equitable cultures and great climates. climate is unhealthy, leaders must prioritize restoring trust at the same time as they examine ways to improve structures that will sustain it.

together. The authentic partnerships we’ve built have created a trusting climate, which enables us to work together to create a strong and lasting team culture that sustains trust.

No leader can do that alone. Because a building’s climate is made up of individual perceptions, and cultural structures affect different individuals in different ways, leaders can only understand them well by hearing from a wide group of stakeholders. To ensure a diversity of viewpoints, they should establish a committee of key stakeholders to monitor both culture and climate. An effective climate and culture team can help a school weather outside factors from Covid-19 to increased testing, and from sustaining BIPOC educators to promoting inclusive education practices for all students.

Moving Forward: Culture and Climate as Dual Priorities Right now, schools know teachers are struggling, and many acknowledge the underlying external reasons for that. However, while some of the issues we face can’t be helped, there’s still a lot we can do to build the culture and climate of our schools. Team swag, jeans days, gift cards, and donuts are just band-aids; what we really need are lasting changes to the culture of schools that maintain the goodwill and trust that small gifts can’t sustain. Moving forward, school leaders have to understand how culture and climate operate individually, yet simultaneously, and treat culture and climate as two equally important priorities. To do that, leaders should first examine the culture and climate of their buildings separately and from multiple perspectives. If the climate is healthy, leaders can examine

Gathering and empowering the right team to be intentional about building climate and culture is a critical priority for school leaders now, and not just to alleviate stress or make people feel good. Maintaining culture and climate simultaneously is heavy, especially in today’s environment. It’s especially 35

Climate and Culture (cont.) Jasmine Gilliam from Chicago, Illinois, is a teacher-leader in Chicago Public Schools and a Teach Plus Change Agent. She earned a Master’s Degree in educational psychology at the University of WisconsinMadison and bachelor’s degrees in inclusive special education, and political science at Syracuse University. Jasmine is interested in how inclusive community schools can lead the charge in building an equitable education system. Jasmine was nominated for Golden Apple Teacher of the Year, CPS’ Transformative Teacher Cohort, and is a Cahn Fellows Ally. She currently serves as the Director of Student Support at King Academy of Social Justice.

critical today as so many schools face staffing shortages, because great teachers look for schools with strong and equitable cultures and great climates. Those schools have a much better chance of not only attracting and retaining great teachers, but empowering them to do more for students and display their own gifts. Success for students starts with ensuring that both the climates and cultures of our schools are understood, monitored, and strengthened.


Article 5 Ways School Culture Can Shine During the Hiring and Onboarding Process

Paula Jablonski, M.Ed

Culture and climate don’t announce themselves with a megaphone or a giant fireworks display. They’re not the “Heroes work here!” banner on the front of the building, or the fancy welcome doormats. Culture and climate can be felt by anyone walking through a school’s hall. They live in the way our team members talk about who they are and what they do. They grow with each interaction with students, with visitors, and with each other. Positive and supportive school culture is built slowly and carefully. It needs to be cultivated and nurtured—and it starts long before a new teammate walks into their first day of school. With carefully crafted interviews and purposeful onboarding strategies, we can ensure that our newest teammates will both embrace and enhance our school’s culture. #1: The Questions We Ask, Part 1: Interview show and tell Interviews are as much about helping candidates envision their place in our schools as they are about finding the right person for the position. By tailoring the 37

Hiring and Onboarding Process (cont.) #2: Our Welcome Deck: Not your average slideshow After our newest teammates accept their positions, I send out a personalized welcome email with a link to a “Welcome to our Team” slide deck. We know they’ll get all the pertinent pieces from their HR orientation and paperwork blizzard. So, the slides are a mix of things we want to make sure our new folks know before they walk in the door and the things we think they want to know, presented in a fun and informal way.

questions to reflect what’s important to our program, we also communicate our priorities and learn whether our candidates are a good match. We ask interviewees to talk about how they might address a conflict with a peer, so we can talk about our values of teamwork and open communication. We ask what they value in a supervisor, to make sure that our leadership styles match their learning styles. We ask candidates to tell us about the last thing they read that had an impact on them, so they know that we prioritize ongoing learning. The interview becomes a

The slides include our mission and philosophy, videos of students and team members, and links to our social media

At its core, it communicates warmth and transparency and hopefully continues to build connections with our newest teammate. conversation that allows us to learn from each other.

pages. We include names and faces of important people in the building and first-day expectations. We also walk new hires through some basic to-dos to get the ball rolling, including signing up for our school-wide team text updates, and sending me a text so I know we have each others’ numbers.

Over the last several years, our school leadership team has carefully and deliberately cultivated a school culture and climate that emphasize teamwork and support, value diverse perspectives, and support personal and professional growth—and we make sure our interview questions, and the rest of our onboarding process, communicate that.

What does all this tell our newest team members? Hopefully, it conveys our values, our culture, and our program 38

personality. It communicates our shared excitement about their new adventure and helps to put them at ease as their first day approaches. It tells them what we expect from them, but also what they can expect from us. At its core, it communicates warmth and transparency and hopefully continues to build connections with our newest teammate.

Our new hires and seasoned veterans complete this survey each year, since preferences (and t-shirt sizes!) may change over time. I share everyone’s responses, minus anything they might indicate as private, with our school leadership team, so that we can build support and encouragement from multiple directions.

#3: The Questions We Ask, Part 2: All About You One of the things that new hires will find in those Welcome Slides is a link to our “All About You” survey. It’s a quick Google form that gives us a chance to learn a little more about our new teammates, and what’s important to them. It also tells them what’s important to us. Some of our prompts include:

#4: Two-Four-Six-Eight: How do we appreciate? The last, and arguably the most important, questions on the All About You survey, help me to understand the ways our team members most feel appreciated. Based on The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace (Chapman and White, 2019), I ask them to rank their preference for each Appreciation Language using a five-point scale (Absolutely, Sometimes, Neutral, Not my favorite, Not at all).

• Favorite sweet and salty snacks, coffee/ tea order, allergies, and diet restrictions - This gives us plenty of options to tailor midyear pick-me-ups. • T-Shirt size - Everyone loves school swag, especially in their first week at a new place!

Click to view on Amazon.

• Preferred name/nickname - I’ll call you whatever you want to be called, as long as it’s school-appropriate.

Why is this important to me? When I first read The 5 Languages, I was floored. I realized that if I wasn’t showing my team appreciation in the way they best received it, it might not even be received at all. By understanding

• Pronouns - Diversity, inclusion, and respect are valued strongly across our programs, and this is a clear way that we can continue to communicate that. 39

Hiring and Onboarding Process (cont.) the way my team members best accept appreciation, I can make sure that I’m doing all I can to help them feel supported.

the interview was even complete. Instead, they’re reasonably qualified candidates for the position, they show some potential, they’re available—and we have spots to fill.

Meanwhile, the fact that I’m even asking the question demonstrates our desire to support and strengthen our team members in the ways that they need. It communicates the value of support for each other that we nurture within our school culture and climate.

Here’s the thing: I can count on one hand the number of times those “maybe” candidates have surprised me with a strength and passion we had somehow missed in the interview. More often, they’re not quite the right fit, and that affects everyone from the admin team to their teaching peers and classroom paraprofessionals. That not-quite-right fit can be exhausting

#5: One last thought: It’s worth the wait. In the current landscape of COVID spikes, adaptive pauses, and labor

It’s worth the wait to find someone who believes in what we do, who embraces our mission, who is passionate about our students, and who will help push us to be better. shortages some leaders are facing lists of openings longer than ever before. Over the years, we’ve often found ourselves in the position of desperately needing to fill a spot on the roster, period. It’s in these moments, that the “maybes” of the interview piles are most tempting. They’re not the amazing candidates who jumped off the page and into our offices or across our computer screens, and who was practically hired before

and disheartening, and can negatively influence the team’s morale and the building’s overall atmosphere. Holding an open position on the roster has its disadvantages, to be sure. But it’s worth the wait to find the right candidate. It’s worth the wait to find someone who believes in what we do, who embraces our mission, who is passionate about our students, and who will help push us to be better. It’s 40

Dr. Paula Jablonski, M.Ed, is the proud principal of PACTT Learning Center, a nonpublic special education program in Chicago for students with autism. The best part of her job is working and learning alongside an incredible group of passionate, dedicated, and supportive educators. When she’s not working, she’s probably dreaming about her next travel adventure.

worth the wait to find someone who will positively contribute to our team and values, and whose presence will strengthen our culture and climate. From the initial interviews to a new hire’s onboarding and the first day of employment, school leaders have opportunities to embed school culture into each interaction with new team members. When we purposefully choose to weave our school culture into the hiring and onboarding process, it drives us to bring the strongest candidates into our buildings and choose the best people for our students, teams, and schools.


Article #teacherburnout - Voices from the Front Lines

Laura Ferrell

91% According to a recently published EdWeek Research Center article summarizing the state of affairs in the teaching profession, this figure is the percentage of educators who report experiencing job-related stress. The research also articulates what teachers feel they need to counteract this stress and what administrators plan to do about it. The data further reveals that these two metrics are at odds, while well-meaning administrators may not be implementing the type of practices that alleviate stressors. This data set, along with a host of others, outline a steadily growing pandemic in its own right—teacher burnout. Staff shortage issues across Illinois and the nation are a regular part of the news cycle as districts scramble in a daily dance of classroom coverage. Tack on increased discipline issues, learning loss and Covid variants, and a recipe exists for a mass exodus from the teaching profession. A recent post by NPR cites these “layers of stress” as forcing some educators into crisis. In the article, Peter ​​ Faustino, a school psychologist based in New York is quoted, “We’re seeing, I think the effect of the pandemic and all of those issues really now in the forefront of our work, where students and families are really saying, ‘I can’t keep going like this. I need help.’” 42

help to care for the mind and body, yet various tweets remark that while educators understand the importance of these strategies, finding the time to complete them while balancing responsibilities in and outside the classroom is near impossible.

While research studies paint one part of the portrait, Twitter has long been an open forum for folks in any profession to unabashedly share their realities and educators are no exception. In combing through tweets related to the hashtag #teacherburnout, themes emerge, namely self-care, time and leadership. Can Twitter hashtags provide insight into the current state of school culture and what teachers on the front lines really need to remain in the profession and reinvigorate their practice?

Tweeter @PamHall2Inspire, educator and author, notes that self-care should be a “systematic habit” rather than just one more thing to do. Exploring the hashtag #teacherselfcare, one finds a sampling of educators reminding each other to step outside, take the mask off and renew their mindsets, if only for a few minutes.

Self-Care One thing is abundantly clear: self-care advice is plentiful as a potential remedy for teacher burnout. A good number of the most popular tweets offer links to blog topics, planning guides and even products intended to build resilience and relaxation.

Tweeter @metaxas_ari, teacher in Florida tweets, “Teachers if you are not taking your mask off for 8 hours every day, like me, please step outside for regular mask off/oxygen ‘minute’ breaks. I am reminding you to remind myself! #TeacherSelfCare”

@SLPinthebigCITY, a Speech Language Pathologist in the Bronx tweets: “The craziest thing is when all you’ve needed is a break but then you’re checking your work email nervously as if you can’t allow yourself to have a break??”

Time Several tweeters report the need for more planning time. An article posted by The Hechinger Report discusses how one school district in New Mexico reimagined professional development days to include time for physical exercise and smoothies. While all school districts may not have the resources to achieve such a shift, where can time be

While several users remark on the importance of self-care, many feel that the quantity and quality of these experiences are limited or unfulfilling. Reading, journaling, arts and crafts and exercise are all noted experiences that 43

#teacherburnout (cont.)

“...schools need to acknowledge their role in the problem and put in place the structures, practices, and time for self-care, reflection, and general wellbeing among educators, school staff, and the leaders themselves.” This is a tall but necessary order... provided to educators where it did not exist before? Further, how can leaders reimagine the time traditionally allocated for development to include experiences that could better attend to current professional need?

Other educators take a tweeting opportunity to celebrate when districts provide time for preparation, thus creating a feeling of preparedness. Tweeter @GCHSMrsDavis remarks, “Thank you @bcsdschools for a work day today! I was super productive and am ready to meet my new students tomorrow. That also means I can enjoy my evening stress free with cozy socks & pjs…”

@ReadWriteChai tweets: “This sem. of teaching has been the longest ever. I’m not ready to go back. I’m still exhausted, even after almost 2 weeks off. Desperately trying to figure out a way to include movement & writing in my day-to-day but even thinking about it all overwhelms me.”

Leadership @MariMagdalenna tweets, “What makes it worse, we are asking for help for our own mental well being…and it seems like no one is even listening.” Other tweeted pleas for leaders to listen exist, especially when surveys are distributed to teachers and seemingly ignored.

@SDoanut, Assistant Professor of Technical Communication at Kennesaw State tweets, “Anyone else spending their break trying to store as much rest as possible for the semester like a burnout camel?” This particular tweet received over 9,000 likes.

To combat this, Sarah Gonser, writer for Edutopia points out that schools themselves should be responsible for helping teachers alleviate stress. She writes, “...schools need to acknowledge their role in the problem and put in place the structures, practices, and time for self-care, reflection, and general well-

Multiple tweeters report feelings of guilt in taking time off while others remark that it is difficult to leave their classrooms due to substitute shortages. 44

being among educators, school staff, and the leaders themselves.” This is a tall but necessary order to regain a sense of motivation and accomplishment.

anything that brings you down. Greet your students with your big smile and make today terrific!” Lastly, perhaps @headofsixthform, educator in South East, England, summarizes best: “Tired. Feel like I’m not winning. But tomorrow is another day and I shall get up and say ‘I can sail this ship!’ And we will start again.”

@sofiageorgelos, Social Studies teacher tweets, “Continue to focus on the positives and the progress we (Ts & Ss) are making, especially when it comes to teacher evaluations.” @drmattparker, educator, tweets: ”I’ve been seeing lots of posts about teacher burnout (or at least being over-stressed/ over-worked/emotionally exhausted). It occurred to me that the phrase ‘teacher burnout’ blames the teacher. I feel like people are experiencing ‘systems burnout’. #teacherburnout”

References Davis, W., Chang, A., Zamora, K., & Dorning, C. (2021, December 23). Teachers thought 2021 would be better. instead, some say it’s their toughest year yet. NPR. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from https://www. teachers-pandemic-schoolclassroom-return-to-in-personlearning

Turning the Tide While the current tone in education may be troublesome, educators remain resilient. A review of the #teachertwitter hashtag reveals the following thoughts from educators who persevere even during troubled times: @MissBattick, an educator from Birmingham, UK tweets, “I’ve decided this term that if it isn’t done by 9pm, it will just have to wait. Time to take control of this work-life balance!”

Gonser, S. (2021, February 11). Schools, not teachers, must reduce stress and burnout-here’s how. Edutopia. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from schools-not-teachers-must-reducestress-and-burnout-heres-how

@MrsOTeachesK, educator in Minnesota remarks, “Tuesday…let’s triumph today. Push aside the tiredness, frustrations, and 45

Dr. Laura Ferrell is an assistant professorial lecturer at Saint Xavier University (SXU) in Chicago. She received her BA in Elementary Education from Loyola University Chicago (Go Ramblers!), her MA in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago (Go Cougars!) and her EdD from University of St. Francis (Go Saints!). Her area of focus during her doctoral studies was the impact of adaptive learning platforms on student growth. A self-proclaimed nerd since her youth, her current research interests include how technology can influence the way people learn and what role curiosity can play in American classrooms. Go White Sox!

Melhado, W. (2021, November 23). Teacher wellness should probably be a school district priority. The Hechinger Report. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from with-teacher-wellness-hangingby-a-thread-one-district-trieswalking-and-smoothies/ Will, M. (2021, December 24). The Teaching Profession in 2021 (in charts). Education Week. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from https://www. the-teaching-profession-in2021-in-charts/2021/12?utm_ source=tw&utm_ medium=soc&utm_campaign=edit


IL ASCD Area Representatives In 2014 when IL ASCD reorganized our leadership team, the role of Area Representative was created. Our “Area Reps” as we call them are a link to and from the various regions of our state. IL ASCD follows the same areas established by the Regional Offices of Education. Our Area Reps are led by two members of our IL ASCD Board of Directors, Denise Makowski and Andrew Lobdell. Scott and Andrew are the Co-Leaders of our Membership and Partnerships Focus Area.

Denise Makowski Chicago 773.535.7252

Andrew Lobdell

Principal of the Junior High School in the Lena - Winslow School District # 202 815.369.3116

Current Area Reps AREA 1: (Green)


2: 3: 4: 5: 6:

Chicago North Cook South Cook (Dark Blue) (Yellow) (Pink) (Light Blue) (Gold)

April Jordan Jennie Winters Josh Barron Chad Dougherty Heather Bowman Kelly Glennon Annette Hartlieb Clarence Gross

Contact information for them can be found HERE.

The roles of the IL ASCD Area Representatives are: •

Encouraging IL ASCD membership to educators in their local areas;

Assisting with professional development;

Attend board meetings and the annual leadership retreat, when possible;

Disseminating information from IL ASCD board meetings or other sanctioned IL ASCD activities to local school districts or other regional members

Being a two-way communication vehicle between the local IL ASCD members regarding IL ASCD or any educational issues.

Keeping IL ASCD Board of Directors apprised of pertinent information regarding personnel issues (e.g., job vacancies, job promotions) and district program awards/recognition within the local area.

Communicating regularly with IL ASCD Executive Director and the Co-Leaders of the Membership and Partnerships Focus Area.

Article Creating Intentional Interactions

Dr. Allison Slade

After two years of separation, I brought my daughters (age 10 and 12) to see their grandparents in Florida over winter vacation. My mother-in-law commented on the day we were leaving, “We had a great time, but they haven’t even given me a hug!” This comment caused me to reflect on the changes we’ve all endured throughout the last two years of the pandemic, and how our cultural interactions—big and small—have changed, possibly forever, both at home and in schools. In schools, a culture will be strong or weak depending not on singular actions, but on the way people interact with one another every single day. These interactions

Unfortunately, our focus on surviving, rather than thriving during this unthinkable time of challenge has created schools (and sometimes homes and extended families) that lack the joy, stability and perseverance that define achieving school communities. layer on top of one another every hour, every day, every week and every year co-workers of all types—teachers, paraprofessionals, lunchroom staff, secretaries and 48

building engineers just to name a few— engage in. As we navigate through a pandemic that has lasted longer than all of us anticipated, in schools (and out of schools), we need to create intentional interactions that are new and different but that create the strong culture of interdependence and connection to and among colleagues. These intentional interactions are the key to the creation of a strong school culture (and they can work at home with your friends and extended family too!)—especially during this different and often difficult time for all—adults and students alike.

Layering on top of this challenge is the non-stop barrage of information regarding the mass exodus of individuals from the educational workforce. Teachers, paraprofessionals, principals, bus drivers, lunchroom staff and more all all leaving school communities in droves—citing stress, anxiety and a desire for more time at home. Public schools in Illinois have 4,120 unfilled teaching positions (2021), more than double the number from 2017, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. This challenge is even more dire for lower wage school based workers including bus drivers and teacher’s assistants. But what if the real driver of this diaspora is the elimination of the supportive communities that once defined successful schools? Those intentional interactions day after day, week after week, year after year, have departed and been replaced with new rules about cleaning and distancing and a hyper sensitivity to the runny noses we wake up to as each season changes. And, as many depart suddenly from our school communities, they are replaced with many new to the profession, without historical context and experience in how to create these flourishing workplaces for adults and students. Unfortunately, our focus on surviving, rather than thriving during this unthinkable time of challenge has created schools (and sometimes

Michelangelo once said, “To touch is to give life.” In schools, morning hugs, handshakes, high fives and more have been turned in for fist bumps and airwaves. These daily interactions have changed in ways that impact the brain and body significantly—the oxytocin once released by these short but daily touches which helped signal and engender collaboration and compassion have been eliminated. What once stabilized us through actions that created feelings of trust has been replaced by masks which are often a symbol of the fear and anxiety. And we all have less time—less time to be together to create these intentional interactions which build the collaborative communities that help our students thrive. 49

Creating Intentional Interactions (cont.) students and staff help provide the same type of oxytocin generating happiness that helps students and staff collaborate. As a school leader, I started asking students to submit their best jokes into a box outside the office and would pick 1 or 2 each day to be read after the announcements to start our day with laughter! In our staff lounge, we created a “Wall of Laughter” where staff shared jokes, funny memes and stories on post

homes and extended families) that lack the joy, stability and perseverance that define achieving school communities. So, what can we do to address this challenge of growing complexity in schools? We need to think of and implement new ways of connecting and creating the cohesive, overlapping and repeated interactions that created the strong, supportive and collaborative

Start school based rituals where you can learn about your fellow peers while not being in one location... cultures of the past, but acknowledge that in a changed world, these rituals need to look and sound distinct from earlier times. Working at home, lack of child care or transportation, and new ways of thinking about time are forcing school communities to behave differently. Our actions as school leaders, teachers and students need to reflect these changing needs while still creating opportunities for connection, albeit in differing ways. Below are some ways I’ve begun to think about and integrate to build the type of trusting and supportive communities that support learning at the deepest levels for adults and students.

it notes and we utilized a “give one”/”get one” to exchange and share in laughter. Connect (and virtually isn’t the same!): The challenges posed by gatherings— even of the entire staff together or of whole grade levels—have limited the social interactions where we get to learn about one another, connect in meaningful ways and develop empathy for one another. Start school based rituals where you can learn about your fellow peers while not being in one location: have a question of the day or week and a white board outside each person’s classroom where they have to write their answer, or a see through sheet protector where they can place their answers. Questions can range

Laugh: Finding intentional ways to integrate laughter—every day!—for 50

solutions to each other helps create an atmosphere of trust and safety.

from personal to professional and you can encourage peers to use post its to place comments, connections and recommendations on their answers. When you are on the screen and doing meetings and activities virtually, break out rooms are great, but in general, people are districted with other things going on in their environments, even if they are in their classrooms. Connecting in person, even if not “personally” is critical to the building and sustaining of a strong community!

Music: Listening to music always helps lift a mood. Pick a song of the week for your class or school and listen to it during passing periods, during the stressful arrival or dismissal time and in the cafeteria during lunch. Then, hold a “sing off” where classes video themselves doing their versions of the song and put them on your school you tube channel. Watch other classes versions and give them props! A 2015 study (Keeler, et.all, 2015) discussed neurochemistry and the flow of oxytocin. The study found that while all types of music impacted cooperative behaviors, improvised music had the largest impact! The study authors suggest this happened because an improvised performance calls for strong social behaviors such as cooperation, trust, and communication. As a University Professor, I have used music playing in our room as students arrive—whether in person or on zoom!

Hold Space & Listen: Teaching adults and children alike how to really listen— utilizing eye contact and repeating and rephrasing what has been said is validating and makes others feel seen and heard. In an era where time has been tight and really being validated has been limited at best, simply paying attention while others are talking or sharing is not enough. Listening without judgement includes ensuring that the focus is on the speaker, and that the listener doesn’t take it as an opportunity to directly share or connect about themselves, which eliminates the feeling of being seen. Finding time in class to allow your students to connect, share and listen only to each other without distraction can increase their attentiveness during other parts of class time. Ensuring that as school leaders, we find time for staff to listen without offering guidance or

Trying New Things: Sounds easy but really it’s not! When we try new things, we lower our guard down and open ourselves up to vulnerability. This is true for adults and kids. As a teacher, you can find something none of your students have done—a step by step drawing or adventure experience of some kind you can all experience together, for the first 51

time, or as a school leader, finding ways to create these experiences for your teachers. Trying something new together builds significant trust muscles—the base of the building blocks for a deep and sustaining school culture. This also helps integrate new staff (or students) into your environment—it puts everyone on a level playing filed together, increasing their willingness to collaborate and rely on one another.

Vol 9. 2015; p. 518. DOI=10.3389/ fnhum.2015.00518

Allison Slade, Ed.D. is an educational innovator whose disruption of the educational status quo is exemplified in her founding of Namaste Charter School in Chicago, IL. After 14 years as a school leader in the city and suburbs, she has moved to impact future leaders as the Director of Instructional Leadership at Roosevelt University, where she is redesigning the Principal Preparation program to create a new view of the principalship in PK-12 education, specifically integrating and challenging school and teacher leaders to become emotionally intelligent educators, and grow emotionally safe and intentional spaces for students.

While a hug, and even a pat on the back might seem like a far away option for us in schools now, we need to find ways to rebuild the connection between one another in order through intentional interactions to create high trust, high success cultures in our school environments. Now, to find a way to replicate this feeling with my mother-inlaw might be another story...

Over the past 20+ years, Dr. Slade has served as a teacher at the primary level, professional developer, school leader, mentor and curriculum designer in urban and suburban settings. She is a certified teacher, principal and superintendent in Chicago and in addition to her work at Roosevelt, she serves as a consultant doing projects that span from teacher and principal professional development to organizational leadership, management and change. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, and her two spirited, dancing daughters.

References Illinois State Board of Education (2021) unfilledpositions Keeler Jason, Roth Edward, Neuser Brittany, Spitsbergen John, Waters Daniel, Vianney John-Mary. The neurochemistry and social flow of singing: bonding and oxytocin in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 52

Article Starting with Heart: How Equity Leaders Cultivate Culture from the First Day on the Job

Adam ParrottSheffer

Rodney Thomas

New leaders are entering their role at a time when their ability to transform culture and advance equity is missioncritical to improving learning outcomes for all students. However, these leaders face the reality that the first few months on the job are when they have the least trust “banked” to enact change (Jentz, 2008). We have coached leaders over the past decade as they start new roles to be able to hit the ground learning during their entry period to advance equity for all students. These leaders have taught us several ways in which, by starting with care, the foundation for change can begin on the first day of the job. Effective equity leaders who work within new roles do many of the same things. They build successful structures for listening, communicating values and decisions, and the delivery of quick wins to shift culture. These actions lead to what Tony Bryk and Barbara Schneider (2002) define as a relational trust or “an interrelated set of mutual dependencies embedded within the social exchanges in any school community.” It is through these actions that leaders can start to make deposits in their “trust bank” by demonstrating respect and personal regard for those they lead, with competence and integrity in how they lead. 53

Starting with Heart (cont.) Trust is what provides a leader legitimacy. New leaders, and especially new leaders whose identity differs from the community they serve, must attend to the three levels of culture, developed by Zaretta Hammond in her book Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, to acquire that legitimacy with specific attention to shallow culture (2014). Trust across difference is built by how the leader learns the unspoken rules of shallow culture and respects the culture by mirroring members’

one. New leaders begin to shift culture by understanding themselves as leaders, by being transparent about their learning, and by creating the conditions for trust through authentic engagement. Understand Self: Share your core values connected to equity Equity-focused leaders take the opportunity to reflect on and share aspects of their identity in relation to the community and organizations they serve. This requires that leaders do

New leaders begin to shift culture by understanding themselves as leaders, by being transparent about their learning, and by creating the conditions for trust through authentic engagement. the deep work of examining individual beliefs that influence how they see and understand their context. Equity leaders do this by identifying and communicating their core values.

concepts of time, ways of handling emotion, nature of relationships, and tempo of work. Leaders can develop a bi-cultural lens when building trust by honoring the differing ways of showing trustworthiness across differences. This happens by learning and demonstrating the small non-verbal actions that either build trust or erode it.

• Develop your core values. Reflect on your core values in relation to equity and identify two to five that demonstrate what the organization and/or community can expect of you. What set of beliefs influence who you are as a leader for equity? Which aspects of these beliefs are a source of strength in your work toward equity?

Through our conversations with leaders and our own experiences, we have learned several strategies that new leaders can use to build trust and engage at multiple levels of culture from day 54

How you respond as a learner to what you do not know can allow others to also be transparent learners. • Communicate your core values to your new team, organization, or community. Include your explicit focus on equity and what that word means for you. Prepare to talk about race, racism, and racial equity from the start. If the organization already has value statements that align with your own, feel free to demonstrate that alignment. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to articulate your own.

expectations by doing the work and it provides permission for everyone to be a learner. Doing the work will expose what you know and what you do not know. How you respond as a learner to what you do not know can allow others to also be transparent learners. Doing the core work of your organization is the best for in-depth understanding, and there are few things as powerful, as building a culture of transparency as a shared experience. We suggest a few actions leaders can use in leveraging respect, personal regard, competence, and integrity, modeling a learner during entry.

As a new leader, it is important for the people you work with and serve to know the principles that drive you. Core values, in our experience, are not just words on paper, but touchstones that help guide our decision-making, especially when faced with the toughest decisions where the answers are unclear. By expressing your commitment to equity from the start, people will know where you stand and can hold you accountable to your word. This builds integrity and shifts culture.

• Actively meet with direct reports, colleagues, and community members through empathy interviews. Share in advance the questions you will have for them and work to understand the perspectives of those closest to the challenges within the organization. Communicate a call to action that is driven by the voices of those you interviewed and invite them into the process of problem-solving.

Be Transparent: Engage in the work and model being a learner Equity-focused leaders demonstrate their commitment to equity by rolling up their sleeves and working alongside those they lead. This helps them communicate their

• Seek out opportunities to demonstrate your competence within your area of expertise. Teach a course. Co-plan a meeting with a 55

Starting with Heart (cont.) cabinet member. Ask for feedback on your practice.

you have a plan for retirements or transitions that happen early in your role as you likely will not know the people well but will be responsible for honoring their work.

• During your entry into the role, make your action plan public and create intentional feedback loops for accountability. Communicate key entry milestones and publicly highlight successes, challenges, and next steps.

Whatever actions you take, make sure they are authentic and will land well within your community context. If your heart is not in it, it will not have the impact you intend. What matters is privileging the needs and experiences of others. Our schools need leaders committed to the work of systemic change and to dismantling a culture that currently replicates inequity. Entry is a time when leaders can take steps to engage with these elements of culture that have an intense emotional impact on trust. Developing deep connections early on through the strategies above will determine the degree and the speed of change that a leader can mobilize.

Build Trust: Authentically connect with others Zaretta Hammond’s trust builders for culturally responsive teachers can also be a helpful guide for new leaders seeking to build trust and change culture (2014). These include proximity, familiarity, selective vulnerability, the similarity of interest, concern, and competence. Leaders can adapt these strategies to their entry period by doing some of the following things. • Walk the neighborhood or take public transportation when possible. Enlist a realtor to give a tour of the community.

School leaders are confronting faculty shortages, low morale, constantly evolving expectations, and the return to schools as the site of culture wars. Before the pandemic began, 50% of school leaders nationally were not retained beyond their third year (School Leader Network, 2014) and this trend has only worsened over the past few years. A difficult job has become even more challenging. Our schools need even more leaders who enter with empathy

• Tell stories about yourself as a learner, defining times you struggled, demonstrating selective vulnerability. This can push on perfectionist cultures, modeling what it may look like to be a learning organization. • Enter birthdays into your calendar and send emails or handwritten notes to show care and concern. Ensure 56


and a commitment to ensuring school works for everyone. The entry tools in this article can help leaders as they create spaces for healing without sacrificing learning—especially for those at the margins of the system.

Bryk, A. & Schneider, B. (2002), Trust in schools: A core resource for improvement. Russell Sage Foundation. Hammond, Z. (2014) Culturally responsive teaching and the brain: Promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students. Corwin Press.

As you begin your role and are learning as much as you can, remember that those you lead are trying to learn as well. They are asking themselves:

• Will you see me?

Jentz, B. & Wofford, J. (2012) Entry: How to Begin a Leadership Position Successfully. Leadership and Learning Inc.

• Will you do your job well so that I can do mine?

School Leader Network (2014) Churn: The High Cost of Principal Turnover.

• Will you listen to me?

• Will you keep your word? Parrott-Sheffer and Thomas have experiences as award-winning school, district, and nonprofit leaders in Illinois. They have each spent the past decade supporting leaders with job entry, coaching, strategy implementation, and advancing racial equity. Along with Dr. Jennifer Cheatham, they are co-authors of a forthcoming book on leadership entry to be published in 2022 by Harvard Education Press. They can be reached via Twitter @ adameduc8 and @rodneythomas311.

One of your most important goals as a new leader is to act in a way that has everyone answer those questions with a resounding yes!


Article Architect to Happiness

Natalie Franzi Dougherty

Dr. Amy MacCrindle

Introduction The pandemic has taken a toll on educators across the country, leaving many questioning the decision to walk into the classroom each day. Unhappiness leads to negative attitudes that seep under the cracks and impact the work that is going on. This leads to an environment where staff members do not feel supported enough to take risks and adapt. This is especially important in schools where student needs are constantly changing and educators must creatively adjust in order to do what is best for students. At the root of educator happiness is a sense of efficacy. Efficacy is felt at an individual and group level. Teacher efficacy can be defined as, “The extent to which teachers believe that they have the capacity to affect student performance” (Gusky, 2021). Collective efficacy can be defined as “a group’s shared belief in its conjoint capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce at given levels of attainment” (Bandura, 1997, p.477). If we put those two ideas together, we have collective teacher efficacy which is, “the perception of a school’s faculty as a whole will have a positive effect on students” (Goddard, Hoy, & Woolfok, 2000). Dr. John Hattie, expands the definition of collective teacher efficacy to teachers working together to a common goal (Hattie, 2018). In his study, he found that 58

collective teacher efficacy was 15% more influential in student success than self-reported grades, and almost 67% more influential on student success than socio-economic status. This means that an educator’s perception of their role and ability to make a positive impact on students as a whole directly correlates to student success. THIS is why HAPPINESS DOES MATTER and highlights why leaders should create an environment where happiness thrives.

success requires a commitment to the practices of inclusion” (Heath & Wensil 2019). One way to do this is to establish norms for meetings and committee work. This helps to establish protocols that value equity by promoting every voice in the process. Below are norms that Natalie has used for meetings adapted from Student Achievement Partners:

This can occur by leaders focusing on three key steps:

2. Listen with the intent to understand. Participate actively and ask questions for clarification.

1. Be present and prompt. Time is our most valuable asset.

Building Trust “Setting a diverse workforce up for

3. Focus and take accountability for

Figure 1: John Hattie’s Visible Learning Effect Sizes


Architect to Happiness (cont.) your work and role in this project and your own learning.

Building a Coalition of the Willing John Maxwell states, “Leaders become great not because of their power but because of their ability to empower others.” Student success cannot occur without the entire team working together. When a leader is willing to give up “control” over making all decisions and shift the decision making power to those who are closest to the situation, empowerment occurs. Empowered teachers are more likely to take on any situation with a “make it happen”

4. Create a safe place to air confusion and ask questions; share your ideas and encourage others to do the same. 5. Support ideas with evidence. Recently, Natalie tackled overhauling reading assessments with a team of teachers in her district. The work brought an array of emotions and opinions. In staying in alignment with norm number

Empowered teachers are more likely to take on any situation with a “make it happen” attitude and begin to take initiative in creating their own solutions to problems. attitude and begin to take initiative in creating their own solutions to problems. That empowerment begins to build that coalition of the willing.

five, participants framed their responses in a statement, evidence, and analysis format, which removed emotions and implicit biases that committee members may have by grounding the conversation in evidence. This process helped staff to think about their comments, and provided the language to ask questions that did not feel like a personal attack. This was especially helpful as committee members discussed the pros and cons of different assessments that were being investigated. Critical conversations are uncomfortable and are best tackled in an environment where every participant feels safe.

Michael Watkins shares specific steps when it comes to building that coalition: 1. Gain Allies. By focusing on gaining allies who support the idea or process, you are better able to build momentum. This allows you to…. 2. Recruit Others. The more people that you have supporting the initiative, the more likely you are to have success. This then…. 60

3. Strengthen Your Resource Base. People can be one of the most important and valuable resources. The more people you have in your corner allows you to help turn those who are on the fence into supports before they become opponents.

to support this change, recruit others outside the team to support this as well, and now there is a strong team of teachers who are willing to make the change. This coalition of the willing know this will be a heavy lift for teachers, because it is what is best for students, there is commitment to the cause. When a coalition of the willing feels empowered, change occurs.

These three steps together help you ensure success. Amy has seen the power in a coalition of the willing in Building a Metuchen’s Common Inquiry-Based Research recent workCycle with Collaborative Threaded by the Elementary Decision Making Metuchen Achievement Coaches and Adapted from: Math Core Structures Team in Huntley In 1990 a Stanford n Research Processes: OE Evidence-Based Conversations School District University psychology Metropolitan Center for Urban S.M.A.R.T. ation Action Research Process Goal 158 located in student named mis & McTaggart's Action Research el Huntley, Illinois. Elizabeth Newton would say developed a study al ProblemMany Solving Models: aurice Elias, Rutgers University that during a that showed the curse yrna Shure, Drexel University School Teachers’ Commonnow Core pandemic, of knowledge. In lem Solving Model S.M.A.R.T. is not the time Newton’s experiment Goal Processes: to make changes she divided OE SGO Process es Strongeto SLOkey Process resources participants into two and teaching groups, one group practices. But, would tap a song, COLLABORATIVE SCHOOL LEADERSHIP Figure 2: Problem Solving and Shared thisSOLVING team of while the second PROBLEM AND SHARED DECISION MAKING PROCESS Decision Making model teachers have group guessed. The come together and decided that change group of tapers were convinced that is needed. This was accomplished the songs that they tapped would be through collaboratively writing a vision correctly identified. The study found for math instruction, reviewing data and that they were wrong with only 2.5% teaching practices, and participating in able to identify the song (Grant 2016). As many conversations about instruction. leaders we are the tapers, but in our case This team was able to gain momentum we’re not only trying to perform, but we 61

Architect to Happiness (cont.) have written the score. It is important to provide not only a clear explanation, but a structure to execute collaborative decision making.

3) illustrates the process a recent committee took, while overhauling the reading assessment practices for kindergarten through grade four.

Metuchen School District, where Natalie is a supervisor, has a deep history of collaborative decision making structures through its participation with Rutgers’ Collaborative School Leadership Initiative. Committees throughout the district follow the Problem Solving and Shared Decision Making model (See Figure 2) that contains structured selfquestioning at each stage in the process to guide the committee’s decision making. This structure provides a clear process to problem solve. As mentioned above, Natalie and a committee of teachers tackled assessments utilizing the Problem Solving and Shared Decision Making model. The below table (Figure

The process was clearly articulated at the beginning of the process allowing everyone to understand the direction the committee would proceed. In addition, it provided participants a picture of the long range plan that focused on weekly conversations. Closure When leaders emphasize creating environments where happiness is a priority, students are successful, staff are empowered to have critical conversations that result in improved school communities. If we want to tackle educator retention, then we need to build environments that promote teacher efficacy.

Figure 3: Committee Process


Grant, A. (2016). Originals: How nonconformists move the world.

We challenge you to reflect on your leadership skills and find specific ways you can create this environment. Ask yourself:

Guskey, T. R. (2021). The Past and Future of Teacher Efficacy. Educational Leadership, 79(3).

• How can I build trust through the use of norms in my setting?

Hattie, J. (2018). Mindframes and Maximizers. 3rd Annual Visible Learning Conference held in Washington, DC.

• What was a specific initiative, project, or goal where enabling a “coalition of the willing” would have made it more successful? • What structures are in place for collaborative decision making?

Heath & Wentzel (2019, September 6). To Build an Inclusive Culture, Start with Inclusive Meetings - Harvard .... Retrieved January 23, 2022, from

• How can I ground conversations in evidence and research, proactively? All stakeholders benefit from a leader’s intentional focus and commitment to building an environment of happiness. So, how will you begin to build happiness in your organization or school?

Metuchen’s Common Inquiry-Based Research Cycle [digital flow chart]. (2021). file/d/1vwu7z2xL_2O4kOiHqCcOD HgKpUuP2RSQ/view

References Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: PrenticeHall.

Natalie Franzi Dougherty is a districtlevel administrator in New Jersey. As an administrator, Natalie supports teachers and principals with curriculum and technology implementation. She is passionate about research-based interventions that support students academically and social-emotionally. Her teaching experience includes middle

Goddard, R. D., Hoy, W. K., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2000). Collective teacher efficacy: Its meaning, measure, and effect on student achieve-ment. American Education Research Journal, 37(2), 479–507. 63

Architect to Happiness (cont.) of Curriculum and is now the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Learning and Innovation in Huntley District 158. Amy’s passion and expertise are in the fields of change management, curriculum and instruction, literacy, and school culture. She teaches as an adjunct professor in the fields of leadership, literacy, and EL learners. She also serves as the ILASCD board Secretary, and is a Class of 2016 ASCD Emerging Leader. Follow @Amy_MacCrindle on Twitter!

school reading and special education in the inclusive elementary setting. Natalie was named a 2016 ASCD Emerging Leader and is the President of NJASCD. She can be found on twitter @NatalieFranzi and LinkedIn. Amy MacCrindle, Ed.D, began her career teaching Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies, also serving as a Literacy Coach. She transitioned into administration, growing her experience as an Assistant Principal (MS), Principal (ES), Director of Literacy (PK-12), Director


t c O Upcoming Events 1 0 3 29 Self-Care Takes Courage with Dr. Cirincione-Ulezi & Alison Beauvais Carris February 17th | 4:00pm - 7:00pm Live on Zoom & asynchronous for 30 days Through the lens of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, this presentation breaks down what self-care is (and isn’t!) and outlines strategies that we as caregivers can employ to “fill our own cups” in order to live a life we truly value.



On a Roll to Literacy Games for Whole Class & Differentiated Literacy Centers with Jane Felling March 22nd | 3:30pm - 5:00pm Online Games are easy to differentiate and integrate into your literacy program; whole class and also perfect for small differentiated centers. The ideas are also easily transferable to literacy backpacks for home practice.




CLDN: Zaretta Hammond -Leveling Up Learning: School Transformation to Increase Instructional Rigor March, April & May | 8:30am - 2:45pm Medinah Shrine Center, Addison or Virtual Session 1: March 8 Transforming Your School’s Instructional Culture Based on the Science of Learning



Session 2: April 5 Developing a Theory of Change and Set of Learning Progressions to Guide the Human Side of School Change Session 3: May 10 Using Instructional Coaches and Teacher-Leaders as Learning Partners During the Messy Middle of the Process




Implementing a Change Process: Leadership & Learning with Dr. Sarah Cacciatore March 23rd | 9:00am - 3:30pm NIU Naperville, Room 105 Change is a common entity within a K-12 school environment and successful implementation of change can be instrumental in improving student learning and teacher instructional practices. This academy will give administrators the tools they need to lead their districts through a change process.







Upcoming Events

Writing Your Personal Leadership Story with Gretchen Oltman and Vicki Bautista March 24th - April 7th | 7:00pm - 8:00pm Online • Participate in three live virtual sessions • Access a private collaboration group in the ASCD Professional Learning Community • Meet up with authors and peers when you attend ASCD’s Annual Conference (Chicago or Virtual) • Receive a print copy of What’s Your Leadership Story? by Gretchen Oltman and Vicki Bautista

Coaching 101 with Robin Bruebach April 13th | 9:00am - 3:00pm NIU Naperville Room 105 Coaching supports individuals to process information, navigate new or difficult situations, and help people find their resilience and capacity. When educational leaders empower teachers and students through coaching they are able to reflect, refine their thinking and reframe their practice so that meaningful and lasting change occurs.









Coaching 101 with Robin Bruebach April 13th | 9:00am - 3:00pm NIU Naperville Room 105 Coaching supports individuals to process information, navigate new or difficult situations, and help people find their resilience and capacity. When educational leaders empower teachers and students through coaching they are able to reflect, refine their thinking and reframe their practice so that meaningful and lasting change occurs.

Math Games with Jane and John Felling March 29th - April 6th | 3:30pm - 5:00pm Live Online or Asynchronous Four Topics, Four Individual Sessions. Take one or More: • Power Play - Games and Strategies for Primary Place Value • Rebuilding Upper Elementary Place Value Concepts With Games and Activities • Shake Up Your Operational Fluency Practice - Primary Games and Strategies • Rebuilding Operational Fluency Concepts With Games and Numbers








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Teaching Writing in Small Groups with Jennifer Serravallo April 19th | 9:00am - 3:00pm Live Online or Asynchronous Drawing from Jennifer Serravallo’s newly-released Teaching Writing in Small Groups, this session will show you how just a few minutes of purposeful, responsive teaching can have a big impact on your students.



All Learning Is Social & Emotional Featuring Dominique Smith May 2nd | 8:30am - 3:30pm Century Junior High Along with a toolbox of strategies for addressing 33 essential competencies, you’ll find real-life examples highlighting the many opportunities for social and emotional learning within the K–12 academic curriculum.




Step-by-Step Differentiation for Advanced Learners Featuring Lisa Van Gemert April 28th | 8:30am - 3:30pm NIU - Naperville, Livestreamed, Asynchronous You will learn the practical skills of differentiating in your classroom, as well as all the insider tips and tricks to do it with ease. You’ll save hours of preparation and instructional time while meeting the needs of your high-ability students better than you ever have before.


#FULLYCHARGED: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders Featuring Julie Adams May 5th | 8:30am - 3:00pm Medinah Shrine Center, Addison Join CEO, Author, Educator of the Year, and Coach, Julie Adams, for a fastpaced, highly engaging workshop that will provide you the WHAT, WHY, and HOW to increase social-emotional and cognitive success across your WHOLE school system.






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School Spotlight Intentional Moments That Transform School Culture

Lori Ratliff

Josh Nobilio

On the day before our winter break, we spent the morning driving around our school community in a minibus dressed as Santa and his elf. We weren’t delivering presents but rather chauffeuring teachers to student homes. These teachers had chosen to give up some of their planning time to make some special surprise visits recognizing students. At one house, a student was recognized for growth; at another, tenacity. As each teacher gave a heartfelt speech, the rest of the group clapped and cheered, even if they didn’t know the 68 culture is not built by any program, slogan, or new initiative. It is built by the compilation of tiny moments and individual interactions that build upon each other in waves until eventually, the sum of the moments creates a community. Be Intentional: Start With Your Why As Simon Sinek notes in his “Golden Circle’’ model, it is important for leaders to start with their WHY. His model believes that if leaders know their WHY they can purposefully pursue organizational change that supports the WHY through the logistics of HOW and WHAT (Sinek, 2011). Our WHY—For ALL Students. For EACH Student—has not just been painted on our front entranceway, but it has been reiterated at every staff meeting, every parent meeting, and all interactions with our students. When we communicate our why, we help our community understand that we build programs and interventions that are responsive to the needs of ALL students, but most importantly, we personalize tiny moments and individual interactions so that EACH member of our community feels valued.

student being recognized. It was a great example of a school community coming together to support students and a morning we won’t soon forget. When we think about culture, we think of mornings like our minibus tour. As we have learned over the last five years, school culture is not built by any program, slogan, or new initiative. It is built by the compilation of tiny moments and individual interactions that build upon each other in waves until eventually, the sum of the moments creates a community. It’s those little moments, hundreds, perhaps thousands of them, that transform a school and allow students and staff to thrive. It’s been a five-year journey for us as the principal and vice-principal of Crystal Lake South High School, a suburban school in northeast Illinois. Along our journey, we have learned a few principles about school culture that guide our efforts. Our journey is far from complete, and we have much room for growth, but we are excited to share with you what we have learned.

When we view every opportunity to build culture through the lens of our WHY, we capitalize on small opportunities to make each individual feel seen. Sometimes a simple change to an existing initiative can help us better fulfill our “for each” 69

School Spotlight (cont.) Prioritize Your WHY Within Your Schedule As educators, we all know that there is never enough time, and culture-building efforts can quickly get lost in the never-ending lists of logistics. To make sure we are intentional with our WHY, every Monday, we meet for at least 30 minutes to plan out our culture building efforts for the week. We have a standing agenda that includes identifying ways to celebrate upcoming staff

mission. For example, we committed to writing EACH freshman a card welcoming them to Crystal Lake South, but to better fulfill our WHY, we decided to personalize each one, expressing our excitement at a class the student planned to take. We also often stand outside of our school greeting students, but we learned to make these interactions more personal by inviting students to create playlists and broadcasting their music choices

The idea of a school living out its mission is not new, but it is certainly challenging... birthdays, soliciting positive parent comments to share with staff, and finding ways to support anyone who needs encouragement. As part of our “For Each Student” focus, we have a spreadsheet with every freshman’s name, and we have set a goal to make a personal connection with each student on the list before the

through a portable speaker. The idea of a school living out its mission is not new, but it is certainly challenging, particularly during these last few pandemic school years. The more we can be intentional with every decision we make, the more we will see our culture reflect our WHY. 70

end of the year. During our Monday meetings, we make time to do this. Sometimes we look at grades and call students down to the office to recognize them for academic growth; on other days, we read recognition to students that their teachers have submitted to us through a Google form. These interactions with students are often a highlight of the week, but they might get lost if we didn’t set aside time for them. Without this time booked on our schedule, we would not be able to prioritize what matters most. Remember All Members of Your School Community A school is a community, and each member of the community is a part of its culture. Therefore, when focusing on building a positive culture, it’s important to make intentional efforts to recognize all members of your school community. This includes teachers, students, support staff, and parents. We also believe that our community is broader than just our school, so we focus on ways to connect with local organizations and to serve the residents of our

town. For example, for Veterans Day, we brought members of our band and choir on a minibus tour to veterans’ homes, performing “The Armed Forces Medley” right on their driveways. We regularly reach out to our families with a Google form asking if they need any support, and then we find ways to help, whether it is hanging holiday lights, delivering groceries, or providing gifts for their children. Social media can be a great tool for connecting with the wider community and branding a 71

School Spotlight (cont.) about them. Those results certainly did not fit our mission, so we set out to learn why our students didn’t feel connected and how those connections might be built. We needed to learn which students didn’t feel connected, so we devised regular in-house surveys that identified student names but protected their

school’s mission. For example, each week, we go live on Facebook with special broadcasts designed to build community. Sometimes we feature a group of students that may not get as much recognition. At other times, we strategically go live in the evening to answer questions from families (a recent

...we strategically go live in the evening to answer questions from families (a recent example was a Facebook Live broadcast aimed at incoming 8th graders). privacy through very limited access to the results. These surveys have allowed us to track the individual responses of students to certain questions over the years. Some of the questions on the survey are based on the research of Camille Farrington (2013) from the University of Chicago who identified the importance of academic mindsets, so we include questions about those mindsets that we can track. By breaking down our data to the individual student and tracking our progress over time, we can make strategic decisions that fit our mission.

example was a Facebook Live broadcast aimed at incoming 8th graders). Sometimes we interview staff or read recognition. The live platform is a great way to open up lines of communication and use social media to feature various members of our community. Follow the Data: Track Your Why As educators, we understand that it is easy to become inundated with data, but we also understand the importance of tracking data to help us determine how to spend our time. Based on our mission, we strive to look at data holistically (for all students) and individually (for each student). In the winter of 2018, when our students took the Illinois Youth Survey (Illinois Department of Human Services, 2021), one in three students did not report feeling like an adult cared

From that spring of 2018 to today, we have built interventions that allow staff members to proactively build relationships with students, we have learned which student groups are less connected than others, and we have 72

spent our time differently as a result. Specifically, during the summer of 2022, we knew that a specific group of our incoming freshmen were more likely to feel disconnected than others. To increase the likelihood of the connections being built, we did targeted home visits during the summer months to welcome those students and their families to school. We also spent time going to neighborhood parks, bringing games and food trucks, all in an effort to connect with EACH of our families. Not only did we learn about the neighborhoods that we serve, but we also built connections with individual students and families. Through our regular surveys, we see the impact of these interactions both on a larger scale (a steady decrease in the number of students who don’t feel that an adult cares about them) and on an individual level. We also see continued room for growth.

school community. Building in time to be intentional about these moments can give us the relationship collateral we need for difficult conversations, and intentional culture building can also help preserve trust when adversity hits. When we strive to connect with each student, each staff member, and each community member, we must be proactive and intentional. EACH moment matters.

Each Moment Matters We build culture during every interaction we have with each member of our

Illinois Department of Human Services (2021). Illinois youth survey. https://

References Farrington, C. (2013). Academic mindsets as a critical component of deeper learning [White Paper]. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. http:// White_Paper_Academic_Mindsets_ as_a_Critical_Component_of_ Deeper_Learning_Camille_ Farrington_April_20_2013.pdf


School Spotlight (cont.) Josh Nobilio has been the principal of Crystal Lake South High School for the last five years. He earned his Master’s degree in social work from Loyola University Chicago and his administrative degree from Northern Illinois University. Josh has presented at state and national conferences on the topics of school culture, community building, proactive social emotional support for students and staff professional learning. When not at school, Josh can be found with his kids and wife at ball fields, in gymnasiums or in the great outdoors. Email:

Sinek, S. (2011). Start with why. Penguin Books. Lori Ratliff has been an educator for 20 years serving as an English teacher, a Humanities division leader, and an assistant principal of Student Services. Currently, she is in her 3rd year as the vice principal of Crystal Lake South High School. A teacher at heart, she loves presenting at local, state, and national conferences on topics of school culture and student support. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Trinity International University, her master’s degree from Webster University, and her administrative certification from Northern Illinois University. Email:


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