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The Instructional Leadership Challenge

Confidently Get Into Classrooms Every Day

Develop a consistent habit of visiting three classrooms every day—and overcome the interruptions and doubts that keep too many leaders in the office

Have Feedback Conversations That Change Teacher Practice

Use your instructional framework and firsthand evidence to provide rich, substantive feedback on teaching

Discover Your Best Opportunities for School Improvement

Identify your school's biggest needs so you can focus your time on what matters most

More than 10,000 leaders from 50 countries have taken the Challenge! Will you be next?

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The Instructional Leadership Challenge

Confidently Get Into Classrooms Every Day

Develop a consistent habit of visiting three classrooms every day—and overcome the interruptions and doubts that keep too many leaders in the office

Have Feedback Conversations That Change Teacher Practice

Use your instructional framework and firsthand evidence to provide rich, substantive feedback on teaching

Discover Your Best Opportunities for School Improvement

Identify your school's biggest needs so you can focus your time on what matters most

More than 10,000 leaders from 50 countries have taken the Challenge! Will you be next?

Confirmation

Thank You For Joining The Challenge!

Please follow the steps below to complete the registration process.

Step 1

Join Our Online Community

Step 2

Check Your Email

Find the confirmation email sent by us. Look for the subject line "Welcome + Details for the Instructional Leadership Challenge"

Step 3

Introduce Yourself

In the forum, let us know a little bit more about yourself by telling us where you are from and what your role is

Congrats on Visiting #EveryClassroom!

Congrats on Visiting #EveryClassroom!

Congratulations on completing the first phase of the Instructional Leadership Challenge!

Visiting #EveryClassroom is a great way to be visible in your school, break the ice with teachers and students, and break old patterns of avoiding certain teachers and classrooms.

Important: if you know you visited every teacher, but didn't keep track of the order, now is the time to refer to your staff roster and make sure you got around to everyone.

It's also a great time to set up the ILC Notecard System:

  • Get a stack of notecards
  • Write one teacher's name on each notecard
  • Put the notecards in the order you visited them (or in your ideal order, e.g. by location, grade, department, etc.)
  • Once you decide on an order, stick with this same order for each cycle
  • Give the stack to your secretary, and have each teacher's prep time written on the cards so you can easily plan your follow-up conversations
  • Each day, have your secretary give you the top 3 cards from the stack. Visit these teachers ASAP.
  • After you've visited a teacher, place their card on the bottom of the stack
  • If a teacher is absent, return their card to the top of the stack so you can try again tomorrow

Now, here's your next challenge...

Go #BeyondVisibility.

The #BeyondVisibility Challenge

In the #BeyondVisibility Challenge, your goal is to do more than make an appearance.

You'll visit each teacher again, but instead of just showing up for the sake of visibility, you're visiting to pay attention...

To NOTICE teachers, students, and what they're up to.

This gives you valuable information, and it also sends a powerful message...

The message that you value the work taking place in classrooms...

...and that you're paying attention to it.

So grab your notecards or staff roster...and get into classrooms again!

This time, stay a little longer—five or ten minutes.

If you're following along with my book Now We're Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership, you might want to review Chapter 4.

Don't worry about documentation or feedback at this stage—focus on paying attention, and say something positive about what you noticed.

Making your comments evidence-based—even though you want to keep it positive, it's essential to start to set the expectation that your visits will be focusing on evidence of teacher practice.

That's it for now—get out there and get into classrooms!

Sincerely,
Justin Baeder
Director, The Principal Center
1-800-861-5172

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The Instructional Leadership Challenge

Confidently Get Into Classrooms Every Day

Develop a consistent habit of visiting three classrooms every day—and overcome the interruptions and doubts that keep too many leaders in the office

Have Feedback Conversations That Change Teacher Practice

Use your instructional framework and firsthand evidence to provide rich, substantive feedback on teaching

Discover Your Best Opportunities for School Improvement

Identify your school's biggest needs so you can focus your time on what matters most

More than 10,000 leaders from 50 countries have taken the Challenge! Will you be next?

19 Day 20: Your Well-Informed Leadership Agenda

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Transcript

Welcome to Day 20 of the 21-Day Instructional Leadership Challenge. It is fantastic that you've committed to growing as an instructional leader, and I want to commend you for the efforts you've made to develop the habits of providing great feedback to staff in daily walkthroughs. Whether or not you're making it to 10% of your teachers every day, keep it up, and keep striving to develop a consistent habit.

Early on in the Challenge, we said that one of the greatest benefits of doing these kinds of walkthroughs isn't the direct help you're providing to teachers, but the learning you're doing. As the chief decision-maker, the more information you have about what's going on in classrooms, the more you're going to be able to make decisions that have the greatest possible impact. That's why I believe good walkthroughs, like we've been talking about in the Challenge, and critical even if you already have instructional coaches who work with your teachers. And the stronger your relationships with your teachers are, the more they're going to communicate with you about what's really going on in your school.

So the question becomes, what do we do with all this information? Now what we don't want to do is get distracted by all the little things we learn, and start running around solving individual problems. We can only do so much of that before we get overwhelmed and lose sight of our big priorities.

I believe, everything you learn from your walkthroughs can help you shape your leadership agenda. You may not be able to address everything you come across, but when it's time to make the big decisions—like setting school goals, or developing next year's professional development plan, or making changes to your academic program—if your agenda is clear because you've had great information from your walkthroughs, you're going to make more effective decisions.

You may have heard the acronym SWOT, S-W-O-T, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. That's the kind of information you get from having your ear to the ground and visiting every classroom regularly. You know what strengths you're ready to build on, what weaknesses need to be addressed, and what opportunities and threats are coming your way. Setting priorities and deciding what makes it on your agenda—and what doesn't—is one of the most important leadership actions you can take as an administrator.

Being a high-performance instructional leader is all about bridging the gap between what's happening instructionally and what needs to happen organizationally. If you can solve a logistical problem that's interfering with teaching and learning, that's a huge way you can improve your school immediately. But some problems are more complex—they're harder to identify, and harder to fix. It's long-term work that only you can do.

You've made the decision to be in classrooms more, to have great conversations about instruction with teachers, and to the put the tools, habits, and strategies in place to create high performance.

Tomorrow, we'll talk about creating systems to create a legacy, so stay tuned as we reach the end of the 21-Day Instructional Leadership Challenge.

Today's Action Step

Here's your action for today: Think about what you've learned from being in classrooms during the Challenge, and the decisions you've made as a result. What's one thing you've learned from your walkthroughs that's impacted a decision you've made in another area? Leave a comment below—I would love to hear from you. Keep up those visits to 10% of your classrooms every day, keep on emailing teachers with great feedback, and I'll see you tomorrow.

—Justin Baeder

Instructional Leadership Challenge Wrap-Up Webinar

Dear Instructional Leaders,
Last week, we held our final session for the Instructional Leadership Challenge. We heard from two of our top participants, Christine Collins & Jeremy Vidito, about how they've benefited from the Challenge. We also share some numbers from the challenge and encourage you to keep up the good work!

Here's the video:

Click here to watch on YouTube

In case you've missed any of our previous workshops, here's everything we've offered so far:

  1. Watch the introductory session to familiarize yourself with the Challenge
  2. Watch the TeachBoost training session with Jill
  3. Fill out the TeachBoost account setup form
  4. Watch Workshop #1 with Justin to learn powerful strategies to get into classrooms more and provide great feedback to teachers
  5. Watch Workshop #2 to learn more about qualitative data, and how to program the robot to make more of your work happen on autopilot, so you can focus on your work in classrooms.
  6. Watch Workshop #3, in which we discuss what to do with all the work that has piled up on your desk while you were in classrooms being an instructional leader. You'll learn the three components of high performance, and you'll see several examples of how you can ensure that you have complete systems in place for accomplishing your work with great efficiency.

I have one more thing in store for you…stay tuned!

Sincerely,
Justin Baeder
on behalf of Jill and the ILC team

The Challenge Wrap-up—This Wednesday 10/30 at 1pm Eastern

Instructional leaders, you've been knocking our socks off with your commitment to getting into classrooms and providing feedback to teachers. More than 700 observations have been logged in TeachBoost (not counting any you've done outside of TeachBoost), and we still have three days to go.

This Wednesday, October 30 at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific), please join us for a final wrap-up workshop. Perhaps the Challenge was a smashing success for you, or perhaps you just stuck your toe in the water and got started. Regardless, we think you'll be inspired and informed by this last session, in which we'll talk with two principals who have been part of the Challenge and are ready to share their success. We'll also pass along some more helpful strategies for continuing your leadership work throughout the year.

Access Details for Live Session
Wednesday, October 30, 1:00pm Eastern/10:00am Pacific
Login link:
http://fuze.me/20956579
Join Internet Audio via Fuze app, or dial in via phone at 1-347-817-7654 and enter Meeting Number 20956579

Warm regards,
Justin, Jill, and the #ILCHAL team
PS In case you've missed any of our previous workshops, here's everything we've offered so far:

  1. Watch the introductory session to familiarize yourself with the Challenge
  2. Watch the TeachBoost training session with Jill
  3. Fill out the TeachBoost account setup form
  4. Watch Workshop #1 with Justin to learn powerful strategies to get into classrooms more and provide great feedback to teachers
  5. Watch Workshop #2 to learn more about qualitative data, and how to program the robot to make more of your work happen on autopilot, so you can focus on your work in classrooms.
  6. Watch Workshop #3 to learn what to do with all the work that has piled up on your desk while you were in classrooms being an instructional leader. You'll learn the three components of high performance, and you'll see several examples of how you can ensure that you have complete systems in place for accomplishing your work with great efficiency.

Extra Session! Final Challenge Workshop Wednesday, October 30

Dear Instructional Leaders,
Thank you all for participating in the Instructional Leadership Challenge. Your level of commitment and engagement surpassed our expectations—you are all inspirational educators. Be proud!

Please join us for a final wrap-up workshop as we review your progress, speak live with participants, and pass along some more helpful strategies for continuing your leadership work throughout the year.

Access Details for Live Session
Wednesday, October 30, 1:00pm Eastern/10:00am Pacific
Login link:
http://fuze.me/20956579
Join Internet Audio via Fuze app, or dial in via phone at 1-347-817-7654 and enter Meeting Number 20956579

Warm regards,
Justin, Jill, and the #ILCHAL team
PS In case you've missed any of our previous workshops, here's everything we've offered so far:

  1. Watch the introductory session to familiarize yourself with the Challenge
  2. Watch the TeachBoost training session with Jill
  3. Fill out the TeachBoost account setup form
  4. Watch Workshop #1 with Justin to learn powerful strategies to get into classrooms more and provide great feedback to teachers
  5. Watch Workshop #2 to learn more about qualitative data, and how to program the robot to make more of your work happen on autopilot, so you can focus on your work in classrooms.
  6. Watch Workshop #3 to learn what to do with all the work that has piled up on your desk while you were in classrooms being an instructional leader. You'll learn the three components of high performance, and you'll see several examples of how you can ensure that you have complete systems in place for accomplishing your work with great efficiency.
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