Tuesday, October 30, 2012


One of my passions is learning about organizations that achieve success by focusing on something other than what the success is traditionally measured by.  Examples:
  • De La Salle Football, winningest high school football program in the history of the universe.  They focus non-stop on commitment to and love for one's teammates.  The traditional measure would be victories/championships.
  • North Carolina Basketball (under Dean Smith).  He focused on three things: Playing Hard, Playing Smart, Playing Together.  Again, traditional measure would have been victories/championships.
  • Apple.  Focus on creating the most innovative, user-friendly technology.  Traditional measure would be company profits and sales numbers.
Schools are measured against so many different parameters: test scores, average cumulative GPA of graduating classes, number of graduates attending 4-year universities, etc.  But ultimately my belief is that a school, like the organizations I mentioned above, could and would achieve any traditionally measured success if they'd just focus relentlessly on deeper underlying principles.  I just can't figure out what the heck they are.  Until now.  The other day, one finally hit me.

High Expectations.

May not seem like much, but it's a philosophy, a belief.  Something that we can all control no matter what the circumstances.  Doesn't matter if a kid has personal issues, comes from a crappy background, if our classroom has too many kids, if our projector isn't working.  We can focus relentlessly on holding ourselves and our students to high expectations.  And we can define what high expectations means to us.  What do high expectations look like in my classroom?  In yours?  In our collaboration?  On our sports fields?  In our weekly admin meetings?

But that's only one.  I need a few more.  Thoughts?

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