Yesterday, I had a great talk with my superintendent, Dr Frank Till. This is the first time he and I sat down for a one-on-one conversation since my joining Cumberland County Schools. I’m new to the system and it is a big system, 86 schools and over 50,000 kids.  His main objective was checking on a principal to the system and, again, we had a great talk.


He began sharing some of  his recent efforts to use a variety media to communicate some of the great things going on in CCS with stakeholders. He described how he originally used some traditional methods to communicate the district’s accomplishments but recently he was starting to use new media, videos, for the purpose of rebranding. He was speaking specifically of his future talks with different groups but it got me to thinking that sometimes its not enough to only focus on sharing and promoting the good of what’s happening. We also need to think in terms of broadening our strategic plan to include how  we making the good even better or changing some things that aren’t working and, in either case, sharing that with our stakeholders. This includes repurposing some initiatives that aren’t going as well as we desire or starting over somethings from scratch.

Rebranding is opportunity

How often do we get the chance to tell the story of our efforts or in some cases, retell the story. The main topics of one of  my summer presentations, Improving Administrative Function with Social Media, was on ‘writing your own narrative’ and ‘branding’ our schools. This rebranding struck home for several reasons:

  1. My new staff at Spring Lake Middle has repeatedly expressed that we have a dire need to rebuild our image, let the community at large know that we are not the same school we were five year ago [rebranding]
  2. I’ve began talks with @plugusin, Bill Ferriter, to work with us on improve our professional learning culture and planning efforts. SLMS has shifted away from what PLCs started off and we have an opportunity to improve our function [rebranding]
  3. Every year for an educator, administrator, administrative team should involve a critical evaluation of past performance and communicating what we will do different and better [rebranding]

How often do we have the opportunity to change the story? Rewrite the narrative?

Thinking in terms of branding and rebranding helps with the message we are creating. For me, this affects even the tools I choose.

New Commitments

Happy 2011!

It’s great that we’ve been blessed to see the beginning of another year! This is the time we normally set resolutions for the new year on things we’d like to do better or different. For educators, resolutions mean something else. We’ve already made a commitment to students at the beginning of the school year and we won’t abandon them. What this time offers us is a break/opportunity to disengage [for a moment] so we can re-engage and come back stronger.

This break offers a gift of reflection – an opportunity to examine our practices and philosophies to determine if we need to make changes for student learning. We place so much emphasis on resolutions because it’s a big deal to commit and then to change – and seeing long term changes makes a bigger impression. What would that change look like for you?
  • Committing to making regular contact to parents with the purpose of impacting a difference in student behavior and habits
  • Committing to changing a classroom practice that’s been routine for you but may not be in best interest for students
  • Committing to using a 2.0 tool that would be a stretch for you to learn/integrate but would really show kids the changing/shrinking world they live in
  • Committing to connecting to other educators and engaging in best practices dialogue
We wake up and put new efforts in place reach kids. This is a great time to look objectively at what we do and think and commit to doing better for the students!