Part 1

Part 2

This week's interview is with Tom Whitford, an amazing principal of 3(!) schools in Wisconsin.

  • His mentor that taught him a lot about how to be a leader and how to push yourself and others to be better, book reads, and more.
  • Professional Learning Communities in Tom's ideal world.
  • PLCs require a whole philosophy change to be effective.
  • How to set the stage to be successful in having discussions with teachers. Power of change comes from stories.
  • Create opportunities for conversation.
  • How can administrators tell stories? Start with true stories. (Don't make things up.) Provide opportunities for real conversation.
  • What can we do to make this work, and what will prevent us from being successful?
  • It is too easy for things to get said behind closed doors, and we need to address challenges early on, and then address issues as they arise.
  • Focus the conversations on continuous improvement on faculty meeting time.
  • "Jumpstart Fridays" - aides and others work with kids so they can do collaboration times.
  • How Tom gets teachers to feel comfortable sharing their stories with Tom and the other teachers.
  • "Speed of Trust"
  • We don't get better, unless we can talk about the mistakes that we made.
  • How Tom figured out that his faculty did not like his strategy for getting them to have fun with his emails. (Background blog post - "Learning with your mistakes")
  • Working with 3 different schools
  • How he manages dealing with all that they have going on.
  • Dealing with the new teacher evaluation system using the Danielson model
  • What he has been focusing on as a leader in the three schools: PBIS and RTI.
  • What RTI looks like on a day-to-day basis in his school(s).
  • What ICE looks like at his school(s). What data they use, and how fluid their groups are.
  • Why some students might get less support by entering Special Education than if they stay in their intervention groups.
  • How to create opportunities for fluid movement and appropriate support between groups to meet the needs of the students.
  • WADITW (We've Always Done it this Way)
  • What advice would he give to principals? Relationships
  • How being out in the hallways is beneficial (even during parent teacher conferences).
  • What is in his office to motivate him? Great sayings in his office and his kids.
  • Voxer usage helping him communicate with other principals.
  • Shoutout to @gcouros and @mmiller

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