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This week’s tip:Teach ~ Learn ~ Care

Can you connect each student with one or more caring adult in your school?

Time Change Coach Travis Mackey did so when he was a SAM principal at Geneseo High School in Illinois. He knew school is more than academic content. He knew paying attention to each student’s mental health is key.

Through connection exercises students list adults they trust. Adults take a list of students and mark each person they believe they have a strong, trusting relationship. A sociogram is then created showing the number student/adult connections. The staff then works to build connections with students who are missing trusted adults in their lives.

Sound hard to do? Actually, it is easy and costs nothing. We even have a six minute HD video to show you how.

Travis will be one of 40 breakout session presenters at the 17th Annual National SAM Conference in January.

Another Time Change Coach, Steve Seid, asked last month if he could begin a podcast featuring SAM teams he coaches. Steve, a former SAM principal and SAM superintendent, found podcasts to be an effective way to connect with his school community. He wondered of a podcast featuring the SAM teams he works with would be valuable for others SAM practitioners. Here’s a link to the first edition of SAM SeidNotes with guest Robert Studly, SAM Principal, Zenith Accelerated Learning Academy, Kissimmee, Florida.

Executive Summary: SAM team Success:

This week’s tip: Increase the number of interactions you have with each teacher.

Teachers know that more time needs be spent with students who aren’t moving forward. A teacher plans frequent interactions with individual students to help move them forward, often with multiple “touches” each day: encouragement, lessons, individual and group work.

This is an important lesson for SAM teams as the same is true for the school leader who wants to move a teacher forward: encouragement, the four kinds of “seeing” instruction, the three kinds of feedback, individual and group work.

Think about a single teacher, a teacher you want to improve. How many “touches” did you have with this teacher since school started this year? How many touches do you need to ensure success for the teacher?

TimeTrack shows the amount of time you spend with a teacher. Did you know it will also show you the number of touches or interactions? Open the Dashboard, click on any teacher, and then click the interaction tab, upper left of the chart. You will now see the number of “touches” broken out by descriptor. In the upper right corner you will see the total number of touches for the year.

This chart shows time spent. Look at the # of hours circled in RED. Look at the Interaction button, left corner. When you click this button you see the same data, but it shows the number of touches, or interactions. Look at the second chart.

This chart shows interactions, or touches, with the teacher. Take a look at the number of times the leader was in the classroom, seeing instruction: Eleven. Look at the number of conversations the leader had with the teacher; Eleven.

Try this at one of your SAM Daily Meetings this week. Many SAM teams are surprised when they look at their data this way—frequency of “touches”, rather than the amount of time. The question becomes: Are the number of touches frequent enough to move the teacher forward?

This week’s tip: “A title is only a word. It is your actions that matter.”

Your actions are what people remember. Being a leader, rather than a manager, requires planning and forethought. It is why the SAM process, the SAM Daily Meeting and your TimeTrack data are so powerful together.

A good SAM asks the leader if the walkthrough, or another of the four kinds of seeing instruction, was completed. The SAM is very good if the next question is about follow-up...even better if the question is:

  1. “What did you see in the classroom that impressed you?

  2. “What did the teacher do that shows improvement?”

  3. “Did you see a student who impressed you?

  4. “What ‘good learning behavior’ did you notice?”

  5. “What did you see that tells you what you should do at the next staff meeting? Grade level or department meeting? PLC?”

When a school community sees the person with the title “principal” become actively involved in learning, the principal becomes the leader...not just the manager. Good SAMs always ask one question from the TimeTrack dashboard during the Daily Meeting.

Any question can work as it helps the leader think about next steps with each teacher.

Executive Summary: SAM team Success:

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