What are our non-negotiables?
This past week I took part in the Shadow a Student Challenge where school leaders are encouraged to walk in the shoes of one of their students for a day. I shadowed a student in the past and was looking forward to this experience once again. The selection process was a random draw of student who had volunteered, and this year's lucky winner was a 7th grader named Sydney who was very excited about the opportunity. Throughout the day, I was able to talk with students about their thoughts about school, what they liked, and what they wished was different. The whole day was very positive and insightful and, even though I got pulled away for about an hour and a half due to a power outage, I was able to see some of the things I appreciate about our school and which were validated by students I talked with throughout our day.
Recently I came upon a blog post by George Couros, Principal of Change. In this particular post he gave his top four non-negotiables upon which a school should base its work and which very closely match those traits I hold dear. Though not intended to be evaluative in nature, the Shadow a Student Challenge gave me an opportunity to step back and see through the eyes of our students, providing me with feedback about our school. As I reflected upon my day as a student, I used these four traits as a framework to summarize my observations to share with our staff in our Weekly Wonderings.