I recently checked off a huge bucket list item that had been staring back at me for years: publishing an educational leadership book. It had been in the back of my mind since 2010, and I finally accomplished that goal in 2019. It felt fantastic. What is an item on your bucket list?
The whole idea of a “bucket list” is to create a list of goals you hope to accomplish sometime in the future. When done well, a bucket list can create a roadmap of sorts in achieving your personal and professional goals. But what if we created a bucket list for our school or district?
Look at your calendar. Write down the date. Now, I want to you to think about five years from now. Answer this question: How do you want your school to evolve?
Why am I asking you to think about five years from now? There are a few reasons, actually:
- You were not hired to lead the school you have now. You were hired to lead the school into the future. That future is now.
- We know that any systemic change can take anywhere from five to seven years.
- We know that the administrator churn—how long an administrator stays at a school or district—is approximately five years.
Developing a Long-Term School Culture Plan
So, now that you know the why, so let’s get back to the visioning. Answer these five questions as you work toward building a positive school culture using this downloadable resource. This resource will help you create your bucket list as an administrator.
- What do you see students doing in the classroom five years from now?
- What do you want teachers to think about student achievement in the next five years?
- What do you want students to feel about school in five years?
- When you’re out in the community five years from today, what do you want people saying about your school?
- What do you want stakeholders to be doing alongside you and your school in five years?
Once you have answered those questions, guess what? You’ve created your school’s bucket list! Here are three easy steps to help you get started after you’ve developed your bucket list:
- Identify the two critical issues currently facing your school that would prohibit you from reaching your school’s future state.
- Create an action plan to solve those two critical issues. Be sure to include specific steps, who is in charge, a timeline by which you can reach each step, and how you will know when the step is accomplished.
- Chart your progress. What gets measured gets done. So, be sure to quantify your progress so you can routinely assess progress toward solving the critical issues. Feel free to include qualitative anecdotes along the way.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.
Join Adam Drummond and 5,000+ educators on June 28–July 1, 2020, in Orlando, Florida, at the 28th Annual Model Schools Conference to explore firsthand how you can connect with courage in your school or district to effect meaningful change.
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