Book: Building a Schoolhouse, Vol 1

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Chapter Summaries:

Ch. 1 – Trust

Do you work in a trust-filled environment? Do you absolutely trust your colleagues and your boss? Trust is the glue that holds any classroom or school together. Trust is essential for learning to occur because it creates a safe environment. Schools where trust exists are center of possibility and growth. Read the story, “One Step At A Time” and feel inspired to continue moving forward, through any of life’s challenges. Find a few action steps that you can practice to bring more trust into your work situation. Be an active trust builder!

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Ch. 2 – Leadership

Leaders abound at all levels in educational organizations. Shared leadership is strong and effective leadership. What type of leader are you? Are you a successful leader, whether in the classroom or school as a whole? Leadership is the beacon that lights the way. Successful leaders share an unwavering understanding and respect for people and human interactions. Learn about the subtleties of leadership when you read the stories, “Kisses” and “The Office.” Role Modeling really does make a difference. Share a leadership strategy with one of your friends and see if it brings the results you desire.

Ch. 3 – Empowerment

People who feel empowered are strong in their knowledge of self. Successful school experiences lead to empowered students. Does your school empower every member of the school community or only the high achievers? Empowering everyone in the community is a win-win situation. Students and teachers are empowered when they discover their skills and talents and bring them into service in the world. Enjoy a charming story, “The Yellow Cart,” which shows students building self-confidence. Try an action step that will lead you to reflect on your own skills and talents.

Ch. 4 – Environment

Students, teachers and administrators who love going to school every day work in a positive and creative environment that supports them. How does this environment get established? School environment contains a physical, an emotional , a relational and an academic focus. The story, “Middle School Blues and the Walkout,” shows a struggle for control of the classroom environment. The type of environment that exists at a school shapes experiences for the students, teachers and administrators. “Paying attention to the small things” is an action step that will quickly change the environment in which you work. Try it!

Ch. 5 – Optimism

“The Gift” is a story about a young girl who remained optimistic despite the odds against her. Optimism creates hope and positive belief. Optimists are our leaders, our most ardent supporters and the most effective teachers because they see the inherent good and the hidden giftedness of their students. Teachers and administrators must model optimism for our students. Holding an optimistic viewpoint can powerfully lead us to new and significant heights of accomplishment and achievement. Learn why optimistic school environments create great results.

Ch. 6 – Accountability

Accountability is measured in a myriad of ways. Accountability requires a clear understanding of the learning and teaching processes. The expectations are high and the outcomes life changing. Who is accountable in a school? How do teachers and principals demonstrate that they are personally and professionally responsible for the outcomes of student learning? Read the story, “Fire, Fire!” and other vignettes that show accountability in a school. Implement a strategy that shows how reflection on your teaching leads to greater accountability.

Ch. 7 – Ritual, Tradition and Ceremony

Do you remember a ritual, tradition or ceremony from your time in school? Everyone remembers at least one of these events. They imprint upon our heart and soul because they are such important community and family events. The school-wide activities that support ritual, tradition and ceremony help to form the school’s identity. They present opportunities for relationship and community building that strengthen the educational environment. Read about strategies and action steps that will help you create a school that is enriched by its ritual, tradition and ceremony. The story, “Saying Goodbye to a Friend,” will tug at your heart.

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