Book: Building a Schoolhouse, Vol 2

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Chapter Summaries:

Ch. 1 – Vision

Our vision is all that we dream is possible in our lives and in the world. It’s a picture of what we might achieve if we could only become our very best selves. A school must have a vision of where it’s going and how it’s serving children in order to successfully move forward. Shared vision in a school requires the belief that change can be a dynamic and positive process. Read the story, “The Waterfall,” about the author’s surprising encounter with a personal vision of her future work. Follow a few action steps that will help you clarify your own vision.

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Ch. 2 – Integrity

Integrity arises from the core of an individual. It is the seed from which a personal life grows and prospers. The way in which we show up in the world, on a daily basis, is a reflection of the depth of integrity from which we draw. Teaching children is helping them to develop integrity. It develops over time and is strengthened through attaining personal knowledge, achieving success and overcoming challenges. Integrity becomes clearer and more focused as it is lived. The story, “The Teacher,” relates a school experience where the author had to reflect upon her integrity as a principal.

Ch. 3 – Communication

There is no skill more important in a classroom and a school than effective communication. The very foundation of a school is built upon the bedrock of a communication system where people understand how to communicate their beliefs and actively listen to others. All members of the school community must find their “voice” in a safe environment, if communication is going to succeed. Read how one teacher’s life was changed through effective communication in, “The Meeting.” Communication has the power to transform people and situations.

Ch. 4 – Community

Community provides us with supportive space to live our lives to the fullest, bringing all of our talents and contributions to the forefront. Community gives us a place to learn about ourselves through our relationship to others. Students are learning to be community builders and members throughout their years in school. An environment rich in life skills provides the foundation for meaningful interactions to occur between students in their classrooms. Enjoy reading the story, “It’s Lunchtime!,” that portrays community building in the school cafeteria. Classrooms are the center of community building in a school.

Ch. 5 – Loyalty

Loyalty is based on connection and promotes deeper joining and sharing. Schools are places for loyalty to naturally form because schools are all about connection with staff, with subject, with teachers and with peers. Loyalty and trust go hand in hand. Loyalty will not develop if trust is absent. Change will occur more easily and efficiently in an environment of loyalty where people trust one another and feel the bonds of loyalty binding them together as they move forward. “The Community of Women” is a story about loyalty under the most adverse conditions. Extend your influence beyond your classroom to build loyalty in your school.

Ch. 6 – Power

Power is most effective when shared. Power is not bestowed with the job title, as is authority, but is earned through building personal interactions, developing mutual respect and demonstrating successful results. A school where everyone is empowered to play a significant role in running the school is a place where students love to learn and teachers love to teach. Using your authority to build your power is strategy number four. Read the story, “Turn Around,” to enjoy a humorous situation where the author found out that she wasn’t such a powerful principal after all.

Ch. 7 – Parental Support

Parents are the first teachers of their children, laying the foundation for later success in school. Students who have involved parents are more likely to succeed in school. Parents serve as valuable resources for educators in learning about their students. They also have the ability to generate classroom support that allows the teacher to provide students with more opportunities. The greatest gift that parents give to schools is a passion for helping children succeed. Read the story, “Two Mothers,” for a poignant example of parents as partners in education.

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