If You Are Going to Be Unlike Any Other School, You Have to Be Willing to Do Things Other Schools Won’t

I’m sure you’ve read variations of this quote before. As we head into the 2018-2019 school year, this quote came to me, has stuck in my mind, and isn’t going away.

“If you are going to be unlike any other school, you have to be willing to do things other schools won’t”

It’s not about competition. It’s not about being “better” than another school, as I’m not sure how you measure “better” anyway.

It is about growing. It is about better serving the needs of our students, staff, and families. It most certainly is about changing things in education that keep up with the needs of today’s society. Some of it comes down to what you are willing to sacrifice, what risks will you take, and getting a team of people to do that together. Our students, staff, and families don’t deserve ordinary. They deserve extraordinary. To achieve extraordinary status you have to perform extraordinary acts.

I’m sometimes asked about what our school theme is for the year. People want to know what is the pitch, marketing slogan, brand, that we will work towards.

This year, it’s not necessarily a theme, but more of a mindset. Maybe even a challenge. 

“If you are going to be unlike any other school, you have to be willing to do things other schools won’t”

That’s the challenge. I issue it to you, to me, to educators everywhere. As you plan, look into the school year and think about that statement.  Look at it from a school perspective, as a principal, a teacher, a teaching team, a grade level, a department. What things are you doing that others aren’t?  What would be on YOUR list? Next, what impact is that having on students, families, staff? How can you continue to provide it and even improve it? From there, how can you grow your list? When you look back on the school year, what will be on that list? What was added this year? Your list may contain some things that you have done before combined with some that are completely new.  

I’ve always been enamored with chasing greatness. I’ve read, studied, thought, and perseverated on what it takes to be great in so many walks of life. One of the ways to make progress in that pursuit is to do things that others simply won’t do.  I’m certain of that. As this school year begins, that’s where my focus lies. 

“If you are going to be unlike any other school, you have to be willing to do things other schools won’t”

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