Transformative Principal
Discover the secrets of school leadership in this weekly interview podcast with top leaders in education.

Michael Shapiro is serving in his second year as the principal of Highland Tech Charter School in Anchorage School District. A recent transplant from the Chicago area, he previously served as principal of Shepard Middle School in Deerfield, Illinois for seven years, during which time the school earned a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award. Prior to that he served as an assistant principal for five years in two different schools. Mr. Shapiro began his educational career as a computer applications teacher and director of instructional technology. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Administration and Supervision at Loyola University in Chicago.

Highland Tech is a 6th–12th grade charter school that promotes personal mastery through student centered, individualized learning and varied assessment strategies. Student placement is based on academic ability, rather than chronological age, ensuring students are challenged each day. Students are encouraged to take an active role in their education and master core content and the skills necessary for success in the 21st Century. Technology integration and project-based assessments are critical components of Highland Tech’s rigorous model. 

  • Professional Development - content expertise and deep understanding of the standards.
  • Focus on building a curriculum that is standards-based.
  • Planning meaningful activities that align with standards.
  • Help teachers help students refine and revise work.
  • Time is a huge barrier.
  • Giving up control to students.
  • Advisory - take this incredibly seriously.
  • School visit in Michigan.
  • In the traditional model, we don’t demand that they master, we demand that they pass with an average.
  • Redos and Retakes
  • Be present. Be in classrooms learning every day.
  • Uncomfortable being called boss, because he is really a servant.

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Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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Direct download: Giving_Up_Control_with_Michael_Shapiro_Transformative_Principal_093.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm MDT
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Michael Shapiro is serving in his second year as the principal of Highland Tech Charter School in Anchorage School District. A recent transplant from the Chicago area, he previously served as principal of Shepard Middle School in Deerfield, Illinois for seven years, during which time the school earned a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award. Prior to that he served as an assistant principal for five years in two different schools. Mr. Shapiro began his educational career as a computer applications teacher and director of instructional technology. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Administration and Supervision at Loyola University in Chicago.

Highland Tech is a 6th–12th grade charter school that promotes personal mastery through student centered, individualized learning and varied assessment strategies. Student placement is based on academic ability, rather than chronological age, ensuring students are challenged each day. Students are encouraged to take an active role in their education and master core content and the skills necessary for success in the 21st Century. Technology integration and project-based assessments are critical components of Highland Tech’s rigorous model. 

  • Not one and done approach, focused on student Mastery.
  • Time bound, but a lot of flexibility.
  • Real-world project based learning.
  • Rubrics at every level.
  • Takes some time for kids, teachers and principals even to get used to it.
  • Lots of misperceptions in the community.
  • Reinventing Schools Coalition RISC
  • Different Levels - Standards and Rubrics
  • Kids can be in 8th grade math and be in 10 grade ELA.
  • Require up to Alg. II/Trig in math at Highland Tech.
  • Integrate levels as much as possible.
  • Paying attention to outliers.
  • Variety of assessments qualify for standards. Not just the paper-pencil type.

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Ready for a Modern Web Site for your school? Simple School Sites is the place to go for high quality Wordpress sites specially designed for schools.

Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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Piper is the principal of Draper Elementary in Draper, UT. She has been a long-time friend and mentor to me, personally, and has helped me learn so much over the last few years.

  • ELA in English and Math in target language
  • Teachers more intentional in working together on content between languages.
  • MobyMax to supplement schoolwork. Reflex Math to focus on computation skills.
  • What she’s doing is working because Draper Elementary ranked 22 in the state in math.
  • How you ensure good instruction is taking place when you don’t speak the target language?
  • Anyone should be able to understand topic in the classroom when they are in the target language.
  • Good instruction on Steroids.
  • 9 tenets of instruction from State of Utah
  • Listen.

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Ready for a Modern Web Site for your school? Simple School Sites is the place to go for high quality Wordpress sites specially designed for schools.

Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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Show notes on TransformativePrincipal.com

Download Paperless Principal.  

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Piper is the principal of Draper Elementary in Draper, UT. She has been a long-time friend and mentor to me, personally, and has helped me learn so much over the last few years.

  • Dual immersion schools - what is the process, and what challenges are unique to you?
  • 200 dual immersion schools in the state, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, French
  • What barriers are there to having native speakers come teach in America?
  • A/B schedule at elementary level.
  • Teachers come from mainland China and local areas.
  • Immersion teacher and non-immersion teachers and culture issues.
  • Personalizing issues with culture.
  • Specials to integrate the two cultures.
  • Dragon Training
  • Seeking input to learn what was important to the students, faculty, and parents.
  • Blanket monkey.

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Please take a moment to rate this podcast in iTunes or on Stitcher

Ready for a Modern Web Site for your school? Simple School Sites is the place to go for high quality Wordpress sites specially designed for schools.

Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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Henry Turner is a fantastic principal doing some great things at Bedford High School outside Boston. He blogs at Leadingtolearn.

  • Implementing iPad initiative.
  • Focus on creating iPad content.
  • Fundraising
  • Upstander anti-bullying program. Facing History in Ourselves.
  • Asking curious questions.
  • Kids create public service announcements with their iPads.
  • Achievement gap strategies.
  • Data teams
  • Putting kids in levels, but not tracking them.
  • Conversations and district support.
  • The Calculus Project.

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Please take a moment to rate this podcast in iTunes or on Stitcher

Ready for a Modern Web Site for your school? Simple School Sites is the place to go for high quality Wordpress sites specially designed for schools.

Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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Henry Turner - Principal of Bedford High School outside Boston.

  • Site visits is where the interview teams comes to the school to meet with the teams that work with the principal.
  • Tips to prepare.
  • Choose a diverse group of people.
  • Avoid some pitfalls: lack of preparation, only asking rockstars.
  • How to prepare people for the visit: Announce early to community.

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Please take a moment to rate this podcast in iTunes or on Stitcher

Ready for a Modern Web Site for your school? Simple School Sites is the place to go for high quality Wordpress sites specially designed for schools.

Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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Direct download: 88_SIte_Vists_with_Henry_Turner_Transformative_Principal_088.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm MDT
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This week Geri Parscale came to visit us in Kodiak and teach us about PLCs. The teachers walked away energized and excited. On Twitter she is @ParscaleG.

In this episode she talks about PLCs and culture. PLCs are a way of life, not a program, and that is what I have always enjoyed about the PLC approach.

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Please take a moment to rate this podcast in iTunes or on Stitcher

Ready for a Modern Web Site for your school? Simple School Sites is the place to go for high quality Wordpress sites specially designed for schools.

Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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Show notes on TransformativePrincipal.com

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Direct download: 87_Establishing_PLCs_with_Geri_Parscale_Transformative_Principal_087.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:51pm MDT
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Mike Kelly - Principal Eyer Middle School. East Penn School District.
Mike on Twitter: @principalmkelly
Mike’s Blog

  • The importance of blogging and reflection, sharing learning.
  • Personal growth mindset post.
  • The end of marking periods.
  • Starting removal of marking periods in 6th grade!
  • Arbitrary dates to complete learning on certain topics.
  • Extended learning program greatly reduces academic failures.
  • Many additional clubs and activities are offered.
  • “Required” extended learning program.
  • Perception of ELP.
  • Time and support are the variables and learning is the constant.
  • How to prepare for big changes in schools.
  • Parent concerns about end of marking periods.
  • Start with small parent groups.
  • How to gain teacher support for the end of marking periods.
  • The case against 0
  • The power of 0
  • Retesting and redo
  • How to be a transformative principal? Surround yourself with transformative people.

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Please take a moment to rate this podcast in iTunes or on Stitcher

Ready for a Modern Web Site for your school? Simple School Sites is the place to go for high quality Wordpress sites specially designed for schools.

Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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Today I am joined by Theresa Stager and Jessica Johnson who talk about their book “Breaking out of Isolation”.

  • After the sad end of the Practical Principals podcast with Melinda Miller, Theresa and Jessica and Jethro all started a podcast at the same time.
  • Being connected sometimes makes you feel isolated.
  • On being a student again.
  • Fixed vs. growth mindset.
  • We are still in the middle of learning how to be connected.
  • You must always watch what you are saying and be cautious of what you are saying.
  • Connected Educator Series
  • How you can break out of isolation:
    • Jump on Twitter
    • Join #principalPLN and create your own personal little mentors.

Subscribe in iTunes

Please take a moment to rate this podcast in iTunes or on Stitcher

Ready for a Modern Web Site for your school? Simple School Sites is the place to go for high quality Wordpress sites specially designed for schools.

Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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Bob Dillon Twitter Web Site is the Director of Technology and Innovation for Afton School District. He has been a middle school principal for 15 years in three different places and currently helps many other principals improve their practices.

  • Join the PrincipalPLN Voxer group
  • 1st order change - simple, fixit types of problems, typically exciting that help people feel good about things, but don’t really move the needle in improving a school.
  • 2nd order change - moving from management to leadership. Changes that will last after you are gone. People start to feel like they are part of a special organization. Sometimes it is messy, people don’t know how things will play out.
  • Doug Timm Principal in Delaware.
  • Need to focus on what matters in the long term.
  • 1st order change - painting over water stain on a house you just bought.
  • 2nd order change - taking off the drywall and cleaning (or replacing) studs and insulation.
  • Playing the short and the long game.
  • Higher-level conversations
  • Difficulty of dealing with minor problems.
  • If you are working hard daily, people will be more likely to give you a break.
  • Build up key communicators in the building.
  • Trust your teachers to say things in a way that you know will be beneficial.
  • People need to hear the same in multiple ways.
  • How to help teachers be comfortable taking risks.
  • Need to scaffold to the higher level of risk-taking.

Part 2

  • Director of Innovation. My role is to keep the system lubricated.
  • Keep technology systems moving at a fast rate. Jump technology ahead.
  • Looking for other places that slow growth and inhibit innovation.
  • Empower the teachers that are moving forward and working hard.
  • Most of the rest of my career I will have jobs that don’t exist yet.
  • Important to change mental model of where and how kids learn.
  • Our teachers get better when they tell our story.
  • If it is not your strength to share, allow it to be the power of your students and allow them to share.
  • Give kids a voice.
  • Authentic audience raises the quality of work.
  • Book Ethic of Excellence
  • How are you contributing to Education beyond this school?
  • It is about being humble, and knowing you don’t have all the answers. If I want other people to help me, I need to help other people.
  • What prevents teachers from contributing?
  • Powerful connecting to other schools. Bettendorf High School and their partner school learning from each other. Doc Seacrist St. Joseph in Missouri(LINK)
  • Why Jimmy Casas continues to be a principal.
  • Leadership
  • K–1–2 Makerspace about the philosophy of allowing kids to grow creativity and problem solving.
  • Create, make, design for empowerment, engagement.
  • Helping kids become solution makers.
  • How you can be a transformative principal: Go read something that doesn’t have to do with education with your principal hat on. Lateral capacity building. Brendan Hufford
  • Entreleadership Podcast
  • Chris Locurto Show

Subscribe in iTunes

Please take a moment to rate this podcast in iTunes or on Stitcher

Ready for a Modern Web Site for your school? Simple School Sites is the place to go for high quality Wordpress sites specially designed for schools.

Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

Buy Communication Cards

Show notes on TransformativePrincipal.com

Download Paperless Principal.  

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