Category Archives: Leadership

My COVID-19 Diary: Virtual friends, they’re real!

I’m reflecting on virtual relationships in the educational environment during the quarantine. What are the obstacles teachers face in developing new connections and maintaining the bonds they had built in the first 24 weeks of school?  Will it be possible to create the kind of close, supportive relationships that are the bedrock of our school culture next year with a new group of students if we continue virtual school in September?   Continue reading

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My COVID-19 Diary: Why write?

If I have to give myself a grade for my performance during the quarantine, and why not, everyone seems to be grading themselves during this time, I’d score myself a fairly generous “C+”.   But one thing I have managed to do is publish a blog post every day during the quarantine. I’m happy to have done so for a variety of reasons. Continue reading

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My COVID-19 Diary: Is it a snow day? “I don’t know”

Even before social media, a rumor like this would travel around my school in about eight minutes. You’d hear a collective cheer raised by the entire student body. But this doesn’t happen because I possess years of experience with “Snow Day Stone Face.” I really should play more poker, but I don’t allow gambling in the lunchroom. Continue reading

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My COVID-19 Diary: What you don’t know

When you are a school leader or any kind of leader, you must recognize that there are times when the only appropriate answer to a question is, “I don’t know.”  At times of crisis such as we are experiencing now, this is ever more critical.  Folks are willing to give you trust based on the accuracy of the information you relay, yet providing accurate information has never been more challenging. Continue reading

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My COVID-19 Diary: Culture outlasts quarantine

Somehow, given the magnitude of our current crisis, getting around to following up on a kid who took fries off another kids’ tray without asking, leading to some minor pushing, seems inconsequential. Continue reading

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My COVID 19 Diary: Lose the “principal voice”

In leadership roles, we seek to employ the appropriate tone and vocabulary to suit the audience and the occasion. There are situations that call for a great deal of formality, that demand a straightforward harnessing of facts and a recitation of procedures.  Continue reading

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My COVID-19 Diary: Principal in the Coal Mine #2

Don’t try to “win the quarantine”. Compelled to remain at home, the restless school leader conjures a host of what seem like reasonable ideas to make an impact during this unusual time. Be suspicious of this instinct.  Continue reading

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My COVID-19 Diary: Goldilocks Tasks

In layman’s terms, this is often referred to as the Goldilocks Principle, not too hard, not too soft.  Your nine-year-old is clearly not excited about cleaning that nasty area behind the toilet in your basement, a burden you’ve been putting off for months, and with good reason. The task should have a finite goal and be sufficiently challenging to take at minimum one hour and ideally an entire day, yes 24 hours! Continue reading

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My COVID-19 Diary: Principal in the Coal Mine

As a middle school principal in the New York Metro area, I guess that makes me a  “Principal in the Coal Mine”.  So I’m going to offer just a few ideas for my colleagues who may be a week or two behind us here in New York (leaving open the possibility and the most ardent HOPE,  that we can ALL avoid the dire consequences of this pandemic). Continue reading

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My COVID-19 Diary: Friday un-Focused #2

My daughter’s idea: people can leave the house and go wherever they want but they have to always be riding a bicycle. If you get closer than 6 feet you’ll probably crash, so it’s mostly safe. I told her I would inform the governor. Continue reading

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