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Tending Your Garden Well

March 17, 2016

I confess. Spring is my favorite time of year. Why? You ask. Because, this is the time of year that I get to focus on gardening and quality leadership conversations, and these are two of my favorite subjects.

At home in the garden, early spring is the time when I get to see the final fruit and the remains of last year’s labor and when I make note of what was accomplished or not accomplished last spring, summer, and fall. It is a special time when I tend to rose bushes and flower beds and reflect on the vision of what could be and the time when I lay my groundwork for the season ahead.

I look at plant performance and determine what stays and what goes and prune and train unwieldy vines back toward the goal of order and beauty. I consider the empty spaces and what might fill them to round out the hoped for vision. And, as I plan toward that vision, I consider what ‘supports’ or actions are needed on my part or the part of my ‘team’ to help ensure that the plants thrive. (And, by team, I mean my sweet husband, who is the sprinkler and fertigation master!)

So, what’s in your garden this spring?

As you walk the halls and look into the eyes of those precious children and your team, what are you seeing? Has there been growth and flourishing as you had hoped? Did your school ‘family’ have their eyes fixed on the goal ahead and were the supports and accountability in place to facilitate that goal becoming a reality?

Historically, spring is the time of year (really, now and through the summer) when leadership teams take their Quality Framework self-assessment* and we reflect together on what it will take in the coming months to support growth in the ‘gaps’ in their garden.

We walk through student outcomes, staffing and culture and reflect upon what barriers have hindered results and what structures or systems are in place to support growth. We consider self-assessment results and outcomes, and we strategize on how to establish or strengthen cultural norms and process standards.

Quality counts. The fruit of your labor matters. Whether you’re in the garden or in the school building, take time to ponder, prune, and plan. Prioritize time this spring to reflect comprehensively about what systems you have in place to support producing the fruit you hope to see grow in your school’s garden.

If you have not worked through your self-assessment, or if you would like guidance before, during or after the process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Strategic planning with leaders to support beautiful outcomes is my passion. Let’s walk through that garden together and map a plan for the season ahead.


*TCSA member schools have free access to the Quality Framework and data pack. The Quality Framework is an online, 10 system comprehensive evaluation of operational and academic systems and the data pack contains school and district specific, longitudinal state data regarding accountability, enrollment and demographics, state testing (including special populations), Similar Students Measure (SSM) and Student Growth Measure(SGP), as well as staff experience and salary comparison data. Accessed through our main website, this is your ‘garden shed of tools’ to help you assess, plan, and build infrastructure to support a healthy and flourishing garden.

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