Chapter 1 

  • Design a CPO for the next meeting you will be facilitating.

  • Design a Check In for your next meeting.

  • Practice listening for understanding in your next faculty meeting using this exercise: Break the group into pairs. Give this prompt to the group, “What got you into education? And what keeps you here?”  Each person will have two minutes to answer the prompt, and two minutes to listen to their partner. While listening you may only say two things: “Tell me more”, and “I don’t understand” Debrief with the group and focus on the experience of listening, and being heard

Chapter 2

  • Create a Remind group and begin to send out messages that require participants to respond to the message

  • Create a Principal Blog to share a learning dialog with your school community

  • Create a communication plan in collaboration with faculty, staff, and students. 

Chapter 3

  • Attend a local Rotary, Lion’s Club, or Chamber of Commerce meeting to talk about the things going on at your school. Build relationships with community business leaders.

  • Contact a local college/university and invite engineering and computer science professors to support robotics or coding activities with your students.

  • Find out if your local community college will support your students with a homework help line after school. You get extended support and they begin to build relationships with prospective students. 

Chapter 4

  • Use Google Docs or Survey Monkey to conduct an anonymous survey with your students. Ask them how they change the school structure, schedule, physical layout, and include some open-ended questions to get ideas you may not think of at all.

  • Conduct a school engagement survey, look for attitudes toward school and learning

  • Start a Student Forum to get feedback on your school from students. 

Chapter 5

  • Build your own PPLN and connect with local, national, and international colleagues.

  • Invite community members and business partners to come in as guest speakers to launch Genius Hour activities.

  • Use Aurasma to add a video introduction to each staff member’s photo for Back To School Night. Post the photos in the lobby of your school, on their classroom door, and send home via newsletter.

Chapter 6

Place a marker board in a public space and collect ideas. Nurture creativity with a prompt or problem, or allow authentic items to emerge.

Share your creative work with students and staff in small groups and ask students to do the same. You’ll be amazed at the number of students with their own portfolio of work.

Try some of the creativity exercises in the chapter with a colleague, share your results with others. Reflect on the learning for leaders.

Chapter 7

  • Write a letter, create a video message, or record a podcast message to your students

  • The DOT Project - lead the DOT Project in your school

  • Include a Faculty Feature in your newsletter and highlight a different staff member each time. Share their professional experiences, but also their hobbies, interests, and family life.

Chapter 8

  • Form a School Leadership Team and have the team focus on your school’s strengths

  • Collaborate with your School Leadership Team to establish norms, expectations, and goals.

  • Create a course in your Learning Management System for your faculty/staff. Include a section for staff members to share their instructional practices through short posts, pictures and videos

Chapter 9

  • Find a mentor that you can look up to, learn from, and confide in. If you already have one, schedule a meeting to discuss your reflections from this chapter.

  • Join together with 2-3 colleagues to host a book study and be sure to meet monthly.

  • Find a young school leader that you can mentor. Please share your story with us so we can feature you and the young leader on our website. 

Chapter 10

  • Get into classrooms - Visit at least three classrooms everyday.

  • Join on the Learning - Be a participant and learn alongside of teachers and students.

  • Learning Conversations - Be sure to focus conversations around the learning. Hold a learning conversation today.


Relate:  When schools miss the opportunity to know a student, invest in their life, and build a connection with them we become the worst example of a factory model.

If we cannot relate to each other we are simply turning out isolated learners. At the twenty-year reunion of this year’s graduating class, alumni will not be talking about how you taught them their ABC’s, or how to solve a word problem, they will not be reciting the sonnets of Shakespeare or the Preamble, and they probably will not be discussing logarithms before they toast to twenty sweet years.


But, they will be reminiscing about the relationships shared with teachers, coaches, principals, and other staff members. These relationships, and the environment of trust built together, allow a learning organization to change and grow. Engaging an organization in new learning and thinking requires clear, consistent communication and trusting relationships to nurture a culture of innovation.