Taking Risks in a New School year

By Bridget Belcastro posted 08-21-2017 12:46

The title of this blog post isn't subtle. I have been wanting to begin writing a blog for a while now. While I feel like I have great professional conversations regularly, I wasn't sure that I could come up with engaging content regularly. But much of the professional reading I have been doing this summer has been reminding me that taking risks is an important part of growth. In chapter 4 of George Curos' The Innovator's Mindset, he asks school leaders to to consider three questions. 

1. Do people often ask me for permission or guidance?
2. Have I created an environment where risks are not only encouraged but expected?
3. How have I highlighted the great work being done by our school to others in and out of the organization?

So if I am going to encourage risk taking in my own building, I think I need to practice what I preach. I reached out to Drew Thomason in the IPA office and asked for his help on using the IPA Connect platform for blogging. He was quick to help and here I am. I have no idea what this will look like to all of you who receive it, but thanks in advance for feedback. I am going to make this blog public and post it on my Twitter account. You can follow me @DrBelcastro.  

So as I sit in my office today, ready for a new school year to begin tomorrow, I am thinking about the risks I have taken this past calendar year. I'm fairly proud. With some teachers, we put together a pilot program in January to better support guided reading. With that success, I designed a new schedule for the coming school year to implement that pilot. Every student in our building will have guided reading every day for 30 minutes. To do this, we will utilize almost every adult in our building--even PE, art, and music teachers. Some of the staff are nervous, but everyone is willing to give it a try. I can't wait to see the results. Another risk I have taken is submitting a session for this fall's IPA conference. I am very excited to share with my peers some of the great stuff going on in my building. I still have almost half of the calendar year left. What risks am I willing to take moving forward? I have some great ideas. I'd love to start a district wide book study open to all employees. I am planning on using new-to-me technology to prepare for and run team leader meetings as well as staff meetings. What sort of risks are you taking this new school year? Best wishes for a wonderful 2017-2018 school year!