Welcome to Core Connections, a blog by Success at the Core. You'll find stories of best practices, inspiring experiences, and effective strategies related to leadership development, classroom instruction, and student engagement.
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Focusing on Instructional Leadership

Note: This blog was originally posted on the Teaching Channel website to introduce its learning community to Success at the Core resources. All links in the post take you to SaC materials on the Teaching Channel site.

“Teachers have a huge effect on their students. Great teachers inspire students to do more than they thought they could do, they help students make up lost ground, and they put students on the path to success. But teachers aren’t born knowing how to do this. They need help to become great … This kind of help comes from great school leaders …

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You Have to Want to Change

Change Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds, Sun Rays and Sky.

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” ~ Carl Jung

Change. Change is hard. Change is stressful. Nobody enjoys change.

For people to want to change, they must acknowledge a gap between their present state and a preferred future. It is human nature to resist change – often quite aggressively.

Rather than attempting to force a teacher to change their practice, we must inspire them to do so. This inspiration must be presented compassionately and without judgment. When presenting a colleague with an alternative future state, it is important that they perceive it as a …

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We're Aiming for the Super Bowl

I have been a huge Seattle Seahawks fan for as long as I can remember. For most of my 36 years, this has meant suffering through one disappointing season after another. Often, I felt like the only ‘Hawk fan on Earth!

Now that the Seahawks have become the darlings of the National Football League, fans are coming out of the woodwork! One reason so many fans identify with the Seahawks is clearly their winning record. I think it’s more than that, though. Many people clearly identify with the particular brand of teamwork that the “Boys in Blue” show, especially …

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Self-Coaching to Improve My Practice


“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment”

- John Wooden


In Washington state, we”ve implemented a new teacher and principal evaluation system (TPEP, for short). As part of TPEP, teachers self-evaluate, using a rubric that defines quality instruction and then identify goals for the upcoming school year. We are  evaluated based upon how well are we meeting certain criteria, including our goal criteria.

Several evaluation models are being used in the state (including those developed by the University of Washington, Marzano, Danielson) to help define quality instruction so that teachers and principals are speaking the same language.

I have found this evaluation process …

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Developing People Means Helping Them Find Their Voice


As this season of The Voice wraps up, with only a handful of contestants left, many of us have selected our top two or three favorites and tune in weekly to see how they perform under mounting pressure. Last spring, as I watched Usher work with Michelle Chamuel, I was struck by his passion and enthusiasm for her success. This season I have observed how the coaches work with their teams, including their song selections, their interactions with each contestant, and their techniques for “breaking it down.”

As a school principal, The Voice has given me insights about how principals work …

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