We met Ashley Gorman, high school principal, when she presented on teacher self-care at our first conference. She made the trek from down south to KC, and her presentation changed a lot of us in the room that day. Plus, she's got a killer southern drawl, so be sure to read her responses with that in your head! :)
How do you promote equity in your building? We are working a lot on expectations - having high expectations regardless of a child’s circumstance. Sometimes in very small communities, it can be easy to lower expectations because you know a kid’s situation personally and your sympathy gets in the way. Our theme this year is HornetsTHRIVE, meaning every kid has the opportunity to learn to thrive, regardless of their circumstance.
What's the number one root problem you are currently working to solve? Collective Teacher Efficacy - teachers are struggling with mounting to-do lists, continuous high-stakes performance pressures, and their own confidence to meet kids’ needs. I want every teacher to believe he/she is a rockstar in their classroom. We’ve started tackling that by training and adopting a consistent, rigorous instructional model in every classroom.
How do you personally connect with staff members? Writing notes each week, stopping in during their planning to check in while I’m making classroom rounds. I try to spend our lunch hour in the lounge once a week just to hang out and have time when we aren’t talking shop.
What is your 'philosophy' on how to have difficult and direct conversations with staff? Praise first, be direct, be kind, show empathy, and offer support for the solution. And always take ownership for my part, whether I could have communicated better, given more support on the front end, or trained someone better.
What's your easiest/best tip for looking fly? Or your favorite must-have item right now!
LOL! Sleep and water! It took me a long time to buy in to getting enough rest; I’m still a work in progress, but learning to get more sleep helps me keep it together all week. That, and lots of big earrings!