Change is difficult. Many studies have been done on people who need to make changes in their
lives. Maybe it is about losing weight, perhaps it is about remembering to keep track of income
tax related receipts, or it could be related to one’s health. Anyone who has tried and failed to
make changes that would improve their lives knows how difficult it is to change.
Multiply that by a couple of hundred people who are in one institution: our schools. Imagine
how difficult it is to get everyone on the same page, to make changes in instruction every single
day. Picture 230 teachers in your community, all of whom are trying to make changes that will
help students to be more successful in life. This is happening in Princeton, Minnesota.
It is as simple as this: if the adults in our district do not continue to learn, our students will not
increase their learning. The adults in Princeton Public Schools are united in their learning. We
all use the same instructional model. We learn together, then try the most effective strategies,
practicing by ourselves in our classrooms and having groups of teachers and administrators
come into our classrooms to give intentional feedback. We have professional learning
communities, where we assess how our students are doing, and educators giving each other
advice to improve. These are expectations in our district.
It is not enough to leave this important work to teachers. Principals and administrators are
expected to monitor the most important workthe work that is happening in the classroom.
Looking for support for teachers, to help them to be more effective, is their job.
I know for our district to improve, it is my responsibility to develop systems and structures for
teachers, administrators and staff to keep learning how to implement our instructional model. I
must keep a clear vision, to keep all of us focused on student achievement. I need to model an
orientation toward action, promoting curiosity and encouraging people to analyze and reflect
upon their practice. I must have a facility for persuasion when I communicate, and to keep in
mind the shaping of a healthy culture in our districtto remind us that we are there for student
success. That needs to be our highest value. All of this is supporting our district through
As a leader, I know it takes everyone. We are all pointed in the same direction. Every group of
employees must keep learning to become better and better at these roles:
● Custodians keep our school environments clean and safe,
● Secretaries make sure that communication is flowing between the staff and families, and
students are in attendance,
● Food Service workers provide healthy breakfasts and lunches for our students, so they
can concentrate on learning,
● Paras provide interventions for students,
● Technicians keep our computers working properly, so we can be more effective in
teaching and other supportive tasks,
● District level employees make sure bills are paid, employees are paid, and accountability
measures are reported to the state.
It takes everyone. By having everyone focus on student learning,there are cascading domains
of energy that help us all to impact better results. I know change is hard, but I am inspired every
day in my job, as I observe the adults in our district tackling change so positively, so purposely
and deliberately. It takes everyone.