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Leading to Reform: April 28

This week we examine Andy Rotherham’s take on Gifted Education. We also look at resilience in children, a teacher leader webinar, and principles for “followership” – in case you are finding people aren’t. As always we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.

Do People Really Know What Gifted Education is?
This week, Andy Rotherham writes about Gifted Education in Time. What exactly makes a child “gifted”?  In New York City, like many school districts, giftedness is decided by a standardized test that measures verbal and non-verbal facility. Score at the 90th percentile and you make the cut for some programs, but at the 97th percentile students become eligible for the highly competitive citywide options for gifted students. The problem isn’t the test, per se; it’s the false precision that comes with it.

There is no consistent standard — some experts say the top 10%, some say the top few percent (in which case, most of the children whose parents think they are gifted are merely talented.) In the case of New York City, does anyone seriously think that a student at the 96th percentile (or the 89th for that matter) might not benefit from gifted education programs, as well? It’s the scarcity of seats, rather than any rigorous definition of merit that is driving these distinctions.

Learn more at Time …

Raising Resilient Kids
The most common concern is the lack of resilience in youth. That today's children and young adults lack some inherent sense of internal strength, character and resilience those previous generations possessed. In a real sense, many wonder if we have raised children who are just too soft.

So what is resilience? Like most character traits, resilience is best defined by describing how it is applied in real life. Resilient people tend to possess:
  1. The ability to stand firm despite challenges, setbacks, delays.
  2. The ability to be undeterred by external circumstances and events
  3. The ability to `rebound'
It is important to realize that resilience has little to do with toughness and far more to do with strength. Where toughness is about the external, strength is about the internal. Where toughness is about appearances and coping mechanisms, strength is about values, principles and identity. With so much focus on preparing young people with the skills they will need in their adult lives, let's not forget to prepare and equip them with the character, values and strength they will truly need to flourish.

Learn more from Michael McQueen about raising resilient kids...

Teacher Leadership Webinar
Intrigued by the growing movement of teachers taking school leadership roles?

Then tune into next Tuesday's Education Week Webinar: "Exploring Teacher-Leadership Trends and Possibilities." In this webinar, experts will discuss what's behind the teacher-leadership trend as teachers increasingly take on "hybrid positions" that combine classroom teaching with other roles. Are school organizational structures finally shifting? How are schools redefining roles to leverage educators’ expertise and ambitions?

The webinar, which takes place on April 30, 2013 at 5 p.m. CST, will also explore how these transitions are best facilitated and what they mean for school culture, student learning, and career development in education. Register here ...

Four Principles of Followership
Former HP Executive Vice President, Vyomesh Joshi (VJ), was keynote speaker at last year’s gapCon.

A big takeaway from VJ’s talk was a question he addressed about the “keys to be a great leader.”  VJ paused and said that it’s not about leadership, the real question “followership” and that potential leaders should always ask themselves “Why would anyone want to follow me?”

Here are four key attributes to strong “followership”:

  1. Trust: Through everyday behavior  “followership” requires that the leader provides evidence that they can be trusted.
  2. Stability: Leaders with strong “followership” remain calm in the face of panic and give a sense of confidence to those around them.
  3. Compassion: Strong “followership” leaders have unrelenting passion for people and show empathy when those folks are enduring hard times.
  4. Hope: “Followership” requires that the leader have unwavering belief that their product/service will not only succeed, but will change lives.
Many times people are placed in leadership roles and inherently believe that their teams will follow them due to the title on their business card and not the substance of their character. Leadership is as much about being the person that people want to follow as it‘s about knowing where the team is headed.

Do you ever wonder why anyone would want to follow you?

If your high performers are exiting your team, look within instead of blaming or making excuses?

Articles for the Week:

"Is this what is best for a program and the children that it serves?” -- Howard Fuller

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