Building A Culture of Achievement Takes Time and Effort


Over the years, the classroom has been looked at as the ground upon which learning is both fashioned and enhanced. Since the 20th century, we have seen the evolution of classroom settings from teacher-directed environments to inquiry-based centers. Technology has advanced, affording educators with opportunities to stay connected and engage students in active learning opportunities. There is high visibility for the profession in the media and change is in the air with catchy buzzwords like Common Core, DDI, APPR, and Race To the Top. But now, more so than ever, leaders have to hold their ground as the tides shift.

Recently, David Culberhouse moderated an energizing and impassioned webinar, Leadership and the Imprint of Your Impact. One of his statements resonated with me. “Change is hitting us abruptly and moving our organizations at a blinding speed... Great change is born out of frustration.” This is a timely thought in light of the recently publicized test scores that hit the news as crashing waves upon the Long Island shores. The fallout added to frustration with the system of accountability. Unfortunately, the hard hitting data diminishes the perspective of thriving, active learning classrooms across Long Island. While it cannot be refuted that the scores showed there is work to be done and room to grow, the reality is that the work of the core is hard work, as NYS Commissioner King has stated many times. Indeed, frustration can lead to change if a culture of achievement is not synonymous with testing. Discarding the fixed lens allows leaders and teachers to re-ignite their passion and drive to man the boat to new waters, pushing through the turbulence with vision and a growth mindset. With oar in hand, we can chart the course for building a sound culture of achievement rather than waiting for whatever washes on shore.  

But this cannot be accomplished as a solitary mission. With the three Ps in place, passion, purpose, and perseverance, leadership can move forward. Working collaboratively with staff, a culture of achievement can be built on solid ground even during frustrating times. Redesigning literate classrooms as thriving cradles of learning where rigorous and relevant inquiry-based opportunities engage students, allows for public perception to be renewed in educational systems. Classrooms filled with exploration, discovery, collaboration, and reflection led by reflective practitioners will calm the waters and lay the foundation for a strong culture of achievement built within the walls of districts. The promise of education is held in the hands of active leadership, passionate teachers, and an engaged community. Transformative change can come forth from frustration. Now is the time to turn the tide and chart new courses that change the trajectory for teaching and learning. Plot the route with critical thinking, problem solving, and determination as the guides.


Thanks goes out to David Culberhouse and the #satchat members who bring energy to my thoughts.

Enjoy because reading matters!


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Comment by Dr. Lynnda M. Nadien on August 25, 2013 at 11:49am

In chaos there is creation, as per the Chinese proverb, therefore, perhaps we can embrace the 'chaos' and move forward with intelligence to maintain, or regain our integrity as professional educators. I am willing to do whatever it takes again this year, ( 9 years as an elementary principal ) to motivate my staff, my children, our parents, but most importantly myself! I know that we are fully capable and perhaps the state could for a split second focus on our successes and remove the word 'failure' from the agenda. If I am the leader, I must feel a small sense of empowerment to focus on what is right for children and how to ensure they are ready for the future. I don't believe that anyone that I work with would walk through the door this week and believe anything less for themselves or our children. Onward and upward everybody!!





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