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School Growth Blog

News, resources, and insights to bolster professional development
for educators and promote excellence in schools.

by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Professional Development, Podcast
When is an educated mind most dangerous? When it lacks a thorough knowledge of and disciplined devotion to the moral virtues that teach what is right, just, and fair. We've all known remarkably smart people who were crippled by corrupt character. ...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Leadership Resiliency, Podcast
Education is the continuous adjustment of curriculum, strategies, and relationships to stay on mission and sustain the best conditions for learning and growth. Success is the result of harmonious flexibility that resolves the inevitable tensions...
by: Scott Barron
Communication, Podcast
"I told you once!" How often have we heard or used that exasperated expression?Why do we have to repeat ourselves? Because we're talking to human beings?Because they're not paying attention?Because that's part of effective communication? ...
by: Scott Barron
Personal Reinvention, Leadership, Podcast
Unflappable is an adjective sometimes used to describe those who have a remarkable level of calm and poise regardless of the chaos swirling around them. While others may be nervous, agitated, or just freaked out, they remain composed and able to...
by: Scott Barron
Culture, Professional Development, Podcast
Superstitious beliefs and practices are common among those who put their faith in odd rituals to succeed and ward off the evil consequences that otherwise might arise. They say, wear, or do things to ward off bad luck: knock on wood, throw salt,...
by: Scott Barron
School Culture, Podcast
Our daily interactions with people vary in terms of the qualities of the encounter. On campus and in the community, some people have unique attitudes and skills. They have that personal touch. When we describe an artist, an athlete, or an educator...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Professional Development, Podcast
The end of the school year is usually full of even more surprises than usual. We call these last few months wildfire season because things get more fragile, tender, and even flammable. One little spark can produce uncontrollable heat for the...
by: Scott Barron
Professional Development, Podcast
At what point do we reach perfection? Or at least get so good at what we do, that we no longer need to practice, adjust, and improve? Never! Every athlete, musician, and educator is haunted by the fragility of their core skills. Talent doesn't...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership Resiliency, Podcast
Who doesn't want a magic life hack or little-known shortcut to solve a real problem? Social media is replete with videos and tips to simplify various tasks and activities. These Life hackers offer valuable solutions, but hackers come in very...
by: Scott Barron
Laws of the Grapevine
Inspiration can come in so many different ways and at very unexpected moments. It may hit you while in the shower, driving, listening to a speaker, or even during a dream. Inspiration often emerges through wisdom and experience. It's an instinct...
by: Tammy Barron
School Growth
Schools throughout North America and across the globe are discovering that the journey to authentic, sustainable excellence is simply greater.Greater Joy. Greater Unity. Greater Learning. Greater Success. Who doesn't want that?!? Check out our many...
by: Scott Barron
School Policy
Educational Pluralism and Democracy: How to Handle Indoctrination, Promote Exposure, and Rebuild America’s Schools is a new groundbreaking book by Dr. Ashley Berner that we highly recommend. She is the Director of the Institute for Education Policy...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture, Podcast
One of the greatest emotional, psychological, and theological challenges every one of us must face is our capacity to genuinely forgive and delight in the mastery of grace. In the last quarter of the school year, the opportunities for grace seem to...
by: Scott Barron
Culture, Podcast
Being an educator can be hard work.It's hard to give hard feedback.It's hard to make hard decisions.It's hard to change hard things.Highly effective educators have to get dirty and do the hard things. Few talk about the fact that education is a...
by: Scott Barron
Culture, Podcast
Foolishness is prized in some cultures on the first day of April, giving permission to deceive, pull pranks, and use practical jokes. Friends, colleagues, and family members will all try to trick us, so we have to be wary not to fall for it. ...
by: Scott Barron
Podcast
Educators understand that our best life most often occurs when we stop waiting on life to give us opportunities for growth and instead seek out relationships and resources to live on purpose. Life is short and remembering that fact enhances our...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture, Podcast
Have you noticed that Exceptional is one of those words that doesn't do well solo? It's a word that obviously needs a qualifier to more clearly communicate the intended meaning. Some people are exceptional for positive reasons, and some are...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture, Podcast
In the last months of the school year, educators are reminded, "Wait, there's more." We're not at the end yet, and the manner in which we finish defines our character. We start with great plans and expectations for the year, but then school happens,
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture, Podcast
We need dreams. Dreams are imagined possibilities that bring hope, energy, and excitement. We need dreams, and the experience of people believing in us is the greatest inspiration we can receive. It's the game-changer! They cheer us on even when...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture, Podcast
"What’s your sign?" Usually, that's a reference to folklore based on one's birthdate, where one’s personality and fate are determined by the stars. But in reality, we all formulate a different sign that is a telling measurement of the value we...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture, Podcast
Influencers are all the rage, using their platform to persuade people to purchase certain products, act a certain way, and repeat certain narratives. Regardless of their number of followers, I don't think any of them reach the phenomenal level of...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture, Podcast
A popular acronym among social media experts is IMHO: In My Humble Opinion. Have you noticed that whatever statement follows this declaration of deference is an absolute assertion of acumen that accompanies abrupt admission of acute arrogance? 😳 As...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture, Podcast
Harmony is a beautiful thing—both in music and within an organization. Think of the Beach Boys singing, “Good Vibrations.”Or Simon & Garfunkle's, “The Sound of Silence.”Or, my top favorite, “Seven Bridges Road” by The Eagles. Harmony is very...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
Disruptions and difficulties are part of the journey of life and are certainly encountered by educators. Our plans will be derailed. Weather. Illness. Random events. Personnel changes. It's often in those moments of unplanned interruption that...
by: Dr. Amy Swann
Benjamin Franklin once said: “A small leak will sink a great ship." Well, education leaders now face a widening leak that is significantly reducing the number of qualified teachers and other critical school roles. Retention of the right faculty and...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
We were at a board retreat in south Florida recently, where the nearby water was populated with a plethora of alligators. Most of those in attendance were from other states, so they were very interested in admiring the alligators—from a distance, of...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture, Podcast
In our travels visiting schools and other learning organizations, we occasionally encounter people who exhibit distinctive professional courtesy. During recent interactions with some school personnel, I've enjoyed the privilege of experiencing...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture, Podcast
Good News has a powerful effect on our personal mindset and overall school culture. When educators bring the good news, we fend off pessimistic vibes that may infect the campus, and we also improve mental health and well-being by promoting positive...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
Happy New Year, Y'all! If you think last year was an adventure, buckle up because it's about to get really interesting. Some like to start the new year by writing out some goals, but what if starting the new year off right could be more about...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
I recently enjoyed the privilege of interviewing my friend and mentor, Dr. Alan Pue. He's a life-long learner and long-term educator who served as a teacher, coach, administrator, and higher ed provost. He's also written three books on rethinking....
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
The wisest educators take advantage of the halftime break in the school year to rest and recreate, but they also reflect and recalibrate to raise their game personally and professionally. That begins by evaluating what adjustments could be made in...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
We celebrated with family recently up in the mountains of Western North Carolina. We watched football games, played cornhole, took naps, and enjoyed delicious food. Some like to ride through the mountains, while others love the test of climbing...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
It was fairly early during the massive disruption of the COVID pandemic that we found an even deeper calling for our organization. Debate raged over how to manage schools in the midst of the crisis, with a very vocal contingent endlessly condemning...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
Unhealthy competition and adversarial alliances will usually degrade school culture and limit the ability to learn and improve. While some tensions can be destructive, not all are bad. It may sound counterintuitive, but creative tension can be used...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
As educators, our mission in this life-changing work is way beyond just surviving. We want to thrive! But achieving that high level of experience requires energy and passion combined with habits of excellence that sustain both. Being human is hard....
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
Part of the adventure of life and leadership as an educator is really listening to people and learning the rest of the story, where we let them safely reveal their thoughts and motivations to deepen trusted connections. The most effective educators...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Podcast
Problem solvers get much of the glory: Heart Surgeons, First Responders, Plumbers, and so on. Their ability to fix us, resolve the crisis, and get us back on track is vitally important. Certainly, problem solvers are vital, but what if more...
by: Scott Barron
Relationships, Podcast
Cultivating respect and trust is fundamental to the mission of every school, but spending so much time together and knowing each other so deeply can produce a fragile environment. Research and experience demonstrates that the more people learn about...
by: Tammy Barron
Enrollment
Listening is a skill that’s vitally important for education leaders, helping us adjust our value proposition, story, tours, and plans based on strategically collected feedback from faculty, students, families, donors, and key partners. The beginning...
by: Alan Metcalfe
Are gathering spaces important? You bet! We know from research and from experience the close correlation between personal interactions, job performance, and cultural quality. Campus spaces should be more than just a functional asset--they can become...
by: Tammy Barron
School Design, Enrollment
So, it’s May and you have successfully completed another admissions season and you have wait lists in every grade-Now it’s time to sit back, relax by the pool and take your much needed break........NOT!!!Many enrollment offices are working hard May...
by: Scott Barron
School Design, School Culture, Culture
How can we better utilize our campus features and the design of our classrooms and gathering spaces to foster community and advance our mission? That's the motivating question for school leaders across the country in every genre of education who...
by: Scott Barron
Administration, Leadership
We're starting 2023 with some Exciting News: Marketing and Communication services have been added to the School Growth portfolio, and we've enhanced our logo and narrative. We love educators and enabling the path to their dreams. Sustaining...
by: Scott Barron
Administration, Leadership
Interpretive Master Planning (IMP) is uncommon among educators, but it offers a transformative approach to school design that aligns closely with strategic planning and campus master planning. In light of the leadership's desire to create a...
by: Scott Barron
School Design, School Culture, Culture, strategic planning
Did you know that a beautiful school has a harmony that uplifts the soul? It's true. We've witnessed the difference. And, this isn't an experience that is limited to an elite few. Using an integrated approach to planning and design, a dynamically...
by: Scott Barron
Administration, Leadership
School growth and improvement is an elusive goal that many pursue but confusion lingers among boards and administrators about what success looks like. What should be measured to learn and improve? What matters most? How do we win? Tensions and...
by: Scott Barron
"Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools." (Jim Collins, Good to Great) And the primary reason good schools remain...
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by: Scott Barron
Leadership Retreat
Leading a school is extraordinarily stressful without a cohesive team that has clarity, communicates expertly, and consistently executes day-to-day. Motivated by the hope of working with such a productive team, schools across North America ask us to...
What is a Strategic Growth Plan
by: Scott Barron
Board Culture, Strategy
The words "School Strategic Plan" often strike fear in the heart of a head of school, principal, or superintendent because they've suffered through the nightmare of a planning approach that miserably fails to recognize and strengthen the complex...
by: Scott Barron
School Culture, Leadership
Inspiration can come at the most unexpected times. In September of 2020 we hosted an online symposium for school administrators on sustaining a healthy school culture in the early stages of the pandemic. The mood among these leaders wasn't good―...
by: Scott Barron
School Design, School Culture, Strategy
We are constantly searching for new strategies to grow schools and elevate the culture for educators. Every now and then we learn about a concept or an idea that we believe is going to have a big impact. That's what happened when we met Alan...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership
Why are you an educator?Is it because you experienced the joy of learning in your formative years and want to pass that on to the next generation?Is it just a job that pays the bills?Does it give you the opportunity to achieve a greater purpose? For...
by: Tammy Barron
Enrollment
Consider the following statement when thinking about your next board retreat: "If my school board would _______ we would be 100% more effective.” The purpose of asking the board to set apart time for a retreat is to reset. It’s a time where the...
by: Tammy Barron
Enrollment
Market pressures have elevated the importance of enrollment leadership because for most schools, tuition revenue drives all other plans for the school. There have never been so many competitors vying for the same families, and as education...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership
Josh McDaniels has grown in wisdom. Through the school of life, he’s learned that people and culture are the crucial foundation for the success of a leader. During the introductory press conference, he shared some insights that are are worth noting.
by: Scott Barron
Leadership
We share your passion for learning as a leader of educators. Through our research and professional development, we've developed a bibliography that is required reading for all members of our team. These books offer insight into the best practices...
by: Scott Barron
Talent
Never before has so much been expected of educators. All the strategic planning and school expertise in the world failed to anticipate the overwhelming and disruptive impact of COVID on our people and systems. But that's not all. Many are finding it...
by: Scott Barron
Fundraising
Did you know that charitable donations to education continued to be strong in 2021. That's great news for your donor development plans! Knowing who gives the most and how they like to give is important intelligence. Check out this webinar with...
by: Scott Barron
Administration, Leadership
The pain is real. ADCD is a plague to school leadership. One crisis gets resolved and then another pops up, so our plan for the day gets wrecked and we end up playing "Whack-a-Mole" trying to stay slightly ahead of the game. But that's no way to...
by: Scott Barron
School Growth, Leadership, Strategy
Education leadership is an unusually complex responsibility that requires intelligence, wisdom, and hard work. Perhaps what our schools need most isn't another strategic plan, but rather a strategic organization where unity and trust prevail. “One
by: Scott Barron
Leadership
The enrollment season for next year has begun, and a healthy school culture is the foundation on which a Growth Plan is rooted. The best culture is created by design, with a unified team that has mastered the art and science of listening. Consider...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Relationships
In our August workshops to launch the new school year for schools throughout the U.S., educators are focused on three questions to make this year even more successful:1. Are we on the pathway to Authentic, Sustainable Excellence? 2. What could...
by: Scott Barron
Enrollment
Parent Ambassadors are a core part of our enrollment growth strategy, but how do we maintain healthy relationships and maximize engagement with them?
by: Scott Barron
Leadership Retreat, Board Retreat
When do we slow down enough to restore our people and relationships? When will authentic dialogue take place to more effectively grow? Our pace of life as education leaders is stressful and unhealthy, yet we also know how important it is to...
by: Scott Barron
School Culture, Board Culture, Leadership
I got that summertime, summertime gladness Su-su-summertime, summertime gladness Got that summertime, summertime gladness Oh, oh-oh, oh-oh The summertime gladness of educators is extremely joyful this year, but also mixed with a curiosity about...
by: Scott Barron
School Design, Board Culture, Leadership, Strategy
Educators are the ultimate "knowledge workers," unique in their ability to solve complex problems and develop new ways to enable growth. Yet they continue to languish in an industrial approach to school leadership and design where the physical...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Culture
Life happens quickly in real-time. Sometimes we mess up and there's no way to rewind and say, “Hey, let's do that over. That's not what I meant to say or do.” Growing as a leader requires recognizing that rewind isn't available--you can't go back...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Strategy, Leadership Retreat
Putting "Excellence" on the website or in the mission statement doesn't make it true. Excellence starts with a resolute commitment to stop doing average. Stop doing what average schools do.Stop doing what average leaders do. Your calling as an...
by: Scott Barron
School Culture, Leadership, Leadership Resiliency
2020-21 was a big year for leadership growth among administrators and boards. The culture and brand of the school are most vulnerable during these high-stress periods.We've seen so many institutions refocus on the human aspect of school leadership...
by: Scott Barron
Enrollment, Marketing, Strategy
Prince the Peacock was beautiful, with blue and green feathers that were a sight to behold. We met him over the weekend at the Warm Springs Inn (which we highly recommend, by the way) in Wenatchee, WA. Despite all of his investments in marketing...
by: Scott Barron
Board Culture, Professional Development, Leadership Retreat, Board Retreat
I read lots of mission statements.Perhaps that sounds a bit weird, but the mission statement can be an interesting view inside what's going on deep inside the organization. The Piedmont School has a concise, clear, and compelling mission that really...
by: Scott Barron
Enrollment
Who should be recruited to serve as a Parent Ambassador? That is a frequently asked question as enrollment directors are implementing or improving their efforts to involve parents in the student recruiting process. Here are three criteria to help...
by: Scott Barron
Board Culture, Strategy, Leadership Retreat
The first quarter of 2021 is almost complete, and it's been a great start to what we believe will be one of the most exciting years in school leadership. You've been walking through a hard journey while carrying a heavy load, making it hard to look...
by: Scott Barron
School Design, Strategy
Derrick Willard and his team are leading Augusta Preparatory Day School on a journey to Sustained Excellence. Even through the enormous challenges of the last year, they have remained focused on the goals to elevate the culture and instill a...
by: Scott Barron
School Design, School Growth, Strategy, Leadership Retreat
Her stress level was off the charts. Frustrated with what they felt was a lack of leadership and too many unfinished plans, some members of the board were boldly raising the stakes. They wanted a clear plan to grow enrollment and restore confidence...
by: Scott Barron
Professional Development, School Improvement
It's likely that you became an education leader because you know that learning is a lifelong journey. You also realize that talented, energized, engaged educators are the most effective way to grow enrollment and culture. But how do you invest your...
by: Scott Barron
School Growth, Faculty, Professional Development
Tammy and I enjoyed a lovely Valentine's Day touring the vineyards of North Georgia. Not the same as Tuscany or Napa Valley, but the mountain terrain was beautiful and the food was delicious. Learning to love educators is a crucial part of growing...
by: Scott Barron
Enrollment Marketing through Your Ambassadors is a critical part of your growth plan. Utilizing ambassadors among your board, faculty, parents, and students is a proven way to generate more enrollment inquiries. We've shared an eBook on how to...
by: Scott Barron
Board Culture, Leadership
Undeveloped negotiation skills contribute to the downfall of too many educators, but these are skills that can be easily learned and mastered. You can be a problem solver who creates win-win conversations and agreements rather than competitive...
by: Scott Barron
Board Culture, Leadership
What's your leadership report card for 2020 that will build confidence with your board, faculty, and families? Your communications about this year may say that you managed to survive--or you could demonstrate through the evidence of your data that...
by: Scott Barron
Enrollment, Human Resources
You are in control of your own destiny as a school leader. You can intentionally choose the people who are on your team, the type of culture in which you work together, and how you will deliver on your mission. Strategy is a choice and the...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership
A dangerous deficit has emerged in the leadership of schools, and it is a major limiting factor in the ability to successfully adapt to the realities of facing educators today. Stop ignoring the warning signs--if action isn't taken soon, the...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership
What's next in your Growth Plan? That's the question your board and stakeholders are asking even as the struggle against the pandemic and other challenges continues to consume your time and resources. They need to know that you're taking them...
by: Scott Barron
School Culture, Leadership
From their research of school growth and performance over the first half of 2020, The Fordham Institute shared, "Five things schools thriving during Covid-19 have in common." These traits offer valuable insight, and we added one more that is...
by: Scott Barron
School Culture, Enrollment, Board Culture, Leadership, Relationships
Testing is a big deal these days. Testing for a contagious disease. Testing for student progress. How about a school ambassador test? Your school needs board members, employees, families, and donors to test positive for willingly and energetically...
by: Scott Barron
School Culture, Strategy
What are educational leaders learning during 2020 that will produce positive, long-lasting impact on schools? School Leaders are making substantial changes to their strategic plans based on their experiences so far this year. Dr. Ashley Berner...
by: Scott Barron
Communication, Leadership
We’re looking for every option available to open schools and keep them open for everyone’s benefit, and we recently learned about a new COVID/infectious disease management solution for schools offered through Educator-Resources that is actually very...
by: Scott Barron
Administration, Marketing, Strategy
While some experts have advocated for a three-pronged approach to school competitive strategy around Price, Product, and Process, even greater market advantage is gained through the development of Proximity. Families are far more attracted by your...
by: Scott Barron
Marketing, Leadership, Strategy
News that Matters to Educators:1. Heads Conference reveals confidence in getting back to normal2. Leaders of a small business in KY just paid $150,000 as a ransom to regain access to their computers and data3. The U.S. is officially in a recession,...
by: Scott Barron
School Culture, Board Culture, Leadership Retreat
“Just like a bad relationship, our communication has broken down. You aren’t listening,” said Shawnee Mission School District teacher Amanda Coffman back in February 2020. Teachers across the U.S. have been saying the same thing to administrators...
by: Scott Barron
Administration, Board Culture, Leadership Retreat
"Are we supposed to be thoughtful or busy?" That important question was asked by a board member at a recent Leadership Retreat we facilitated. Balancing activity with mindfulness will always be a challenge for school leaders, especially in times of...
by: Scott Barron
Administration
School administrators come from different professional backgrounds: Some from the classroom, some from business, some from military service, etc. This week we celebrate two post-military service leaders who have distinguished themselves with success...
by: Scott Barron
Board Culture
What questions should the board use to evaluate the school's leadership in 2020, especially in light of the current societal and economic disruptions caused by the pandemic? That's an inquiry we received last week that is important for all schools...
by: Scott Barron
Enrollment
What do you know about your target market of families? Everyone has a confirmation bias that clouds objectivity and the ability to genuinely listen. Cognitive bias isn't new, but it can be a huge barrier to your ability to innovate and grow...
by: Scott Barron
Communication, Leadership, Laws of the Grapevine, Leadership Retreat
As an avid reader of the School Growth blog for many years, I thought that having Scott Barron speak at our annual board retreat would be an excellent way to inspire and challenge our board. We had no idea how fortuitous that training would be,...
by: Scott Barron
Communication, Leadership, Laws of the Grapevine
We're hosting the third and final webinar today on FLOW. (CLICK HERE to Learn More) During leadership retreats and association events over the last few years we facilitated a self-assessment of Organizational Health. Over 90% of these leaders...
by: Scott Barron
Communication, Leadership, Laws of the Grapevine
(Continued from previous blog article) I was in the stands cheering at that middle school game, but left shortly thereafter to attend another school event. So I didn't hear the coach's pronouncement about the players and cheerleaders wearing their...
by: Scott Barron
Communication, Leadership, Laws of the Grapevine
It took me by surprise I must sayWhen I found out yesterdayDon't you know that I heard it through the grapevineNot much longer would you be mine Remember the last time you felt that pain--the embarrassment of hearing news through the grapevine that...
by: Scott Barron
Leadership, Leadership Resiliency, Strategy
What will you accomplish by June 30 that would advance the quality and sustainability of your school? That's the question your leadership and board should be prepared to answer ASAP! Free Webinar on how to create a 90-Day Crisis Response Plan
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