Customized Solutions for K-12 Educators
When he talks to students at Yakima’s Lewis and Clark Middle School, Principal Victor Nourani’s message is clear: Public education is a gift — and an opportunity. Your job is to make the most of it.
The school serves a high poverty area. Ninety percent of the school’s students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
Nourani’s words are more than casual rhetoric. “I call this a country club,” says Nourani who is in his second year as the school’s principal. “I tell them this is a privilege we have in this country, that they are lucky to be here, that kids their age in Pakistan or some other countries are making soccer balls. I tell them they are in a great place that values education and taxpayers make sacrifices to educate them. I want them to understand the sacrifices made each day for them and that they owe it to us to come to school each day and learn.
“Our challenge is to make education important to our students and their families.”
Call that quintessential Nourani, a man who believes that with opportunity comes responsibility and that potential is meant to be realized.
Energetic, innovative and vibrant, he is a leader with a keen sense of possibility and a knack for instilling it in others.
Posted September 3rd, 2009 in Motivation
I was just flipping through an older version of our Coaching Guidebook and I found the Starfish Poem that we’d published on the front cover. I was struck by just how perfect and meaningful it is for us all as educators, coaches, parents, mentors, and friends.
Remember the Starfish as you enter into this new school year – your work is heroically important, never lose sight of that. Ever.
Once upon a time there was a wise man
who used to go to the ocean
to do his writing.
He had a habit of walking
on the beach
before he began his work.
One day he was walking along
As he looked down the beach,
he saw a human
figure moving like a dancer.
He smiled to himself to think
of someone who would
dance to the day.
So he began to walk faster
to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw
that it was a young man
and the young man wasn’t dancing,
but instead he was reaching
down to the shore,
picking up something
and very gently throwing it
into the ocean.
As he got closer he called out,
“Good morning! What are you doing?”
The young man paused,
looked up and replied,
“Throwing starfish in the ocean.”
“I guess I should have asked,
why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?”
“The sun is up and the tide is going out.
And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”
“But, young man, don’t you realize that
there are miles and miles of beach
and starfish all along it.
You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely.
Then bent down, picked up another starfish
and threw it into the sea,
past the breaking waves and said-
“It made a difference for that one.”
To start listening right away, just hit “play now” below:
The feedback from our first podcast was overwhelming and since it was so clear that listening to other educators talk about implementation was so powerful, we put together another one for you.
This time I spoke to Russ Waterman, Assistant Principal at Eastmont High School. Russ and I had a chance to discuss how Eastmont High School has been able to start a teacher-driven, grass roots movement around Powerful Teaching and Learning.
The interview is about 15 minutes long and we’ll have a transcript available in the next day or two in case you’d prefer to read along. Use the tools at the bottom of this post to listen directly from this page or in a separate pop-up, however you’d prefer. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback if you have a moment to leave a comment or send an email!
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