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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Mile Markers

I recently returned from a trip to Boston. It's a journey of about one hundred seventy miles. A little over three hours by car, after accounting for any potential construction and traffic. The experience is not unlike the path we take in school when improvement is our destination. There's often unexpected construction and traffic before we reach our goal.

Beyond the technology that allows us to gauge our progress and project a time of arrival, there are other benchmarks that offer a perspective along the route. Many people may not recognize the mile markers that flank the median side of the highway as they whiz by these posts at regular intervals. These markers preceded the electronic devices many that motorists employ as guides, and they provide a more frequent indication of our progress than the large signs that dot the roadway and state distances until the next city. The markers reference each mile with a simple number that reflects

School improvement is an ongoing process that requires an enduring vision and unwavering commitment. There is a Chinese proverb that asserts, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." One method of fueling progress on that path involves success by approximation - opportunities to identify and reward achievements that represent incremental steps toward the metrics defining the improvement goal. The leader must make genuine attempts to recognize and acknowledge performance, constructive changes in behavior, and persistence among engaged stakeholders. Small but meaningful ceremonies (pot-luck meals), notes (positive reinforcement), tokens (preferred parking for a week...) can serve to reinforce efforts and sustain the group's energy.

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