Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Inside the Magic Kingdom

Each year our Principal, Susan Phillips, includes a book as a gift to each faculty member on Opening Day. The book is related to our theme, but always has a message. By gifting staff with a book, she sets the tone that this is a school that reads! Along with the theme, this book gives us all a central focus to begin the year. This year's choice was Inside the Magic Kingdom: Seven Keys to Disney's Success by Tom Connellan. I have just finished reading the book. What did I learn?
  • "Just when everyone is saying how great you are is when you're the most vulnerable." The message to Chets Creek is not to sit on our laurels. If we begin to believe our own press, we lose the edge of what makes us who we are.
  • Little things make a big difference. Pay fantastic attention to detail. I have seen this played out again and again this week from the costumes and characters that greeted the children on the first day to the themed decorations in every single room. 
  • Pixie dust is the special feeling you have about a place. I guess Tinkerbell lives deep within my heart because I've certainly got pixie dust about Chets Creek! 
  • Everyone walks the talk. To work in a place where everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to make every single child successful is a dream come true for a teacher. Here I am surrounded by people who sincerely care about the children in their care. It makes all the difference.
  • Reward, recognize, and celebrate. We start every single Professional Development meeting with celebrations - just a reminder of all the good things that are happening each and every day. Our Principal recognizes our peers each week in her Memo, listing all those who go above and beyond. This is a reminder to me as a coach that I too need to continue to remember to highlight all the good things that are happening in Kindergarten. It's good to know every once in a while that someone really notices all the extra time and commitment.
  • The Disney organization will listen to anyone with a creative idea. This reminds me not to think that I always have all the answers, but to put my ego aside and to listen. Good ideas can come from anyone. If it's a good idea, I should use it and give credit.
  • It takes passion and commitment. One with passion is better than forty who are merely interested.
This is just one in a series of books each year that set the tone for how we will work together as a community of educators. From our first book study of Roland Barth's Improving Schools from Within to this year's choice, we are reminded once again that we are a family of readers who believe that together we can change the world, one child at a time.


Melanie Holtsman said...

I think Disney could learn a few things from us here at Chets Creek too! :) Melanie

Mrs.Mallon said...

Thanks for the great refresher article - it reminds me of our great first day back to school and helps to maintain our focus!!