Explain where you stand in a sentence

Photo/Dennis Sparks

“There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.” —Jim Hightower

Effective school leaders and their school communities have a clear point of view about the uniqueness of their schools, a stand based on clear distinctions about teaching, learning, and relationships which usually does not leave them resting noncommittally in the middle of a philosophical road. And these leaders are able to express that clarity concisely and precisely in a single sentence, a clarity that distinguishes and focuses their work.

“Time and again, as I’ve gotten to know companies that are winning big in tough industries, I’ve been struck by the clarity and simplicity of the one idea that drives them,” William Taylor observes.

While achieving such clarity is essential, it is seldom easy. It requires patience and persistence in determining the school’s uniqueness and learning how to express it in simple and compelling language. Such clarity is usually best be achieved through writing and dialogue with others in the school community in a spirit of openness and mutual influence.

Take a moment now to . . .

• write a paragraph that describes in clear, accessible language the purpose and uniqueness of your school. Then reduce the paragraph to a single, compelling sentence.

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