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  • Writer's pictureLaShawnna Harris


Congratulations, you’ve successfully made it through the first month of the most “normal” school year in a long time! I had the pleasure of visiting many of you last month. You have not skipped a beat when ensuring that students and families feel welcome.

Many of you have expressed hopes and dreams for the future of your school as well as concerns about the capacity of your team to achieve those goals. As the leader, it is your responsibility to create the conditions for people to perform at their best. That includes taking care of yourself first, then planning your work and working your plan. This newsletter is designed to share helpful tips, resources, and questions to get you and your teams thinking differently. I hope you find it useful, and if you have any suggestions for additions or changes, let me know.

Gems from LH

  • Improvement doesn’t just happen. You have to truly understand the problem you are trying to address, identify an intervention to solve it, have a thorough plan and execute it, monitoring your progress along the way. And, of course, you need to do this collaboratively.

  • When you visit classrooms, remember to gather evidence of student learning. It not only helps you highlight best practices but also supports in providing difficult feedback to teachers.

How effective can teaching be if students don’t learn what you intended to teach? What do you think led to this outcome? How can this be adjusted to meet students’ needs better?

  • Say, “thank you.” The people around you work hard to help you transform your school community. They want to know that they are appreciated, and it means a great deal to hear it from school leadership.

As always, I’m here to support you. So reach out if you need me.



Quote of the Month

“Assessment is not a spreadsheet-it’s a conversation” (J. Bower, 2015)

Improved Student Outcomes

One of you outstanding principals reminded me that I often ask, “So, how does that improve student outcomes?”

This section of the newsletter will highlight some questions and actions related to the current time of year. Making sure that expectations are clear and activities are aligned helps to improve student outcomes because people know what, why, and can be active participants in the improvement efforts.

Teaching and Learning Actions Resources

What consistent instructional practices should be evident across classrooms? How are those expectations communicated to teachers? What is your plan for progress monitoring? How are you collecting data on the things you want to measure? How have you communicated these plans to the school community?

Co-create and share instructional expectations with staff and families Review and revise annual periodic assessment and data analysis plan

Schedule a state of the school meeting at the end of your first assessment cycle Sample Instructional Norms and Expectations

What We Are Reading/Listening To



The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris (Book) Reflection activities and tips for developing your confidence.

Tools We Are Using

Objectives and Key Results: Adapted from the John Doerr book Measure What Matters recommended last month. Developing Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) to drive your work can help to ensure everyone is on the same page about what and why you are taking specific actions for improvement.

I created three sample OKRs that can help you get started. Try making one set for your administrative team and using it for a cycle at your school.

Professional Development Opportunities

If you are interested in learning from and growing with a small dynamic group of school leaders who will push your thinking and help spark innovation, join one of the Creative Station Masterminds. These groups are for leaders who are serious about personal and professional improvement and accountability. Space is limited. If you are interested, reply to this email for more information.

Organizations You Should Know About

Ebony’s Mindful Moves Culturally responsive meditation and yoga for adults and children

Why Hate Math? Why Hate Math is a math tutoring company that offers one-on-one tutoring, group sessions, and test prep to students in NYC and virtually anywhere in the world

As always, you can find us at, by email at, or on Instagram at creativestationnyc.

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