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Over the first few months of school I've had the opportunity to meet some wonderful children.  Each child having unique qualities, abilities and needs.  As a teacher I always prided myself as being able to connect with the most "troubled" "difficult" or "at-risk" child through the power of compassion and relationship building.  Now, as a Principal, I'd like to challenge myself, along with all educators, to make it your goal this year to "Make a Difference" to ALL your students, especially that student that may be in danger of falling through the cracks.  I was inspired to write this post after viewing the following video courtesy of  Heart Productions & Publishing by Mary Robinson Reynolds.

Please take the time to watch this video- it will impact you as an educator, parent, & human being.  It is my hope that everyone who reads this post (& watches this video) will then share their success stories with the world.  

Make a Difference Video

As I reflected upon the video, I thought of some of the kids at our school and how I would begin to make a difference in their lives by building stronger relationships.  To me, it boils down to trust!  In the book "The Trust Edge - How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line" by David Horsager, the author points out how trust has the ability to accelerate or destroy relationships.  I believe this is especially true in connecting with our students.  I appreciated the "8 Pillars of Trust" highlighted in the book, and offer them to you as a resource.  They can be used in every day life as you build trust with your students, colleagues, parents, family, friends and loved ones.
The 8 Pillars of Trust
  1. Clarity: People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous
  2. Compassion: People put faith in those who care beyond themselves
  3. Character: People notice those who do what is right over what is easy
  4. Competency: People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant and capable
  5. Commitment: People believe in those who stand through adversity
  6. Connection: People want to follow, and be around friends
  7. Contribution: People immediately respond to results
  8. Consistency: People love to see little things done consistently 
 I look forward to discussing the book along with visionary educational leaders @mccoyderek, @DocSig, @Samfancera & @MrBernia as part of our twitter book club #edfocus.
A Story of Trust:
I was a 1st year high school assistant principal excited to be in school and happy to see her, and she was an 19year old 5th-year high school student very unexcited to be in school and extremely unhappy to see me.  She became a frequent flyer in my office, meeting each day to discuss the many teacher referrals & her corresponding "discipline."  Each time we met she would say" just suspend me, I don't want to be here anyway."  Then I would find that she'd do whatever she could so that I would suspend her, including giving me a few ~@#$ choice words.  
Then one day she was accused of stealing a pair of sneakers from another student.  I had strong evidence she was guilty, but wanted to build trust.  I asked her to tell me the truth - and promised her that if she did, I would not let anybody know she took them, I just wanted them returned.  I asked her to trust me.....and she did!  She handed the sneakers over and I kept my word.  The next day I found out she had stolen the shoes because she was homeless and had no shoes.  I knew this because she confided in me.  I began to help her find a place to live and provide her support.  I showed her I cared through my actions.  I began to meet with her "before" she would get a teacher referral, and not after.  We'd discuss the importance of graduation and what she needed to do to get there.  We enlisted some awesome teachers who gave her extra help and assisted her in studying.  Her last 3 credits were earned by attending Saturday school with me to take an online course.  On graduation day she hugged me, and I cried tears of joy.  Trust is hard to build, but can change a life - or 2 :)
I would love to hear your stories of TRUST!

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