The Time Is Now

Session notes from “The Time Is Now,” led by Adam Welcome.

What was the speaker’s main message?

Adam’s message was extremely clear and powerful focusing on the fact that most things don’t get done because they don’t get started. Stop waiting for the perfect time, do it now! “The Time is Now” to putting your ideas into action. He also expressed that principals are really good at complicating things. Ideas and three steps to implement the idea should fit on a post-it note. Don’t over think it and don’t over plan it. Most important, if you can’t solve … let it go!

What was the speaker’s best quote?

  • “If you have an excuse about why you’re not doing something in 2023, it’s a lie!”

What were the top ideas from the session?

  • The best way to mess up a really good idea is to complicate it.
  • Lead for 25 years. Don’t lead the same year 25 years.
  • Create something now. You can always make it “better” down the road.
  • Where you start is not where you end up.

What is one strategy you will implement immediately?

Adam challenged us to make fewer decisions for the next few days (or once you’re back at school) and see how many of those decisions you didn’t need to make in the first place. He spoke about receiving an email from a teacher and not responding right away. When he passed the teacher in the hallway, he asked about the issue in the email and she responded, “Oh, it’s all good now.”

What is one strategy that will help you with instructional leadership?

As educational leaders, we need to fade things out of our school that no longer serve the students. While observing lessons, ask them about the purpose. Take a look at the initiatives in the building and choose 3-5 to do with fidelity. Stating that “Our schools can’t go out of business but they can become irrelevant for our students.” The students in our classrooms right now will be jobs and careers that aren’t even created yet. How are we, as educators, getting the ready for those different pathways?

What is one idea you want to learn more about?

It’s an idea that will look differently for each principal/teacher but something that is important in increasing the level of instruction. If there are activities that teachers don’t want to get rid of but have no purpose that aligns with curriculum and standards, what can we do to elevate that idea? He gave the example of teachers showing the Polar Express every year. It’s a tradition, it’s an easy activity before the holiday break but “what is the purpose?” To enhance the activity, invite workers from the local railroad to talk about different careers in the industry or have students design a train and print it on a 3D printer. These are great first steps to have this discussion with teachers about intent and purpose. 

I can’t wait to tell my teachers about this idea:

Worksheet-less Wednesdays! “If Alexa or Google can answer the questions we’re asking our students, we need to be asking them different questions.”  Instruction needs to be innovative and should involve research, communication, and collaboration. 

Notes by Tara Falasco, principal of Blue Point Elementary School in Blue Point, New York.