Dr. Amy Platt is delighted to be the Head of School at the Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School. Amy is passionate about excellent instruction and working with teachers to be the talented professionals they are destined to be. Amy holds a PhD and an MA from the University of Toronto. When Amy is not at work she can be found on long-distance bike rides, pondering the larger issues facing education.

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Show Highlights

Podcast tips for an effective way to tell your school’s story.
Intentionally create impactful school life for your community with partnerships and social action projects.
Address the twofold cultures within every school to develop a unique, independent experience.
Master rigor and resistance by breaking the cadence.
Highly effective leaders approach the day with this mindset.
7 values of building school culture defined by our place in the world.
Build on success with stakeholders by creating relationships.
“What the teachers have found is that when we break the cadence and we keep the kids engaged, excited and happy, their ability to keep pace with their curriculum and maybe even move faster. They know that they sometimes have less time because all of these great things are happening with respect to school life. It keeps them moving quickly. It keeps them on their toes and it keeps them really engaged with their learning.”
- Dr. Amy Platt

Madeline Mortimore

Dr. Amy Platt’s Resources & Contact Info:

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Read the Transcript here.

Breaking The Cadence Of School

Daniel: At the end of each show, I ask a thought experiment. If you’re new to the show, here’s the question. You’re building your dream school. You’re not limited by any resources. Your only limitation is your imagination. How would you build your dream school or be your three guiding principles? I love this thought experiment because it asks Ruckus Makers to dream big, to dream without limitation. Maybe it’s unrealistic to build that school. But what if you could take some of those components and actually make it a reality? That’s the beauty of the question. Plus, it’s really interesting to talk to high level educators and people outside our industry to see how they would go about the business of building a school. Today, one of my favorite Ruckus Makers in the world, Dr. Amy Platt joined me on the show because she did this. Her dream was to add a middle school component to her K-6 building. She’s here to unpack what it was like to build that school. What was the vision that drove the energy behind it? The stories she had to tell, the relationship she had, the build to make it an easy win for the community. Sit back and relax. You’re here to get super duper inspired on today’s show, and I’m so glad you’re here. Hey, it’s Daniel, and welcome to the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast. A show for Ruckus Makers, those out of the box, leaders making change happen in education. We’ll be right back after some messages from our show’s sponsors.

Daniel: Take the next step in your professional development with Harvard’s Certificate in School Management and Leadership. Learn from Harvard Business and Education School faculty while you collaborate with a global network of fellow school leaders. Programs run October 12th to November 9th, 2020 to apply by Friday, September 30th for our upcoming cohort at BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com/Harvard. Are you automatically tracking online student participation data during COVID? Innovative school leaders across the country have started tracking online student participation using Teach FX because it’s one of the most powerful ways to improve student outcomes during COVID. Especially for English learners and students of color. Learn more about teacher facts and get a special offer at Teachfx.com/BLBS. All students have an opportunity to succeed with Organized Binder, who equips educators with a resource to provide stable and consistent learning, whether that’s in a distance, hybrid or traditional educational setting. Learn more at OrganizeBinder.com.

Daniel: I am joined by one of my favorite Ruckus Makers of all time, Dr. Amy Platt, who will talk about her literally building her dream school and a bunch of other interesting things that I think you’ll find useful and helpful and inspiring. But Dr. Amy Platt is delighted to be the head of the school at Paul Penna Downtown Jewish State School. Amy is passionate about excellent instruction and working with teachers to be the talented professionals they are destined to be. Amy holds a PhD and a master’s from the University of Toronto. When Amy is not at work, she can be found on long distance bike rides, pondering the larger issues facing education. Amy, welcome to the show.

Dr Amy Platt: Welcome. It’s so nice to be here. Danny, we’ve rescheduled this a few times, so it’s great to finally make it work.

Daniel: My friend JB says you can’t make up real life, so I think that’s happened. But here we are and we’re going to record something wonderful for the Ruckus Maker listening. Since we’re talking about recording and you let me know, I didn’t know this. In between rescheduling, I guess you have started a podcast for Paul Pena. Tell us about the why of starting the podcast and how is that journey going for you?

Dr Amy Platt: The podcast is great. It has been something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, probably inspired by you and the Mastermind. I remember many years ago one of our fellow Ruckus Makers, Demetrius, talking about a podcast that he had at his school as a way to really help tell the story of the school. What we’re going to talk about today is the building of the new middle school. One of the things we’ve thought a lot about this year is what all of the stories of middle school and how do we tell them in different ways? We spend some time at the beginning of the year thinking about what were our main messages that we wanted to make sure we got out to our school community to help them understand what the middle school was about, what retention could look like through grade eight, what it looked like to share with the the greater downtown community kids who might be interested in joining the school so that they could be on this pathway to graduate from grade eight. And then the larger community of donors and people who wanted to help support our mission, to make sure that we had the funds to do this all in a really valuable way. The podcast seemed like a great way to tell the story. At the same time, we have a wonderful young communications coordinator, and her background is a radio and television degree, and she knows lots about radio and podcasting. She had been wanting to do some podcasting. One of our board members and probably the chief champion of the middle school, so much of his business revolves around podcasting. He’s really become a niche podcaster and sort of a business sector. When all that came together, we launched the Pop Up podcast this fall. We drop episodes generally every two weeks. We’ve created a content calendar for the year, aligned with different holidays, events at the school, key enrollment points, things that are important and helpful. The episodes are all under 22 minutes, and if you listen to them one and a half times, they’re really bite size and easy to listen to on a subway ride or a dog walk or just around. And it’s just been a great way to have conversations with different people in the community. Highlight teachers, students, our Israeli emissaries. It’s just been a really, really great and successful experience for us.

Daniel: I’m going to hit subscribe once we stop recording here. I can’t wait for that. I don’t want this to turn into a podcast about podcasting, but I do have one more follow up question which just would be so that the voice of the podcast is that you do bring in faculty, do you bring in students? And then the follow up question to that would be for the Ruckus Maker listening, who hears you? Okay, this is a way to tell my community story because everybody’s telling a story?And if it’s not you architecting it, then it’s somebody else. And so maybe what’s been the biggest challenge you didn’t predict in terms of getting a podcast off the ground.

Dr Amy Platt: The voice of the podcast is me. Jay, who’s our board champion, he’s sort of the narrator, he’s the whatever, the moderator of the podcast. I’m almost always there with him and then we invite different people to be with us to tell the story we’re looking to tell. Every podcast has some guests. We’ve had students, new students to the school, one podcast. We highlighted a great math project that the Grade six students had done. We had the math teacher and two grade six students. The we’re recording this in early May, the last podcast we dropped connected to Israeli Independence Day, and we have two young Israelis who spend a year serving in the school. So they, along with a teacher and the vice principal, were guests on the podcast. The next podcast will be about our school musical. It was the musical director who was the guest on the podcast. So that’s sort of how we’re organizing it right now. I’m almost always there to make sure that I’m sort of weaving together the information, and then we’re bringing in special people to share little pieces of the story of the school.

Dr Amy Platt: My advice about building a podcast would be make a plan so it feels like a good idea, but time quickly passes and if you don’t know what it is you want to do and who you want to bring and you don’t have content ready to go, every two weeks will come and go very quickly. What I love about what we’ve done is we don’t just meet to podcast, we meet once a month to say, “Okay, what is the plan for the podcast for the next six weeks? “We’re now planning out from now until the end of June. We’ll break for the summer and then we’ll come back again in early September. We have a plan. We have somebody whose professional role it is to produce the podcast, and that involves making sure we have the guests, creating the questions, prepping the questions. It’s not just something you can do. You really need to prepare for it. So that’s what I didn’t expect was the time it would take to prepare the podcast.

Daniel: A lot of design and intentionality and getting that runway is an important piece. Like you said, we’re recording in May, but this show doesn’t drop until September m and I love that because it allows me then to focus on other projects and the business of running BLBS. I really appreciate that. Last thing about podcasting, too. It can change your life. Amy. I found out three weeks ago that Better Leaders, Better Schools is a top 0.5% podcast globally! Almost out of 3 million shows. And the school leadership series, that one’s nothing to laugh at either. That’s a top 3% show. I just wanted to celebrate those two recent wins I found out regarding the shows. Let’s talk about designing this school. Correct me if I’m wrong, Paul Pena had mostly an elementary. Could tell us the grade levels that it spanned, but you wanted to add a middle school component to it. Tell us what was the reason behind that?

Dr Amy Platt: Helping out has almost always been a K-6 school. It’s important to know as part of this story really, because in some ways it was an emotional obstacle for people to overcome that. There were three or four years in and around maybe 2008 to 2012 that Paul Pena had tried in middle school before and it had a really emotional impact on the community when that closed. For me to show up in 2017 and start talking about a middle school again was hard for a lot of people to understand. People who are part of thecommunity love it. They choose the school because it speaks to them and their values. They love its location in the city. They love the urban feel. They love the intentionality of the values. They love what it stands for, and they love how it prepares their kids when they leave. But they also love that it ended at grade six and they had these options for middle school. My “why” was really clear. I believe that a K-8 elementary experience is an optimal experience. There’s definitely research to support that. I believe that kids don’t need additional transition in their school life at a time in their development that is so tumultuous, and that in order for kids to really learn to be leaders, it helps them to be in a place for middle school where they’ve grown up. They know people, people know them, and they can really aspire to leadership roles as opposed to starting in a new school in grade six or grade seven, having to really establish themselves, make new friends, get to know teachers. And before they know it, it’s time for high school. And they’ve missed that beautiful soft spot of middle school leadership. Also, in the context of this community, I really wanted to help prepare kids for high school, whether or not that was our local Jewish high school or independent schools or the wonderful public schools we have. I felt that we would better serve our community by doing the work of preparing kids for high school on our own. In terms of living our values, being able to live our values through those identity, solidifying years of the early teen years were important and that we couldn’t do the work we really needed to do when we graduated kids at the end of grade six, we needed a little bit more runway to do some really important work around values based education. The “why” was super, super clear. What was less clear was the path to get to a decision to open the school and that that was really the work of my first four years.

Daniel: Gotcha. Well, here you are building it now. Talk to me about intentionally creating school life.

Dr Amy Platt: We did a lot of work to make the decision to open the middle school, and that took about 18 months. And in doing that, we had to articulate vision over and over and over again. A piece of that vision that we had to articulate was about school life. This is being recorded in May at the end of the first year of grade seven. It will launch in September, the first year of an inaugural new graduating class. And these kids have had a wonderful school life. The middle school is small but not too small. It lives in its own satellite space about a block and a half away from the main school. And so that space in and of itself creates some elements of school life. The kids are there. They’re sort of in this encapsulated middle school. They come back to the main school for gym, they come back to the main school to use the chapel. We’re starting at the end of spring 2022, bringing the kids back together with elementary kids for assemblies. We’re doing a field day, those kinds of things that will now come back together. Building school life has been about thinking carefully about which teachers we brought into the school and what was the energy we wanted from the teaching faculty and what was their expertise, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom. Some of those key pieces of school life have been social action projects connected to our student council. How do we find people who have strong value sets around repairing the world and helping our community? Our school musical has been a huge piece of school life, so this is something we had tried to launch with our Grade six class in 2020, and of course there was no spring musical in 2020 and we’ve gone back to that. Having all of the middle school involved in this musical, performing it on a stage on June 1st, all of those things are just amazing and have been a key piece of school life. The third piece has been, how do we get the kids out of the building? One of the things we’ve talked about as an administrative team and a faculty and something I think is scalable or transferable to other makers far beyond my community, is this idea of breaking the cadence. Again, thinking back to planning the podcast we’ve planned. A school year to say how does each week break the cadence? We’ve thought about what field trips look like? We partnered with a local environmental organization to take the middle school kids on three full day local outdoor outings in our local parks, our local ravines. Toronto’s home of an amazing park called Hyde Park. People can look it up. We took them on a winter day. They were cold, but they came back to hot chocolate and we’re happy. We are going to take the kids at the end, beginning of June, for an end of year trip to Ottawa, Canada. Thinking about how we get outside? How do we continue to see the world? But how do we break the cadence and what does that mean? On this day that we’re recording, the kids are on a walking tour of a neighborhood near our school. If I think about next week, there’s a student council event that will break the cadence. We brought interest based clubs into school. That broke the cadence because every week, not every week, but on certain weeks, they’d have an hour and a half dedicated to interest based clubs in mixed groupings. So just breaking the cadence. And then there were weeks where we said breaking the cadence is actually doing nothing. Middle school has been so busy that just a week of full classes with no interruption suddenly felt like a break in the cadence. I think that’s what we’ve done to really build school life.

Daniel: You’re breaking your own cadence at that point. I love that example, too, because it illustrates what a powerful guiding or propelling question and how it can set the constraints for the type of school experience that you want to create. And you illustrated that through a number of examples. So that was really helpful. I appreciate that. It also connects to developing a unique culture. Is there anything you’d like to add in terms of what it means to develop that unique culture?

Dr Amy Platt: I think the culture of the school is twofold, and there’s the faculty culture and then the student culture. One of the things that has been so interesting in developing a unique student culture is this idea that when we get to middle school, we are actively recruiting new students. We love that we have full kindergarten classes and very high retention, but it’s natural for there to be some attrition in a private school. When we get into the grade four or five or six, we’re actively looking for new students to bring into their school. We talk about Hebrew language not being a barrier. The kids spend an hour and a half a day in Hebrew language instruction, but we’ve upped, staffed our Hebrew teachers so that there are extra Hebrew teachers around to help students new to the school who are beginners at Hebrew language, learn, catch up and be able to keep pace with their class. But I think what we’ve done has shaken up the social setting. Paul Penna is a small school, it is one class per grade. Right now we’re bringing in kindergarten classes at 25. Next year’s grade six class will be 25. We’re a big small school, but a small school nonetheless. When we bring in new school, new students, we shake up that social dynamic. And I think that creates a really unique student culture. I think the other thing that makes the school super unique is our downtown location. We’re located at a key intersection in the middle of a very big city. Our podcast is called Corner of Spadina and Bloor because we’re so defined by our location in space. I can imagine that Ruckus Makers listening from other big cities can picture busy downtown intersections and imagine a school there. So the school is located in the school wing of a community center. The middle school is located a block and a half away in the second story of a retail building, the kids in the main school have most recesses on the roof of the building, and daily they play on a university field. We’re located right in the heart of the University of Toronto campus. Our middle school kids have what we call off campus lunch once or twice a week, where instead of eating lunch in their classroom, they go out. They have to stay with partners. They have boundaries, but they’ve got 50 minutes to go and explore Bloor Street, which is an eclectic street of food. They come back with pizza and donuts and shawarma and all sorts of food. And so that also makes the school super unique and it builds independence. My daughter is currently a fifth grader in the school. She’ll go into sixth grade next year, and our friends marvel that she takes public. Kids at home from school with her friends. She’s not on a school bus. Most days she’s not picked up by a parent, caregiver or grandparent. But she and two or three friends ran out the door. They run into 7-Eleven. They grab a snack. They walk to the subway station and they take the bus home from school. And that’s what makes this culture so unique and that’s why one of our values we talk about seven values, but one of our seven values is place because we’re so defined by our place in the world.

Daniel: Yeah, that corner. I’m really enjoying our conversation regarding building this dream school and adding the middle school component to it. We’re going to pause here just for a quick message from our sponsors when we get back. I want to talk about rigor. We’re building this dream school, how that relates to the academic experience of your students. Take the next step in your professional development with Harvard’s online certificate in School Management and Leadership. Learn from Harvard faculty without leaving your home. Grow your network with fellow school leaders from around the world as you collaborate in case studies of leaders in education and business programs run October 12th to November 9th, 2020 to apply by Friday, September 30th for our upcoming cohort at BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com.Harvard. During COVID every teacher is a new teacher. That’s why innovative school leaders are turning to Teach FX whose virtual PD is equipping thousands of teachers with the skills they need to create engaging, equitable and rigorous virtual or blended classes. To learn more about Teach FX and get a special offer. Visit Teachfx.com/BLBS.Today’s show is brought to you by Organized Binder. Organized Binder develops the skills and habits all students need for success during these uncertain times of distance learning and hybrid education settings, organized binder equips educators with a resource to provide stable and consistent learning routines so that all students have an opportunity to succeed, whether at home or in the classroom. Learn more at OrganizedBinder.com. We’re back with Dr. Amy, and she is building her dream school. Paul Pena was the K through six. Now they added something. Next year we’ll have the eighth grade component. So congrats on that. Amy, let’s talk rigor and the academic component of your school and how you go about thinking about it. One thing I consider too, and this might not be true in your staff, but I know often when leaders want to break the cadence, so to speak, those are your words. Sometimes staff members are like, “Oh, I’ve got so much to do, so much to cover.” And they start wrestling with that because it’s challenging the way they view education. I’m curious how the staff responded, but also how you integrate rigor into the academic experience.

Dr Amy Platt: Rigorous, so key. In the last five years, rigor has been really something I have been incredibly focused on from kindergarten through grade eight. We’ve talked about rigor with our staff. When we thought about what were the key messages about this middle school that were so important for the world to know? High school preparedness was one of them, and you can’t be ready for high school without rigor. We identified a few different ways that we could make sure that the middle school remained vigorous and prepared kids for high school. One of the key places has been in math. We’ve looked at our math curriculum, starting from kindergarten in numeracy in particular, and said, “How can we push that curriculum?” We don’t want to advance the whole math curriculum, but for lots of reasons. In Ontario, advancing the numeracy curriculum was important. The leap from grade eight to grade nine math in Ontario is a really big leap. There’s an unspoken curriculum. It’s not written in the Grade eight curriculum, it’s not written in the Grade nine curriculum. And there’s just sort of this assumption that kids will come into Grade nine with a set of math skills ready to go. We’ve identified what those skills are and we’ve backed up. Our goal is that when we get to grade eight next year or this year, this one will drop. Our grade eight will finish their Grade eight math year, learning the first numeracy curriculum of Grade nine. We’ve intentionally said we want to teach some grade nine, we want to create a rigorous math experience. We want the kids to feel really confident and be really competent when they go into high school math. We know that that is a place that helps kids. Defining their own academic ability is how they’re doing in math, and we want to build up their confidence. The other thing we’ve been able to do is partner with a local credit granting organization. Our grade eight students this year are taking Grade ten history as an after school course so that when they graduate from Paul Pena, they’ll already have one high school credit. This will allow them perhaps to take a spare when they’re in grade ten, but more likely it will allow them to take additional electives. They’ll have Grade ten history under their belt and they’ll be able to use that space in their schedule. The other thing we’re doing with that course is that we’re we’re able to work with the credit grantor and some curriculum that they’ve developed to add an additional Jewish content so that for our kids, for whom grade eight will be the end of their formal Jewish education, they will get some Canadian Jewish history as part of that Grade ten history credit that they otherwise wouldn’t get. We feel like we’re just giving them a little bit more knowledge to go out into the world with. So that feels exciting. But knowing that most of our graduates are going to be taking Grade ten history as an after school program through the school, it’s really pushed us to say, “What do we need to do with our social studies to make sure that the kids have the skills that they need to engage in that kind of learning at that level?” And so that has also pushed us in terms of rigor and that with our language program, English, Hebrew and math, but in particular English, Hebrew and French, but in particular Hebrew, knowing that some of our kids are going to go on to our Hebrew high school has really pushed us to say, “How do we make sure that they’re ready to be in classes with kids from other Hebrew elementary schools throughout our city, and that they show up well and proud and confident and competent with their Hebrew school skills?” We’ve looked carefully at our Hebrew program and we’re really thinking again from kindergarten through grade eight, what’s that scope of learning to make sure that our kids are really ready?

Daniel: Was there any sort of staff resistance or obstacles that you had to overcome when it comes to this focus on rigor?

Dr Amy Platt: There’s definitely no resistance around a focus on rigor. The teachers are excited to teach a rigorous curriculum, and they’re really well supported. We have a lot of staff. There’s a lot of resource support. There’s other teachers there to help the kids who might need additional support and really allow the classroom teacher to focus on the whole class and enrich the experience for those who need an enriched experience. I would say that where sometimes faculty get concerned is this idea of I have a big curriculum, how am I possibly going to cover it all? Especially when we’re pulling periods for field trips or for guest speakers or for the play. But I think that what the teachers have found is that when we break the cadence and we keep the kids engaged and excited and happy, their ability to keep pace with their curriculum and maybe even move faster is there so that the kids are engaged and happy and they’re learning. They know that they sometimes have less time because all of these great things are happening with respect to school life. And so it keeps them moving quickly. It keeps them on their toes and it keeps them really engaged with their learning. What we’re seeing is we’re able to complete our curriculum. And there’s been places where we’ve trimmed our curriculum where we’ve said, “You know what, they don’t need that.” Mostly in the area of social studies, we’ve been able to say, “What are the basic social study skills? What is the key information that the kids need to make sure that they’re successful in being social studies learners?” We’ve taken some of that learning time to create some other value specific curriculum, especially around Israel. And so that’s been exciting for the kids to understand and get to know and it keeps them engaged.

Daniel: Beautiful. You’ve obviously experienced a ton of success and next year will be the eighth grade inaugural year. What does it mean for you to build on the success you’ve achieved?

Dr Amy Platt: I’m just so excited to see what will happen when kids leave us and go to high school. I’m excited to see how prepared they are, how socially well adjusted and integrated they become, and then use those successes to tell our story into the future. I want to see a graduating class of 20 kids, and I hope that we can see that within the next 3 to 5 years. I’m just capturing the great stories and finding ways to put them out into the world. I think that’s how we’re going to build on our success by doing what we do, continuing to do it really well, and making sure that our current community and our prospective community know who we are and what that looks like. And as we start to have kids who go into high school and university and feel deeply connected to Paul Pena, I think we’ll be able to tell wonderful, wonderful stories about the influence that a Paul Pena education has on the young adults in our community. And for me, that’s super exciting.

Daniel: It is. You’ve been a mastermind member in the past, and I love it. If you don’t mind sharing a little bit about that experience, what did that mean to you?

Dr Amy Platt: I love my time in The Mastermind. I think very fondly of Wednesday nights, and I feel sad that I had to give it up. It’s funny to the Ruckus Makers out there who are also parents, you think that it can never get busier than little kids, but you can actually outsource little kids and big kids need a lot more parental support. For me, it just became too much in the evenings. The kids just needed me too much. I couldn’t be where I wanted to be. But I do miss it. And I miss the people. I miss my friends that I made in the Mastermind. I wonder how people’s professional journeys are unfolding. The Mastermind was a professional sounding board for me often about this middle school project when I wasn’t yet ready to go to my actual school community. I often would take the stories, the vision, the ideas, the challenges, and I would bounce them off the mastermind when it was my turn for the hot seat and I would get lots of great ideas that I was able to move forward with. The mastermind also created a situation in which I was reading professionally in an incredibly meaningful way. Danny, you pick excellent, excellent books and the arc of books that you would pick over any given year all fit together. So that was incredibly valuable to me, was doing that reading, thinking about how that reading influenced my professional life, and then discussing that reading with you and my colleagues and seeing how those readings influenced other people. In some cases bringing those readings back to my own faculty and saying, “What does it look like for us to have our own reading group around this particular text or an excerpt from a text?” So that was really wonderful. Any forum where everyone in a group really thinks Brené Brown is terrific as a group, I want to be in. I just loved that it was a place where we could be vulnerable, we could talk about vulnerability. I always felt like it was a Brenévibe, and that always made me really professionally happy.

Daniel: Thank you. Oh, wearing the Brené vibe is a badge of honor, for sure. You’ve been on the show before. You’ve answered the questions I usually end with. I’ve created a different one for you, Amy, that you are a highly effective leader, so I love for you to consider what’s something that you, Amy, might label as ordinary for other school leaders, it might absolutely be a game changing idea?

Dr Amy Platt: I think what I label as ordinary and for other people might be a game changing idea is the way to build really strong and authentic relationships. As a school leader, I recognize that my stakeholder pool is many students, families, faculty, board members, community members, donors. What I really strive to do is have authentic relationships as much as I can with as many people as I can. I’m very good at remembering people’s names, and my husband always finds it amazing that I can pull names out of my head that will meet people on the street and that I remember their name. I know the name of every student in my school and their siblings. I know their parents’ names. They know faculty members’ names. I remember names. And so that is a discrete superpower and it serves me well, but I think it is indicative of my ability to really know people and meet them where they are and get to know them in a deep and authentic way and love building relationships. And so I would encourage other school leaders to really think about what it means to have authentic relationships with many stakeholder groups, and that if we can start from a place of real relationship, then there are so many things that we can achieve.

Daniel: I think it was Dale Carnegie who said “the sweetest sounding word in the entire English language is somebody’s name.” Back to Bernie, too. It’s about seeing and hearing people. I know who you are. I recognize you. You’re important to me and that kind of thing. Amy, thank you so much for being a part of the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast. Again, of everything we discuss today, what’s the one thing you want a Ruckus Maker to remember?

Dr Amy Platt: I didn’t expect this to be what I would say, but I think it would break the cadence. Whether or not you’re with faculty or students or even within your own family life, what does it mean to break the cadence? How can that add value to your organization?

Daniel: Thanks for listening to the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast Ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @AlienEarbud If the Better Leader is Better Schools, a podcast is helping you grow as a school leader. Then please help us serve more Ruckus Makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway from the episode. Extra credit for tagging me on Twitter at @AlienEarbud and using the hashtag #BLBS. Level up your leadership at betterleadersbetterschools.com and talk to you next time. Until then, “class dismissed.”



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School leaders know that productive student talk drives student learning, but the average teacher talks 75% of class time! TeachFX is changing that with a “Fitbit for teachers” that automatically measures student engagement and gives teachers feedback about what they could do differently.

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Organized Binder is the missing piece in many classrooms. Many teachers are great with the main content of the lesson. Organized Binder helps with powerful introductions, savvy transitions, and memorable lesson closings. Your students will grow their executive functioning skills (and as a bonus), your teachers will become more organized too. Help your students and staff level up with Organized Binder


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