Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In a cooking contest, what does it take to win?


 Competition Cook-off Contests are pretty elaborate.  Note the rectangular tray, the square serving plates, the triangular pie, the spherical ice cream, the random swirls of syrup and the rectangular almond brittle.  This chocolate pecan dessert was presented to appeal to many senses. 
There were 8 categories total, including things such as pork, chili, chicken, brisket, and ribs.

So this weekend during a bbq cook off, while competing with a bunch of other teams, guests (@bbqasap) were touring our competition tent, where all our trade secrets are practiced, our food prepared and the details attended to, and we started talking shop!  School and personal experiences are readily shared at almost any setting, especially a cook off!  The thought was that we don't hear about the good that is done in education these days but the bad.  As a principal, I get the pleasure of knowing about so many good things but I understand that my reach and influence is limited. But our discussion mentioned quite a few possibilities regarding this lack or reduction of good news any more, namely the speed of information.  

Does anybody remember the weekly rag?  A paper that came out every week!  That paper of course had both the good and the bad news.  The good seemed to strive to temper the bad.  At night Walter Cronkite even told us with a distinct reassuring voice, "that's the way it is" and we knew we could go another day.  Today, technology allows us to track news regarding a specific topics, like Tim Teabow, or the price of oil futures.  It also allows us to get news from around the world, nearly instantly.  This feature or characteristic of the news today tends to push the good news father down the page and away from the front.  Didn't Glenn Frey say something about dirty laundry?

There are reports of poor and struggling schools but there are also reports of schools that beg for publication.  At Winfield, we are on a quest to be #onthemap by reaching benchmarks in behavior, academics and student engagement by creating a culture of achievement.  Our methods are a PBIS model for behavior, a PLC framework for teacher collaboration and improved student performance and an RTI model for responding to students that don't get it the first time, as well as those that may already understand!  Our tools are faculty and staff that establish relationships with students, building on positive experiences and making connections, even in the face of tests of authenticity.  Students see through artificial praise and empty accolades.  It really is about the people and not the programs.

Here's just a few other things that are going on that are goods these days.   Big City SchoolsBlue Ribbon Schools, schools improving from 8/14 to 13/14 like Winfield School District, better grades, improved behavior indicated by the number of write-ups, but these don't sell any news, unless they're you're school!

Lesson:  Inside each of us, there are two wolves, a good wolf and a bad wolf.  Legend asks, which wolf wins? The Good Wolf or Bad Wolf?  What do you think?

ps.  @bbqasap won the bbq contest by performing as a team, lots of practice and a commitment to keeping the main thing, the main thing.  This overnight success took 10,00 hours of practice, plenty of failed attempts but persistence and resiliency.  Follow us this weekend as we head to Kemper Arena in KCMO for the World Series of BBQ!

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