From Good to Great…

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Harold R. McAlindon

I have found the rescue of the miners in Chile very inspiring. It is my hope that we can learn from the 33 miners, their families and friends, all involved with the success rescue efforts as well as the country of Chile and the world-wide assistance. Many lessons will continue to emerge but for now I’m know the world witnessed what collective efficacy is truly about.

Their stories are one of working together for one common goal – survival. As we work in schools we, too, are working toward a common goal – providing our students the best education possible. There has been a lot of talk of Education Reform. While there are many important issue to stay focused on, this post is more about ideas on what we can do. Our energy and focus should be on the students we serve. They are our future. We can’t stop believing in our students! We also must continue to believe in ourselves!

In this blog post I will share several resources used with school teams to promote moving ahead toward a common goal.

I recently reread Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. The book addresses a single question: Can a good company become a great company, and if so, how? I’ve known of several district who have studied this book within their leadership teams. As I read the book I was curious if there was any correlation to schools.  I’ve  found the following resources helpful:

Jim Collins’ website provides Free access to videos, audios, articles, & tools to aid in understanding and applying the ideas from Jim’s books and research to both business and life.

Beat the Odds Institute Ideas that Work Video – This video outlines Six Keys of Success. The principles correlate to Good to Great include: a clear bottom line, ongoing assessment, a strong and steady principal, collaborative solutions, stick with the program, and build to suit your schools specific needs.

The book From Good to Great Schools: What Their Principals do Well (editors: Susan Penny Gray and William A. Streshly). An excerpt of the book can be found through Scholastic. The group used Good to Great as a guide stating, “We wanted to gain insight into the characteristics and behaviors of our very best principals. We discovered that outstanding principals represent a wide range of personalities, and at the same time exhibit a solid core of leadership qualities and characteristics that coalesce to create startling success in their schools.”

The Simple Truth’s video entitle 212 The Extra Degree. “At 211º water is hot. At 212º, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive. The one extra degree makes the difference. This simple analogy reflects the ultimate definition of excellence. Because it’s the one extra degree of effort, in business and life, that can separate the good from the great.” (Be sure to check out all the motivational videos at Simple Truths.)

Empowering schools and teachers to do great things is a passion. Schools have found these resources to be beneficial in putting them on the path to greatness! Developing a strong common focus and collective efficacy in a school or organization is no easy task. It takes the relentless spirit of all involved. It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity, but our goals need to stay focused on the students.

In keeping with the message in my last post – It may be difficult, but we can do it! Create the best path for your students along your journey from good to great!

Gray, S. P., & Streshly, W. A. (2008). From good schools to great schools: What their principals do well. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.


  • Melanie Holtsman 20 Oct

    Our faculty did a book study on “From Good to Great” many years ago and now we are reading excepts from “When the Mighty Fall”. I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the details that are involved in the daily life of teaching and learning. It’s nice to have a leader that keeps the big picture in mind and leads the faculty in the right direction.

    • kmp444 20 Oct

      “When the Mighty Fall” is on my “to read list.” A teacher’s first focus must be on the daily interactions with students. Having a strong sense of direction is an important trait of an effective leader. It sounds like you must have that type of leader guiding your school.

  • Aviva @grade1 20 Oct

    Another great post, Kathy! Thank you for sharing all of these terrific resources. I especially love the video that you included too. I’ve seen it many times, and it always reminds me of the importance in believing in the full-potential of our students.


    • kmp444 20 Oct

      Thank you for your comments, Aviva. The video is a favorite of mine. It went well with the theme. The post itself helps me keep resources with a similar theme/concept together. I hope they are useful. 😉

Comments are closed.