The BRES Blog

School Turnaround Success: A conversation with Oscar Aponte

Posted on November 27, 2018

It was an unusually chilly September morning at Maple Lawn Elementary School. School had been in session for several weeks and while the anticipation and jitters of the beginning of the school year had worn off, the passion and focus of one of Dallas ISD’s most talented principals was as intense as ever.  BRES had the privilege of sitting down with Oscar Aponte, previously the Principal at Onesimo Hernandez Elementary responsible for leading 30+ point gains across contents, making him one of the most effective turnaround principals in one of the largest urban school districts in the country. At the dark 6:00 am hour, an hour high-performing school leaders like Oscar are well-accustomed to, we sat down across from Oscar in his new Maple Lawn Elementary home. We were thrilled to be in the learner’s seat in one of the most valuable classrooms at Maple Lawn, the Principal’s Office.

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Flip the (phone) Script!

Posted on June 6, 2018

As you are closing out your school year and firming up your staffing plans for the upcoming year, we wrap up our hiring series by taking a deep dive into the phone screen piece of our selection process. If you missed our previous blog posts around hiring, you can check them out here. Conducting a quality phone screen process enables school leaders to work smarter instead of harder and ensures that the overall selection process is efficient, leadership teams aren’t using precious on-site time to vet candidates, and ultimately candidates are eager to teach at the school they’ve interviewed for because they’ve actively chosen the mission. How can we make this promise? We build this promise on a foundational philosophy that critical to vetting candidates is that they choose their future campus as much as the campus chooses them. The process we’ve outlined here provides an opportunity for school leaders to be transparent about the mission and core values of their schools; what specifically it looks and sounds like, what it is, and what it is not.

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Danielle Petters, Dallas ISD Secondary Principal of the Year, on Systems, Selection, and Choosing the Right Squad

Posted on April 10, 2018

At BRES, we are honored to work alongside some of the most talented school leaders in the country. In today’s blog we had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Danielle Petters, recently named Dallas ISD’s Secondary Principal of the Year for her work at H. Grady Spruce High School. Petters, who has been a principal for 16 years, said the award’s most meaningful impact for her personally was reinforcing her sense of humility. Despite her successful track record and her numerous awards, Petters is approachable and open with her challenges. She operates with an admirable vulnerability that encourages others to hang on her every word. It’s no wonder that her leadership is transformational.  We can’t help but notice how she starts nearly all her sentences with “we,” being intentional about giving credit to the collective work of her broader team. Today, we explore how her team modified their school’s hiring practices over the years, particularly after working with BRES. Thank you, Principal Petters for your collaboration and insights. As we continue our series on hiring, your selection journey provides an invaluable learning opportunity for all of us.

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A Better Way to Hire

Posted on February 16, 2018

This week’s blog is written by guest blogger, Karen Salerno. Her full bio can be found at the conclusion of this post.

As January turns into February, as do school leaders prepare for long days of interviews, making offers, and the anxiety inducing process of designing staffing plans for the year ahead. Historically, teacher selection has been characterized by tight timelines and often less than robust interview processes. In recent years however, with an ever shrinking pool of teacher applications and an ever increasing disparity in teacher preparation programs, school leaders have to up their interview and courting games to identify, attract, and ultimately hire top talent.

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School leaders who take these steps when communicating strategic priorities won’t believe the success that follows!

Posted on October 19, 2017

In our previous posts, we’ve been talking about how the best school leaders select and plan strategic priorities or “big rocks” for their schools. In case you missed these posts, they can be found on our website. Today, we’re kicking off a new series of blog posts focused on implementation now that planning has occurred. This first post covers the importance of communication as the first step to implementation. More specifically, written and verbal communication to staff and key stakeholders.

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Most school leaders forget these 2 crucial steps when implementing strategic priorities

Posted on September 4, 2017

In our previous 2 posts, we covered proven processes for selecting and planning strategic priorities or “big rocks” for your school. Today, we’ll detail the final 2 steps of planning before you’re ready to move on to implementation, which will be covered in more depth in future blog posts! One of the most common mistakes we see in our work is when school leaders attempt to “do” the work before the entire blueprint has been mapped out. The last 2 pieces of this planning puzzle involves determining the frequency of implementation and creating any pre-work documents necessary for effective implementation.

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3 surprising ways school leaders make planning strategic priorities simple

Posted on August 15, 2017

In our last blog post we talked about the 3 step process for selecting your strategic priorities or “big rocks”. If you happened to miss it, you can check it out here. Now that you have selected your big rocks you’re done with summer strategic planning right? Not exactly. The best school leaders have a process and system for everything. You’re on the right track but now the work involves planning and prioritizing for successful implementation. We will cover prioritization in a future blog post, but for now let’s dive deep into the planning phase.

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The 3 step process the best school leaders use for selecting strategic priorities

Posted on June 22, 2017

It’s early summer and you’re faced with the daunting task of trying to plan for next school year while wrapping up the current year on a strong note. Selecting your strategic priorities or what we call "big rocks" can be an overwhelming project to tackle. Yet, the most productive leaders keep it simple to ensure success.

Derived from our BRES Effective Leader Framework, big rock 2a Selection & Prioritization, our 3 step process removes the guesswork.  Whether you’re planning beachside or in a calm summer office, following this process will enable you to make the most of your summer planning time, ensuring your strategic leadership meets the mark.

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