The annual Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Symposium (formerly the Raise Your Hand Texas Reunion Conference) is always a great opportunity for learning and networking, but also inspiration. For example, the session from the January 2013 conference entitled “Grit, Tenacity and Mindsets for Principals: Coaching Teachers for Improved Performance” really sparked new insight and understanding for developing my management skills.
In her session, Dr. Katherine Merseth referenced Carol Dweck’s Stanford University research on mindsets. She discussed the difference between having a “growth mindset” and a “fixed mindset,” which can either lead to growth and learning or to stagnation and surrender. Inspired to learn more, I stopped at a bookstore and purchased Dweck’s book “Mindset” on the way home from the conference.
The knowledge I took from conference session and from the book then drove the training and staff development that I provided for our administrators and our teachers in preparation for the 2013-2014 school year. We learned that our administrators, faculty and staff had to examine their own mindsets to confront any “fixed” points of view before they could help students embrace the “growth” mindset.
These concepts were incorporated into our vision for taking our district to higher levels of learning and achievement. Our district as a whole has seen the benefit from my attendance at the Raise Your Hand Texas symposium, and I am thankful to have collaborated with an organization so dedicated to improving the quality of public schools in the state of Texas.
Dr. Donna R. Thompson
“Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership”