You make it what you want with Sean Olson
It would be a trope if there wasn’t so much truth to it – become an AP and spend countless hours “doing” discipline. It’s hard to support and grow your teachers if you are handling discipline all day. But what if we could change this narrative? Would if we could invest some front end time in order to spend less time doing discipline AND flip the script so the “doing “ discipline actually helped kids? Today’s guest is going to help us learn how to do just that!
Today’s guest, Sean Olson, was born and raised in Southern New Jersey. He holds an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education (Mathematics) and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and Curriculum and Instruction. Sean is a husband, father, educator, coach and is always excited to learn and share new things. Currently, he’s the Assistant Principal at Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, which is part of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District. Sean has been in education since February 2010.
· “You make it what you want – it’s about how you want to write your own story.”
· “I want to understand where the problem is.”
· “As a new AP, this wasn’t something I had to ask permission to do. I was just dining into data.”
· “Now I feel like I can manage this goal because I’m looking at 2 ½% of the population.”
· “It was important to clean up our own house before addressing problems that weren’t caused by us.”
· “We wanted to get to the point where the punishment fitted the crime.”
· “Ultimately you [the kid] are writing your own story and I can help you do that.”
· “The real work happens afterwards.”
· “Urgent leaders … deal with problems… taking the pause let’s us figure out the root problem.”
· “Using the data is always a two-step process. Using quantitavie data we can see the connections and trends of what is happening. Gathering qualitative data we can understand the why behind the what.”
One thing we didn’t get to in our discussion was how to use data to identify other ways to get maximum gain with minimal pain. In addition to using your data to identify the students most in need of your support, you can use it to identify other variables related to discipline events. For example, maybe it is the boys’ restroom on the north hall at the beginning of 4th period, and by stationing someone outside the door, or talking with the three teachers who are releasing students to the bathroom, we can cut referrals. Alternatively, maybe it is one or two teachers, or a specific combination of students.
Using the data is always a two-step process. Using quantitative data, we can see trends and connections in what is happening. Gathering qualitative data from teachers, students, and families, we can understand the why behind the what, and at that point we can move towards supporting our students instead of punishing them.
I look forward to seeing you again on Friday when we recap the week’s daily emails.
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I’m Frederick Buskey and thank you again for joining me on this episode of the Assistant Principal Podcast. Cheers!