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How to fix a broken school – Linda Cliatt-Wayman

This is one of those incredibly inspiring teaching stories.  Linda Cliatt Wayman, a principal of a low decial school shares how she turned it around.  Now at Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion High School, Wayman and her team are once again proving what is possible for low-income children. Test scores have improved every year since Wayman took over, and the school was removed from the federal Persistently Dangerous Schools List for the first time in five years.

She shares some great slogans which were used in her strategy to see change:

1.  If you are going to lead – lead – She talks about the power of leading.  She was fearless in her leadership as she was absolute in her vision.  Taking chains of the school, cleaning the classrooms, brightening up the bulletin boards, adjusting the budget so they could re-allocate to have more teachers, support staff and security, as well as looking at their curriculum and implementing a behaviour system that encouraged positive behaviour at all times.  “Leaders make the impossible – possible!”

2.  So what – now what! – People had many excuses why the school was in this condition.  She listened and then challenged the teachers as to what they were going to do about it.  Eliminating excuses was her job.

3.  If nobody told you they loved you today – you remember I do, and I always will.  She says that her true secret was that she had such un-conditional love towards each of them.  She herself has experienced what it is to be in their shoes, as she grew up in the same conditions.  It was her mother that gave her the power to dream, and she too desires to push her students towards their dreams too.  She deliberately does things to build relationship and get to know each students exercising great listening.

For further documentation on this incredible story see the link below:

Diane Sawyer and her team spent the 2012-2013 school year documenting Wayman’s efforts for ABC World News Tonightand Nightline.



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