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The universe of school law is made of of constitutional provisions, court decisions, statutes, regulations, and policies. Of these various school law resources, I would take the position that policies are, at the same time, the most neglected, the least understood, and the most important. Kentucky school districts have books full of policies. Local board policies are necessary because the state and federal level legal framework described above is full of gaps, and does not do a good job of addressing the day-to-day operational work of school districts. Kentucky's school leaders are blessed because our colleagues at the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA) ...
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The nation's longest-running litigation regarding the status of transgender students in public schools may be one step closer to a final resolution. The case of Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board was filed in 2015 by a transgender student at a Virginia high school. It has moved up and down the ladder of federal trial and appellate courts since then, including a brief appearance before the U. S. Supreme Court, which returned the case to the trial court on procedural grounds for further consideration.  The case has been decided (again) by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the student (rather, former student. Grimm graduated in 2017). The ...
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If you have had a school law class, and maybe even if you haven’t, you’ve likely run across the landmark case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Schools . It is the first and most famous U.S. Supreme Court case addressing student free speech rights in a school setting, involving high school students wearing black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. Tinker can both literally and figuratively be called the “granddaddy” of student free speech cases. First of all, the case is now 52-years old, having been decided in 1969 (The students in the case were 16 when it occurred; I was 15. You do the math!) Every similar case decided by the federal courts ...
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The American rendezvous with destiny, by dreaming big, being adventurous, and being undeterred by adversity is in jeopardy. Yes, without question, COVID-19 is dangerous and deadly; but what lies ahead once we overcome this global health pandemic is starting to look more detrimental to students than we ever imagined. Right now, as leaders at the state and national levels appear to be paralyzed, local leaders have had to step up to the plate in ways none could have imagined just a few short months ago. As state and national leaders look for ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, schools have become easy targets of criticism and baseless claims that they are ...
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Lesson #12:  Fulfill Your Destiny What is your destiny?  What is your purpose?  Why do you do the things you do every day?  Do you know why you believe what you believe?  It takes a lot of trial by fire to fulfill your destiny, but once you do, you will become unstoppable.  Many never fulfill their destiny because they lack the courage, the patience, the vision, the mental toughness, the desire, and the persistence to do so.  They burn out.  The truth is that we don’t burn out because of what we do.  We burn out because we forget why we do what we do.  Some say they have burned out, but you can’t burn out if you have never been on fire.  We must be persistent ...
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Lesson #10:  Know What is Within You, Even If Others Can’t See It Know that greatness is within you and seek to display this greatness.  Know that you were created to do great work.  Remember the hard work that you have put into becoming what you are today.  Believe in yourself and seize the moment.  Jon Gordon shares in Training Camp , “To seize the moment, don’t let your failure define you; let it fuel you.  Don’t run from fear; face it and embrace it.  Don’t let fear rob you of your love and joy; let it push you into the moment and beyond yourself.  Let it inspire you to live and work each day as though it were your last.” Trust that no matter what ...
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Lesson #8:  Be Scared of What You Won’t Become Your only fear should be to waste the present moment, this current school year.  If you take the easy route, you will never become what you should be.  This fact should absolutely scare you.  Why do we limit ourselves?  Why do we limit our possibilities?  We need to step out of our comfort zone so that we can become what we were created to be.  We need to give our all.  Athletes talk about “leaving it all on the field or on the court.”  We need to empty our tanks, giving all that we have, so that others can benefit from our actions.  Doug Gloyd, Muhlenberg South Middle School’s Assistant Principal, shares the ...
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Lesson #7:  Do What They Say You Can’t Many educational leaders share their vision for the road ahead, only to be faced with negativity.  People saying that it can’t be done or that your vision is too crazy, too farfetched.  When it comes to success, many naysayers will tell you that your luck has ran out, you have maxed out, and you can’t get better.  Never let this get you down.  Never let this destroy your vision.  Never let this destroy your belief in your vision.  Believe it can be accomplished.  One sad fact is that some of those who are telling you that it can’t be done may not even be strangers; they can be close friends or colleagues.  If you haven’t ...
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Lesson #6:  Work Before Glory The best leaders are humble and don’t really care about the glory.  It’s all about the work you produce.  Your hard work will not go unnoticed.  Pride yourself in your work, rather than yourself.  Take pride in those who work with you.  Praise them before praising yourself.  I believe that if you have to constantly tell others how great you are, then you are probably the only one who thinks you are great.  NBA great, David Robinson, once said, “Players who seek their own glory at the sacrifice of the team’s glory drive the team away from success.  The goal is not our own glory.”  Don’t chase glory.  Don’t chase greatness.  Work ...
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Lesson #5:  Take Everything Given to You and Make Something Better Education is constantly changing.  We face changes and challenges each and every day.  Government officials change, the accountability system changes, new mandates are passed down, staff retire, students change.  None of these changes can cause us to lose our focus, and keep us from making our school or district better.  When challenges arise, we can choose to get better, rather than getting bitter.  We can look at our successes and realize that we have made our school/district better.  We have made our students better.  We have overcome challenges before and will overcome the next set of challenges ...
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Lesson #4:  Don’t Break When Broken It is said that what goes up must come down.  However, educational leaders must make sure that their school/district does not go down after experiencing success.  We must make continual improvement our goal, both for ourselves and our employees.  The school year is a roller-coaster ride like none other.  At times, educators will feel broken inside and figure that it is time to give up.  DON’T!  Educators will get frustrated…with colleagues, with students, with the district, and with the system as a whole.  Don’t let it break you.  Lean on one another.  Encourage one another.  We must focus on our successes, no matter how ...
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Be Legendary:  Lessons Learned from Michael Jordan Lesson #3:  Have the Courage to Fail Effective leaders make the best decisions possible with the information and time given.  However, leaders do make mistakes and it is vital to admit these mistakes.  We need to understand that failure is a part of life, but having the courage to face it head on is what makes you stronger.  I love the quote by Henry Ford that says, “Those who never make mistakes work for those of us who do.”  We need to be willing to take risks and step out of our comfort zones to see the endless possibilities ahead of us.  We have all heard people say, “It’s okay to fail.”  However, there ...
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This school year we have set our sights on “Being Legendary.”  Over the next few months, I will be blogging about what it takes to “Be Legendary,” using lessons learned from an ad campaign of Nike starring Michael Jordan.  If you want to make a difference, if you truly want to be legendary, I hope that something shared over the next several months will be of benefit to you. Lesson #1:  It’s About Knowing Where You’re Going An effective leader has a clear vision and the ability to inspire others to believe in the vision.  If you have had the great opportunity to be a part of The Leadership Challenge , you have learned that one of the five practices of ...
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I am delighted to report that every member of Cohort 7 has met the July target of one entry into his/her Electronic Portfolio. Kudos to each of you during this very busy time in the superintendent's position. Our "winner" for July has entered 19 artifacts including the 30-60-90 Day Plan. My thanks to those of you who have forwarded draft copies of your PGP's and 30-60-90 Day Plans. I am looking forward to reviewing more of these wonderful planning documents. Just a reminder that you need to have uploaded a minimum of 7 artifacts (one for each Standard) by the end of August. Please do not hesitate to call if you want to discuss the process or need help. 502-249-2022. ...
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Summertime Opportunities

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Summertime is a great opportunity for educational leaders to relax and recharge our batteries for the new school year which is quickly approaching.  As educational leaders, we need to also use this time to focus on the successes that we experienced throughout the past school year.  This is an extremely valuable practice of which we should take advantage.  By focusing on our past successes, we are able to stay positive and use these past successes to excite us about the upcoming school year and the future successes we will experience.  We need to share these past successes with our staff as well, exciting them and keeping them looking forward to the new opportunities ...
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I never met anyone in my life any more loving, giving, and fun than my mother, Laura. She was a guiding light in my world and a wonderful influence on many others. She enjoyed watching songbirds through the window to her backyard and she collected ceramic birds that still are prized possessions in my family. Three weeks after she died in the fall of 1998, I was inspired to write this poem. I hope it tells you something about her and her influence on others, including me. I also hope it makes you think of someone who greatly influenced you and your life, maybe your own mother.   The Bluebird sang her song of joy, so beautiful and so sweet. She sang each ...
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Over the past several months, I have shared strategies we have used with our staff, students, and community to improve our school culture.  This month, I will share a few other strategies that we have implemented to enhance our school culture.  My hope is that something I share will spark an idea that you can apply within your own school/district. Father/Son and Mother/Daughter Nights We host two events for each of our Father/Son and Mother/Daughter Nights each year, one Fall and one Spring event. The Father/Son nights have included various activities such as: building birdhouses, archery competitions, Tae Kwon Do self-defense classes, cornhole competitions, ...
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Last blog, I noted that Thu-Huon Ha, on Feb. 8, 2018, on the internet, published an article he wrote, saying that scholars long have accepted that Shakespeare’s plays often featured plots and characters “borrowed,” from others, but also elevated in quality via Shakespeare’s own writing. What apparently is new is previously undiscovered connections to both the similar language and matching context of some of Shakespeare’s “borrowing.” I then pointed out that Shakespeare wasn’t worried about copyrights or his legacy, neither of which existed at that time. Instead, he was concerned about getting the new play together on time for his company of actors. In contrast, ...
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new-insight-into-shakespeares-writing new-insight-into-shakespeares-writing (Historians believe William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, and died on the same day in 1616.) Alright, I’ll admit before I even start: it is intimidating to write about the writing of William Shakespeare, widely considered to be the greatest writer in the history of the world. I fully realize my headline places my humble scribblings leagues out of his league. By the way, a “league,” as an archaic unit of measurement, is three miles, the distance an average person can walk in an hour. “League” in its most common modern usage is a group of teams in an athletic conference, all ...
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In 1908, New York Giants rookie Fred Merkle failed to run all the way to second base on what should’ve been a game-winning hit. Instead, the game ended in a force-out, a tie, and "the most controversial game in baseball history.” The opposing team won the make-up game, the pennant, and the World Series, but didn’t win the World Series again for more than a century. Which team won the 1908 World Series, partly as a result of “Merkle’s Boner”? On June 2, 1925, the Yankees’ starting first baseman took the day off, due to a headache. Lou Gehrig took his place for the next 2,130 consecutive games, a 56-year record. Which player joked that he took the two most expensive ...
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