April 17, 2020

A Look from My Front Porch, Literally

Each EmpowerED 3.2.1 features a brief summary of my musings about and learning from multiple disciplines as they apply to leadership in education. 


3 Big Ideas

When the path ahead is not always clear, sometimes the role of a leader means doing and saying things you never thought you would (9/11, DC sniper, hurricanes, COVID-19, etc.). However, when you consider the core values that make people admired as leaders (Kouzes & Posner 2012, 2016), we easily see how these values are life values that we see all around us if we slow down and take a look. Go ahead…look. I did, and here’s what I saw.

Honesty. Truthful, has integrity, is trustworthy, has character, is trusting;
Competence. Capable, proficient, effective, gets the job done, professional;
Inspiring. Uplifting, enthusiastic, energetic; and
Forward-looking. Visionary, foresighted, concerned about the future, sense of direction.
Credibility. Being credible and having integrity matters immensely and can be summed up as doing what you say you will do.

  1. My colleagues are working to keep relationships front and center by:
    • Checking in on our faculty and staff to inspire and uplift
    • Cooking for those ill on our staffs and delivering to door steps
    • Giving meals to families in the school parking lot with a smile
    • Getting needed items to students (technology, learning materials, musical instruments, inhalers and medicine)
    • Ensuring equity of opportunity continues by personalized outreach and support
    • Attending webinars and expanding PLNs (personal learning networks)
    • Getting needed materials to teachers (planners and curriculum)
    • Keeping routine and expectations consistent for students of all ages
    • Understanding trauma and grief to better support families
    • Zoom book clubs and get togethers help continue to learn and feel connected
    • Holding Zoom interviews for teachers for the coming year when we’re all back in the buildings
    • San Antonio School Districts Providing Free, Curbside Meal Service for Students During Closure” from KSAT
    • California Schools Give Laptops To Students As Districts Prepare For ‘Distance Learning” from CapRadio
  2. My family members are taking efforts to reconnect by:
    • Weekly Zoom chats with those far away
    • Sending needed supplies and surprises to those in other places
    • Daily photos and texts to make each other laugh
    • Recollecting family histories and telling our children
    • Playing games together
    • Family Genius Hour to learn something we’re passionate about
    • Those first responders in the family (police and medical) deeply caring for others
    • Taking naps and talking about the past, present, and future
    • Making old family recipes for family meals and sharing traditions
    • Breathing fresh air and walking our dogs
    • Playing an endless ping pong tournament
    • Reading great books together
    • Laughing and hugging a lot more
    • Landry’s Offering Free Meals to First Responders amid Coronavirus Pandemic” from Khou.com
    • The 40 Greatest Family Games” (from Guess Who to Catan) from Slate
  3. My neighbors (and people I might not know) making it easier for others
    • Birthday drive-bys
    • Making treats and notes for postal workers and leaving them out for them
    • Easter bunny porch deliveries
    • Notes and letters to each other
    • People sharing ideas and items
    • Stopping at pharmacy for others
    • Watching amazing concerts online
    • Picking up extra at the grocery store for shut-ins
    • Visiting National Parks and museums around the world online
    • Buying the drive-thru order for the person behind you
    • Waving from across the street
    • Zoom sing-alongs
    • Photo Gallery – Big Bend
    • The 2019 Messiah by G.F. Handel performed at the Washington National Cathedral



“Any kind of crisis can be good. It wakes you up.”

– Ryan Reynolds,

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”

– John F. Kennedy

1 Question

Did it really take a pandemic for us to see these values in others or for us to share ours with others?


About the Author: Marcia Baldanza is also the author of Professional Practices, a Just ASK Senior Consultant. and adjunct professor at Virginia Tech. Until recently she worked for the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida, where she was an Area Director for School Reform and Accountability; prior to that she was Director of Federal and State Programs.



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