Archive for May, 2008

Why a high school diploma matters.

May 31, 2008

Having just attended the Commencement Exercises for Woodstock High School in Woodstock, Georgia, I have one thing to say: “A high school diploma matters.”

From the start with a gloriously performed National Anthem, the first part of the evening was full of expertly delivered speeches. One after another, academic and class leaders delivered poignant, inspirational, but most importantly, relevant messages for their peers. The Salutorian said it the best when she commented that a high school diploma is really about entry into adulthood.

Our young people need milestones like receiving a high school diploma for many reasons, but I can’t think of a better reason than entry into adulthood and all of the opportunity and responsibility it affords.

And . . . it’s not just the diploma that matters, it is the process of getting to Commencement that matters too.

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Live/Work: Working at Home, Living at Work

May 29, 2008

Archetype Press has just published this book full of great examples of “houses designed from the ground up to shelter businesses as well as living spaces, renovated lofts and recycled buildings, offices and studios cleverly tucked away in back yards or above cafes and galleries, and residences designed to be earth friendly.”

The Cobalt Group is featured along with the Tower Press Building in a chapter entitled, “Living Above the Store: Shared Spaces.”

This book is inspirational and a testament to local City leaders who had the vision to create the live/work district along Superior Avenue, the first neighborhood to the east of downtown Cleveland.

For inspiration and to get your copy call 800.759.0190.

All leadership is local.

May 29, 2008

I have been very lucky lately. My path has crossed the paths of many committed leaders, young and old, wise and humorous, visionary and committed.

The one thing that all of these leaders have in common is that they understand they must lead at the most local level of their communities. Whether it is problem-solving with a resident who is trying to stop dumping in abandon yards on their street, helping a first-time candidate run and win a hard-fought campaign, finding a way to fight crime so as not to send it to the next neighborhood or keeping the same teaching post for over two decades in the same urban high school in spite of the revolving door in the principal’s office (because a history teacher knows that how he chooses to lead his students in his classroom makes a difference).

When choosing to support your leaders make sure they can lead at the local level. After all, all leadership is local.

Making change is a noisy business.

May 23, 2008

A very wise man once said:

“Dinosaurs screamed the loudest right before going extinct.”

And so do leaders who fear change.

As scientists have suggested, dinosaurs ruled the earth at one point in time because of their size and position in the food chain. Ultimately, though, their inability to adapt to a changing environment made their species extinct.

Leaders who fear change often do the same thing. They create a persona that is “larger than life” and then proceed to create noise, distractions, and even traps designed to neutralize the change agents in their midst. They do this to manipulate those around them in order to maintain the status quo. When they choose to throw their title around, exhibit controlling behavior and act out, it eventually catches up with them.

When a leader who fears change is screaming the loudest, they are about to go extinct.

Making change is a noisy business.

Leaders collaborate for youth

May 2, 2008

Today marked an important milestone for the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Third Federal Foundation, and many more community-based organizations who joined together over the last 11 months to plan for the launch of the Family Academy, a school-community partnership to help youth achieve academically, help their parents support this learning process, and prepare teachers to lead this effort.

Well, today it happened!

In addition to the founding partners of the project, community members assembled at the East Education Campus (formerly known as East High School) where students performed music, song and poetry to secure their place in this important school-community partnership. They made the initiative relevant and instantly created the context for what our schools are all about. . . our youth, our future!