There are moments when you realize that you are doing exactly what it is that you are supposed to be doing and you are working with exactly the people you are supposed to be working with.

For me, that moment was Monday.

Each Monday our administrative team meets.  We talk about logistics, protocols, new tools, professional development, finances and almost always, our philosophy.  This past Monday, we were talking about the latter, respectfully pushing each other’s thinking and having an open dialogue about our collective vision.  Like many hard discussions become, we had begun to come back to thinking that was more comfortable, and by comfortable I mean traditional.  And then our CEO said:

If we are really going to change the world…

What came next is not nearly as important as those 9 words.  They are incredibly powerful words.  Imagine if all conversations started with those 9 words.  What if we used those instead of these:

If we are going to get Board approval…

If we are going to get community support…

If we are going to get the faculty to buy in…

If we are going to reach a compromise…

If we are going to get the students to pass the state tests…

If we are going to get this concession…

Nine words.  With nine words our CEO reminded us of our mission:  to change the world.

What is your school’s mission?  Perhaps your nine words are different that ours, but can you redirect a conversation toward that mission with just nine words (or less)?

If not, it may be time for a new mission.


  1. Interesting ideas, Tony. Thanks for sharing!

    I wonder, though, if my perspective might be a little different. Even though I think it’s important to change the world, I think it’s more important to get our direction of change right. Everything we do in school impacts student learning; but while some things improve learning other things impair.

    With this in mind, isn’t how we’re going to change the world really what matters most?

    • Darren,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree with you that “how we’re going to change the world” matters most. I didn’t get into much detail in this post because I didn’t want take away from the simplicity of 9 words, but our philosophical discussion was centered on how we wanted to approach such concepts as academic integrity, the use of tools (ie. google translator),, and trying to encourage originality in our students’ work.


  2. Validation of the power in carefully chosen words, simple yet the driving force of thought and motivation.

  3. Hello Tony,

    My name is Mary Alice and I’m a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM510 class at the University of South Alabama. For the next three weeks I’m going to follow your posts. I’ll make comments probably once a week or so. The purpose of this exercise is to introduce us to the relevance and importance of blogging and making connections with others all over the world. I feel like this is an especially perfect first post to respond to then, because your team refocused (and re-inspired and affirmed your appreciation for those you work with) with those nine powerful words centering on changing the world. Perhaps blogging can be a means to further that positive change? :) I hope to see through this technology class that I improve in technology and communication. Good communication is one way to change the world. Don’t you agree? So, perhaps blogging might just be a way to change the world, because when blogging is done well (or so it seems) people are brought together, no matter the distance physically, to meet in a personal way and real communication takes place.

    Another aspect of the class is following young student’s blogs and commenting on their posts as well. I’m looking forward to that aspect (it begins next week) as well, because our professor has told us that research shows that quality comments inspire the students to write better, more often, and to care more about their posts. So, in this way, just by commenting on their posts, I can change the world in a little way.

    For, it doesn’t have to be big projects, lots of people and funding, etc. in order to make a change, does it? In fact, sometimes, the best impact is made from the little acts done in love. Those consistent, little acts can change the world.

    So, what did your group decide would be a good way, or some good new ways, to change the world? Do you have any suggestions for a first grade teacher? That’s what I do currently. :) I always want to inspire my students to achieve great heights; thus changing the world one school day at a time!

    If you are interested in checking out the EDM510 class blog, please feel free. Also, my own personal blog for the class can be perused if you’re so inclined.

    Thanks for the inspirational post. It was short and sweet and makes the teacher heart which beats in my chest swell! :)

    Thanks again,
    Mary Alice

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