When this global pandemic began, I asked myself three basic questions: 1) What can I do to lead our community during this time of uncertainty? 2) What does our community need? and 3) How can I have a positive impact on our students, staff, and community during this difficult time? At Millard South High School, we pride ourselves on living the Patriot Way, and I used the school’s eight pillars to guide me on this journey. Here is how the pillars guided me while continuing daily announcements after the school building was closed.
I decided to be a face and a voice that people could count on each day by sharing a positive message through our daily announcements on our social media platforms.
Be a Great Teammate/Classmate
A great teammate or classmate is someone you can count on each and every day. My goal was to be that person. I was amazed by how many positive interactions our daily announcements afforded me. I didn’t realize the deep connection I was making with our community until mid-May, when our local paper did an article on the impact that our daily announcements were having on our school community.
Show School Pride/Program Pride
Normally, during our daily announcements, I would celebrate the successes of our students and staff. This didn’t change during this period that our school building was closed. One of my strengths is that I am a “celebrator.” I never missed an opportunity to sing the praises of our students or staff.
I have always said, “I love Millard South High School.” When I say that, I am not referring to the bricks and mortar as much as I am the people who come to our building each day. Each staff member is vital to our school and our success, so during remote learning I wanted to express my gratitude to our staff. I worked hard to highlight the great things our staff was doing during remote learning with our students.
Compete—Be Your Best Every Day
During our announcements, I praised our students and staff for their commitment to remote learning. I encouraged them to continue pushing themselves to be successful when the learning environment was not ideal.
Our daily announcements gave me the opportunity to give students, staff, and our community important information each day. Some examples were cap and gown pick-up procedures, remote learning schedules, collection day protocol, and senior send-off night details.
Own Your Performance and Behavior
I wanted our daily announcements to be full of energy, fun, and informative. Each day, I would move to a different spot on our campus to give our daily announcements. I wanted to let our community know that we were at the school and that we would be there when they came back. I also wanted to create a connection with areas of the school that all students and staff could relate to.
I believe it is imperative for school leaders to be servant leaders first! My community needed me each day more than I realized. By the end of the school year, each day of my daily announcements had more than 2,000 views. Wow!
I talk to our student leaders all the time about leadership and the traits that best define a true leader. I implore our student leaders to lead with actions, not just words. So it was important that I brought action to this situation.
As leaders, we need to be willing to act. Our communities do not need bystanders. They need people who are willing to lead with their heart and through their actions. I am looking forward to the time when I can be back in the room with our students and staff so that I can tell them how much I have missed them. Our strength comes from knowing that we are all on the same team and that we will get through this together.
Steve Throne is an assistant principal/director of activities and athletics at Millard South High School in Omaha, NE. Millard South serves over 2,500 students each year. Steve has 27 years in education, the last 10 as an administrator at Sergeant-Bluff-Luton High School and Millard South High School. Steve is the 2019 Nebraska Assistant Principal of the Year. Follow him on Twitter (@steve_throne).