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Public Schools: Dancing in the Mind Fields

Photo by unknown photographer of the demolition of the Pennsylvania public middle and high school from which Phil graduated.

Five attributes I have observed in a fruitful and flourishing public school employee, regardless of position or degree of direct student engagement: 

1. Knowledge: Involves an advanced understanding of task complexity and requirements, together with a foundational understanding of the complicated nature of the public school environment, inclusive of staff, students, stakeholders and resource management.

2. Competence: Differs from knowledge in that it requires a necessary learned skill level to be proficient in the performance of the task at hand. Proficiency is the ability to use both knowledge and skill to demonstrate the competence necessary to succeed at the tasks required in a specific job category.

3. Judgment: Having the good sense to make good decisions given the specific context of a given situation. Takes into consideration the potential implications on others of a given action, comment, or decision and responds accordingly.

4. Trust: Incorporates both concepts of being trustworthy and having the ability to trust others. Being trustworthy requires that one be able to predictably respond in a consistent manner to those variables that arise under differing circumstances. The ability to trust involves the capacity to take risks when circumstances might deem otherwise.  

5. Wisdom: An ability to make good decisions based on applying the challenges and learnings gained from life experience, even or especially when there are no immediate consequences. The ability to introspect and understand one own's unique limitations and apply the same to each unique situation.

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