Back to School 2020 – A Point of Focus


I know many of you are feeling overwhelmed, planning for your school in the midst of the unknown. I’ve had a couple of conversations lately that have reinforced this, and I’ve heard people fret about how so much truly is uncertain. I worry about that, too.

In light of that, as you lead students, parents, and staff members this month, I encourage you to ponder the difference between certainty and clarity.

Andy Stanley is a communicator I love to learn from each year at Leadercast. In 2015 he wrote about the difference between certainty and clarity. I’m using my own words here, but the idea is that we all desire certainty, which is elusive. At every level, leaders face uncertainty. When we experience this ourselves, we can’t possibly give the certainty desired to those who follow us.

We can, however, provide clarity. Strong, courageous leadership can bring clarity and focus to those around us, even when we are uncertain. Now is a moment for clarity.

What that means for each of us is different in our roles, but as educators, it is a good time to refocus on our three main goals with Core Essentials. We strive to treat others right, make smart decisions and maximize our potential. Imagine for a moment a school and community where these three things happened:

Treat others right:

  • What if we gave others the benefit of the doubt, knowing that they, too, feel anxiety and worry over the lasting effects of the pandemic?
  • What if we sought to set aside ourselves and consider other points of view before speaking?
  • What if we actively encouraged one another as leaders?

Make smart decisions:

  • What if we acted each moment as if someone was watching our behaviors and learning from them, be it a child, coworker, or friend? (Spoiler alert: they are.)
  • What if we intentionally spoke to young people about the mistakes we’ve made to help them see failure not as a weakness but as a moment of growth?
  • What if we looked for ways to think collaboratively about big decisions upcoming?

Maximize your potential:

  • What if we believed as a school and a community that our best days are yet to come?
  • What if we chose to spend some of our time each day learning something new, unrelated to our chosen career?
  • What if we valued our own (and our families’) mental health as a high priority for the next six months?

I have seen so many counselors and teachers across the country step up online, in school, or even in driveways and parking lots these past months to do what’s best for kids, and it will surely continue. Core Essential Values wants to help you do just that – reach out and let us know how we can support you!