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Start Tracking your Impact

As I watched a 3-minute video yesterday that is making the rounds on Facebook (“Two Lesbians Raised a Baby and this is What They Got“), I was struck by two things in this video that are a direct correlation to EFFECTIVE advocacy. In this video, notice how this young adult integrated his personal story into his advocacy message. Another important thing to notice . . . the mothers aren’t doing the advocating…their son is.

For advocacy to truly be effective, it is the most meaningful when it comes from the people who are affected by this person (rather than the person themselves).

So, if you haven’t yet started documenting how you make a difference, I strongly urge you to start TODAY (yes, December 2nd)…it’s not too early.   Here are a couple of simplistic tips that you can start doing today to help you help yourself (especially with upcoming budget talks):

  • Start an e-mail file folder of all compliments or any positive feedback from teachers, principals, parents and/or students. Here are two that I recently received that I have saved: “I am a librarian in Troy, Michigan and am working with a committee of teachers and librarians to improve our teacher evaluation procedures for our district. I have been charged with creating the rubric for evaluation of the school library staff and program. I came across your rubric entitled Power Libraries: Colorado’s Highly Effective School Library Programs and I think it is a very good model for how I would like our rubric to look . . . “
    Another: “Your videos are a huge hit and a tremendous resource. Thanks for sharing!”
  • When you have a successful program or lesson, ask your students, teachers, or parents to email, tweet or somehow share with you their feedback about that lesson or program. In other words, learn to ask for feedback to put in your documentation. And, if you forget to ask, don’t give up . . . keep reminding yourself…it will eventually become a habit.
  • Whip out your cell phone, flip cam or some kind of simple recording device and ask your students on-the-spot to describe what it is they are learning about. You have instant documentation of how you are impacting your students and/or student achievement at your school.

What else? What other quick strategies can you start doing NOW that show how you are helping your students become college and/or career ready in the 21st century?

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