500 Classroom Visits
“Who are you?” is the first question I receive from students when I step into a classroom at Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) on one of my 500 classroom visits a year. Now that I have visited over 1500 classrooms the last three years, I also hear, “You were in my classroom last year!”
There are four main reasons why I visit at least 500 classrooms each school year: 1) connect with the staff in each building; 2) capture a pulse of the teaching and learning process in the district; 3) witness students learning in their natural environment; and 4) model employee-focused behavior for campus leaders. For years, I have repeated, “A Good principal is a hallway principal, but a Great Principal is a classroom principal,” and classroom visits model this behavior, highlighting the importance of connection to staff and students.
I am a big fan of best-selling author Daniel Pink’s work on human engagement; he has been writing on this topic for decades and his research could not be more pertinent for today’s employees, parents, and students. As the Greatest Generation retires in record numbers and Millennials join the workforce at that same pace, the work environment is ever evolving. Pink’s research is right in line with what the Millennials want from work, parents want from children, and students want from school – purpose. All desire to know if I am making a difference, adding meaning to my life, and/or improving the lives of others. As parents (or grandparents) of school-aged children, adults need to continuously paint the “value picture” for our students so they can see the purpose of education. It is a foundational principle for our successful democracy – education for all. A more educated democracy thinks about the needs of others over themselves.
If you desire to improve your company’s bottom line, your student’s perception of education, or your personal value at work, ask this simple question: Am I valuing the importance of my co-workers, bosses, teachers, and support-staff members for the betterment of themselves and society by unselfishly giving time and energy to them? If you can answer this question with a definitive “yes,” then you will find the meaning of your journey – a purposed-filled life. So, why do I visit at least 500 classrooms a year? To show students, staff, and parents that education is important - it gives us purpose for improving the world around us.
Dr. Finch is the Superintendent at DVUSD and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Superintendent
Curtis Finch, PhD
Dr. Finch’s quest for educational excellence began at an early age in Alaska with his mother as a school bus driver and father as the school district’s maintenance director; the school system was the center of the community. As a young adult, Curtis utilized the long summer days to skipper a commercial fishing boat, work construction, and mine gold to pay for his college education.
Curtis received a BA in Secondary Mathematics, a MA in Administration, and a PhD in Education. Dr. Finch has spent 24 years in administration at the Middle School, High School, Superintendent, and ISD levels. He has received two state Winner’s Circle awards and a Region III Superintendent of the Year award. The past eighteen years as a Superintendent has afforded Curt opportunities to shape educational issues, testifying before the Michigan Legislature, the FCC in Washington DC, and serving on local, state, and national committees. He has also passed multiple school levies, recently securing a $40 million Special Education Enhancement Millage and later creating Meceola Technical College for vocationally training adults.
Dr. Finch is married to Angie and has a daughter who is a math professor and a son who is completing his eye doctor residency.