How do we change student motivation? How do we make education more engaging? How do we get teachers to embrace a more collaborative approach with their students? I am thinking, as I browse through the trove of resources on Twitter this morning, that I have missed the point. I have spent too much time talking about how we need to change, how we need to integrate technology…etc… When it comes to making things “work” in school, I have missed emphasizing the golden examples that will change motivation for both staff and students. The answer is not some magic bullet that some teacher or principal just blogged about, it is not some new wonderful tool that allows people to create new meanings and experiences. It is concentrating on the work of the students. Finding those examples of exemplary student work that exist in every building and ask the question: “How did you get your kids to do that?” This past Friday night I went to an student event that to me was extraordinary. Our Theatre Arts students (first year of this class’ existence by the way) conducted a night of one act plays. These one act plays were the students’ final exam for the semester. Our auditorium was nearly filled to capacity. You talk about being alive to take your final! I was blown away by the performances I watched. Several of the plays were so well done that it seemed as though the breath was drawn out of the audience by the scene in front of them only to be forced back in by the need to exhale to fight back tears. WOW! Talk about engaged! Talk about personal growth! Mr. Lynch(Theatre Arts teacher), how did you get your students to do that? As a leader I need to rededicate myself to finding what is working well and celebrating it, not with big awards, but with a pat on the back for a job well done. I will ask those responsible to share to make learning and growth, rather than reform and change, become the needs we concentrate on.