Fall Down, Stand Up
If you are looking for a grand, sweeping theory of leadership, don’t buy this book.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
1,468
Fall Down, Stand Up
It was a Friday night in October. There was a big crowd for homecoming, and the principal did not want to take any chances. He walked up the stairs to the top of the bleachers and spoke briefly with the two safety officers. The top row of the bleachers was sectioned off with yellow caution tape. This made it possible for the officers to observe the crowd from behind and move easily from...
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
969
Fall Down, Stand Up
~First, I am grateful to my wife, Betty-Jean. She sacrificed, supported, and encouraged me throughout my years as an educator. No matter what was happening in my career, she was always behind me. I am also grateful to our children, Genevieve, Nolan, Shannon, and Allison.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
227
Fall Down, Stand Up
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
11
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a Thursday in February. The semester had started three weeks earlier. It was the fourth period, and the principal was walking east in front of the F Building.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
706
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was the middle of second period, during the first week in October. The principal was talking with the sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school. They were sitting on a bench in Senior Square. The campus was deserted.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
343
Fall Down, Stand Up
~The principal was meeting with an administrator from the school district and two consultants. They had just spent more than an hour walking through the campus and going into all of the buildings. The objective of the tour was to identify areas of the school where architectural changes could be made to create small learning communities.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
861
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a Tuesday afternoon and lunch was almost over. There had been a pep rally for the basketball team on the outdoor stage. The band and drill team had also performed.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
813
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was after school on the Monday of the fourth week of February. The principal was meeting with the new teacher from room D-12. There had been a fight in the teacher’s classroom on the previous Thursday. The students would not listen to anything the teacher said, and his classes were out of control. An assistant principal and an...
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
1,193
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 9:15 a.m. on a Saturday. The principal was facing about ninety students in the auditorium. The students had been given Saturday school for breaking school rules.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
1,067
Fall Down, Stand Up
~The principal stepped out of his office to the quad. It was 12:40 p.m., and lunch had just begun. It was the second week of October, and the weather was starting to cool off a little bit.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
549
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 3:05 p.m. The dismissal bell had rung. The principal was standing at the front of the school watching the students exit from the main gate. Lunch had been calm, and they were not expecting any problems. It seemed like a nice, calm dismissal.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
828
Fall Down, Stand Up
~A teacher from another school was sitting across from the principal in his office. It was after school. She was interviewing the principal for a class to get her administrative credential.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
706
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 9:15 a.m. as the principal walked to the library for the monthly awards ceremony. Approximately fifty students had been nominated by their teachers for academic improvement, helping others, and outstanding citizenship.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
531
Fall Down, Stand Up
~The principal rushed into his office and shut the door. His shirt and pants were muddy. His tie had mud on it. He also had mud in his hair. But at least he hadn’t torn anything. He cleaned up in the sink and changed into his spare clothes.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
493
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was the Friday of the third week of February. Lunch had just started. The principal was standing outside near the back corner of the auditorium. From that position, he could see both the quad and the cafeteria lines. The sun was out and it was starting to get warm.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
1,084
Fall Down, Stand Up
~Effective discipline is the foundation of a school. If you have strong discipline, you can move forward with the elements necessary for every student to learn at high levels. If you do not have strong discipline, the learning will suffer.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
227
Fall Down, Stand Up
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
13
Fall Down, Stand Up
~The principal could not hear anything as he unlocked the door. When he went inside, he saw that all of the students had their textbooks open and were doing assignments. It was a U.S. history class. The learning standard was posted on the board, and there were meaningful subject-matter displays on the walls. The room was neat and orderly.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
899
Fall Down, Stand Up
~The bell rang and the students were all in class. The principal walked down the length of the first floor and everything was quiet. He opened the door to room 103 and went inside. It was the first time he had visited that room during sustained silent reading.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
938
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was the third week of November. The bell to begin sustained silent reading had rung ten minutes earlier. The principal was on the west side of the campus, getting ready to observe in his third classroom. The first two classrooms had been great, and the principal felt very encouraged.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
904
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was his second year as a principal, and he was so disappointed. The faculty had just voted down block scheduling for the second time. When the teachers had voted on block scheduling the previous year, the vote had been close. But the results of the second vote were clearly against block scheduling.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
651
Fall Down, Stand Up
~The principal opened the door at the back of the classroom and went inside. It was a ninth-grade English class with an enrollment of about twenty students. He had expected to see a successful lesson. But that is not what he saw.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
606
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 4:00 p.m. on Monday when the principal received the telephone call. It was the district office. A parent had complained that her son had not gotten a textbook in his English class. The teacher had been directed verbally during the previous week to issue all textbooks. * * *
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
546
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was mid-October. The principal and the new teacher were sitting in the principal’s office. The enrollment had gone up, and they were adding another English teacher. The principal had written out an orientation schedule for the new teacher on the previous afternoon.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
529
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was his fourth year as a principal. He was sitting near the front at a conference for educators from throughout the state. The keynote speaker was talking about an exciting new program he had developed to improve learning. The program sounded great. He was a very good salesman.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
447
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was about 6:00 p.m. on a day in April. The principal walked up the steps to the faculty cafeteria. About 20 parents were present for a PTA meeting. It was the principal’s first year at the school, and a lot of improvements were still needed. After the call to order and the reading of the minutes, the principal stood up and went to the...
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
559
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 11:00 a.m. When the principal got back to his office, he had several phone messages. He had a stack of conference attendance forms that he had to sign, as well as several requisitions. He also had a memo from the district office stating that an attendance report was due.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
247
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 10:00 a.m. The principal was talking to a group of about fifty alumni in the auditorium. He had just finished taking them on a tour of the campus. Most of the alumni had graduated in the 1940s, the 1950s, or the 1960s. The school looked great, and the principal was proud of what they had seen.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
403
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was late April. The district meeting had ended. The principal was walking out to his car in the parking lot. It was a warm afternoon, about eighty degrees.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
3,705
Fall Down, Stand Up
~The bell rang and the fourth period began. The principal used his key to enter through the back door of room X-12. It was a tenth-grade English class.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
596
Fall Down, Stand Up
~Your goal should be for every student to learn at the highest levels and become fully prepared for college. There are no quick fixes. But through sustained efforts every day that are focused on classroom instruction, you will bring about high levels of student achievement. Implementation of the following basic elements will ensure high levels of...
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
382
Fall Down, Stand Up
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
13
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was July 6, the principal’s first day on the campus. In the morning, he met the previous principal and some teachers. He also met some of the office staff. Later in the afternoon, he took a tour of the campus.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
634
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 10:00 a.m. on the last Saturday in August. School would be starting on the following Wednesday. The principal had stayed up all night on the computer checking every student’s class schedule. All of the schedules were complete. Ninety-three percent of the students had received their first choice of classes. Seven percent of the...
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
397
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a Monday, the first day of summer school. Class schedules had been issued successfully, and the school had opened smoothly. It was 11:00 a.m. when the principal returned to his office from visiting classrooms. Just as he entered the office, the phone rang.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
709
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 7:15 a.m. when the principal got the news. It was a ninth grader. He had been shot and killed the night before. The victim and suspects were possible gang members.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
1,070
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 9:00 p.m., the third Saturday of August. The principal was working in his office. Everyone else was gone. School was scheduled to start in twelve days.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
635
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was the third week of July. The principal was attending a district meeting for high school principals. It was 11:30 a.m., and the assistant superintendent over high schools was finishing his remarks.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
329
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a meeting for district principals, and they were coming to the last item on the agenda before the break. The principal was looking forward to the break because that’s where he always got the most benefit. He usually learned a lot from talking with the other principals. He also needed to stand up and stretch his legs.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
597
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 2:45 p.m. when the principal got to the multipurpose room. The tables and chairs, enough for 180 people, were ready to go. He checked the microphone and connected his laptop to the LCD projector. He then set out the agendas, the sign-in rosters, and the stickers for name badges.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
475
Fall Down, Stand Up
~You cannot have effective instruction unless you have effective school operations. The following elements will help you in creating effective school operations:
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
144
Fall Down, Stand Up
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
11
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 8:00 p.m. The principal was sitting in his office doing paperwork. The portable room heater was set on maximum. But it was still cold, and the principal was wearing his sweatshirt.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
501
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 11:30 a.m. When the principal got back to his office, he was so upset. All he could do was stare out the window in frustration. He had delegated a job to one of the assistant principals, and there had been numerous mistakes. It was now a serious problem.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
509
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. The principal had just gotten back to his office when one of the assistant principals came to his door.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
565
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a meeting of the department chairpersons. They were talking about how to improve student achievement.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
435
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a Thursday after school. The principal was standing at the gas station on the corner. An assistant principal was standing next to him. The sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school was standing about twenty feet away, next to his police car. The chief safety officer was with him. There had been a rumor of possible gang activity after...
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
702
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a Saturday morning in November. The principal was working alone in his office. It was still his first year. An improved discipline policy was now in place and it was working. And they had stabilized the master schedule.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
476
Fall Down, Stand Up
~“I have been teaching here for thirty-five years,” said the teacher. “I know these kids. And I guarantee they will not read!”
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
512
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was their weekly administrative staff meeting. They were looking at a list of high schools and their most recent test scores.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
251
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was September 8, and school would be opening on the following day. The faculty meeting was over. The principal was walking back to the main building with one of the teachers.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
535
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was December. The principal was sitting in his office with a new teacher. She had gotten off to a rough start. The kids were giving her a very hard time, and it was starting to affect her physically. The teacher had been sick four times already. She had also been late to school six times.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
1,282
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 4:00 p.m. when she walked into the principal’s office. It was the assistant principal who was responsible for staff development. She did not have a happy look on her face.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
358
Fall Down, Stand Up
~School was going to start in six days. The principal was walking around the campus with the superintendent. They came to an area by the gym where all of the grass had died.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
404
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a Thursday in October, about 6:30 p.m. The principal was working in his office doing paperwork and e-mails.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
374
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 4:30 p.m. The principal was sitting in his office with a ton of work to do. But he was so sleepy. He put his head down on the desk to rest his eyes for a few minutes.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
378
Fall Down, Stand Up
~Lunch was over. The principal started walking with the students toward the classrooms by the girl’s gym.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
656
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 5:30 p.m., the second week of September. The principal parked his car and entered the front door of the district office. He had just finished his first week as a new principal. He was now going to meet with the assistant superintendent for educational services.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
632
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a lonely feeling. The principal had made a decision to change distribution procedures for class schedules on the first day of school. With 3,500 students, it was not an easy decision.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
321
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 3:30 p.m. when the principal returned to his office from dismissal. He was tired, frustrated, and worried. It was a serious problem. He wasn’t sure what to do. He picked up the phone to call another principal. He also called his supervisor. He needed to get some advice. * * *
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
243
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was Thursday at 5:00 p.m. The Rotary Club was having a barbecue for the faculty. They did this every year before back-to-school night to show appreciation to the teachers. After the barbecue, teachers would go to their classrooms to see parents.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
248
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was Monday. The principal was meeting with the assistant principals. Each of the assistant principals had all been at the school for three years or more. The principal had been at the school for only eight days. On the previous Friday, the assistant principals had all dressed casually. Casual Fridays had been the norm at the school.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
448
Fall Down, Stand Up
~Your effectiveness as a leader will determine the success of your school. What are the most important elements in effective leadership?
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
123
Fall Down, Stand Up
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
11
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 7:30 a.m. The principal could see from his window that a lot of students were now on the campus. He walked out of his door to the quad and started walking among the students. There were generally the same groups of kids in the same locations. He started walking all over the place, going to all of the groups.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
409
Fall Down, Stand Up
~She was a reporter from a local newspaper. The principal had invited her to the school because he hoped she would write a positive story about their improvements. The principal was proud of the school. He sat with the reporter for a long time and spoke with her about the improvements at the school that were raising student achievement.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
458
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was twelve years before he would become a principal. He was teaching English at a junior high school. During periods one through four, he was in the classroom. During periods five and six, he served as a mentor teacher.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
728
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 11:15 a.m. The passing period had just ended, and the students were now in class. The principal and his supervisor were meeting together in the principal’s office.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
371
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a Thursday afternoon during the third week of March. It was 5:30 p.m. and the principal was sitting at his desk doing paperwork. It had been a busy week. On Tuesday and Wednesday they had given the California High School Exit Exam to all tenth graders.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
511
Fall Down, Stand Up
~When the principal returned to his office, he found a sealed envelope on his desk. The envelope contained a complaint by a parent who had telephoned him the day before. According to the parent, a science teacher had made humiliating remarks to her daughter.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
668
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was about 8:30 a.m. on a Friday in November. The principal was getting ready to go into a classroom when he got a radio call to come to the office.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
437
Fall Down, Stand Up
~The interview committee consisted of the social studies chair, two additional social studies teachers, an assistant principal, and the principal. When the final interview was completed, the committee discussed all four of the candidates.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
316
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 8:15 a.m. at the school district office. The meeting was scheduled to begin in fifteen minutes. The principal sat down and turned on his laptop to take notes. A program coordinator came over and sat next to him. The principal had known the program coordinator for several years.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
328
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a Tuesday morning during the third week of December. The principal had asked the teacher to meet with him at 9:00 a.m. He had been putting off meeting with the teacher because he felt bad about what he was going to say.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
299
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 10:15 a.m. The principal was out on the school grounds when he received a radio message that he had an important telephone call.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
633
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 5:30 p.m. when the principal left the district office. He had met with his supervisor regarding a proposal to improve student achievement. The supervisor had failed to approve the proposal. The principal was so frustrated.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
415
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was a Friday at 11:30 p.m. The principal parked his car on the street and walked across the grass to the front steps. He thought about the class where he had seen bad teaching that day. He thought about the near fight after the football game. He thought about the school-improvement report that was now overdue to the district office.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
321
Fall Down, Stand Up
~It was 4:30 p.m. on a Wednesday in June. The meeting was over, and everybody else had left. The principal was speaking with a department chair who had been at the school for almost forty years.
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
316
Fall Down, Stand Up
~As a principal, you are working all day with people. The more effective you are in working with others, the more you will improve student achievement. Remember the following when you are working with the people at your school:
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
231
Fall Down, Stand Up
administrator, 5, 7–8, 29, 39, 44–45, 55, 71–72, 95, 103,...
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
1,109
Fall Down, Stand Up
Russ Thompson, Ed.D., served as an educator for thirty-six years with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Centinela Valley Union High School District. He served as a teacher, mentor teacher, and dean at Bret Harte and Gompers junior high schools. He served as a dean and assistant principal at Roosevelt, Locke, and Westchester high schools. He spent fourteen years as the...
Russ Thompson
Rowman & Littlefield
213