• Adrian Cargal

If You Tell The Right Story... They Will Come...To Learn

I began my journey at Haynes Elementary in 2017 as a math instructional coach. My duties were not very clear at the time, probably because I was going to be asked to wear many hats. Before that academic year came to a close, our campus was faced with a traumatic event that would wreak havoc on our school culture. Our principal was relieved of their duties and an interim principal was assigned. One third of our staff either put in for transfers, resigned, or retired. Our campus had no vision, mission, or trust. The following year, our interim accepted the full-time position as principal and began to slowly build rapport with families and staff, hired many new teachers, and began the process of rebuilding the school culture. I compiled a visual timeline of the last four years on the campus, and it is evident that our culture has become more positive and collaborative each year. Even though this year we finally developed a mission statement as a team, we could still benefit from a more collaborative culture. In order to do this, our staff must participate in ongoing, sustained professional learning involving informal observations and feedback. We must adopt a Growth Mindset by allowing others in our classroom to glean new ideas, implement new strategies, and provide meaningful discussions that encourage all staff to continually modify their teaching styles in an effort to remain engaging, relevant, and relatable.

How do we do this, you ask? Well, the first step is to develop a call to action that inspires all stakeholders to want to change the world (Duarte, 2009). This presentation must be easy to follow, highlight certain focal points, include visual stimuli, and create a sense of urgency to fulfill the requirements of the professional learning initiative. I created the visual timeline of our campus to assist staff members in recalling past years as an introduction to the call to action. I also included a short video on school culture and focused on specific words such as "values", "attitudes", and "relationships". One technique that I adopted from David Phillips (2014) to create an effective presentation was the use of animations in a presentation to reveal one thought or visual at a time. The human brain can only focus on one piece of information at a time, so I was sure to reveal only one item at a time so that all staff could focus on that point instead of reading everything on the slide. I also created the presentation with contrast in mind. I am the presenter, so participants should focus on me and not the slides. Therefore, instead of using a white background, I opted for a black background with a very light yellow for text. According to Nancy Duarte (2010), it is important for me to help the staff see what I am saying with the strategic placement of text and meaningful visuals that help tell our story and reach every audience member.

After developing the presentation itself, I also created a Pineapple Chart for our ongoing professional learning along with a Google Form to assist with instructional rounds connected to our new mission statement: At Haynes we will create a safe environment conducive to student-focused instruction by collaborating, illuminating positivity, and encouraging a love of learning. Each area of the form identifies certain markers for identification, but then allows for additional comments related to each topic. I am hoping that this professional learning opportunity will flourish and that our staff will develop positive connections with staff all over the building. This will also give staff insight on wonderful techniques and strategies that are happening everyday.

At the closing of my presentation, after I plea with my call to action, I am going to end with a quote that I feel will inspire others to go forth and change the world! "Your team culture is more important that your team vision. Communication changes the culture. Consistency improves the culture. Compassion elevates the culture." - Farshad Asl

The shape of a presentation is created with the vision of, "Here is what it is right now... but what if it could be this!" All famous speeches follow this flow, and in true fashion, here is a video that explains how to inspire others to change the world!


Duarte, I. (2009). Five Simple Rules for Creating World Changing Presentations [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from

Duarte, N. (2010). TEDxEast - Nancy Duarte uncovers common structure of greatest communicators 11/11/2010 [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from

TEDx Talks. (2014). How to avoid death By PowerPoint | David JP Phillips | TEDxStockholmSalon [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from

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