I recently had the honor of meeting with Michael Cooper, the new Superintendent of the North Cedar, Iowa School District. Open enrollment has created stout competition for students in the Northeastern part of Iowa, and Michael is steadfastly determined to transform North Cedar into a magnet district into which students will want to transfer.

After spending a day with Michael, his leadership team, and most importantly, the teachers of the district, I know they will succeed. Soon, students will be leaving nearby districts in droves to attend North Cedar.

Michael was reflecting on what he had learned in a half-year in the Superintendent’s role. He was frustrated that perhaps the district was trying to do too many things at once. One of his leaders said, “We need to become great at something, because we know we can’t be great at everything.” This is true of every school district, everywhere. If you try five initiatives at once, you are buying a ticket on an express train to mediocrity.

In this short video, Michael analogized the situation to his days of coaching football, and why he began each year focusing on “one play.”

What’s your “one play?” What will your school become great at?