The Falcon Fourth & A Sense of Urgency

A football game is broken into 4 quarters and the final quarter is the last chance to bring everything you have before the game is over. Players and coaches on the sidelines and the field routinely hold up 4 fingers during the start of the 4th quarter. These images for many of you like me will bring immediate memories of sports growing up.


4-Fingers       110307_UGA_4th_fans_TF

Why hold up 4 fingers? It’s a symbol. A symbol of giving it your all and creating a sense of urgency.

What I remember is that no one ever directly taught me this. The football teams in high school and college that I played on just did it as our team norms. It was a group reminder that you literally have to leave it all on the field this quarter. Many times the game is ultimately decided in the fourth quarter based on effort. Don’t regret not giving more. I remember great plays, but I also vividly remember the times that I know I could have done better. To this day, I wish that I could go back and give more effort then.

Now is the time. Give it everything you have! I promise you that amazing happens when you do!

When a saw a recent post by Principal Eric Ewald [@EricEwald_Iowa] with the picture below, not only did it give me chills, but it really connected to where we are now in the school year and how important it is to bring everything you have as educators during this final stretch.


April and May are such huge months in education! All of the work during the year is finally paying off with students and teachers having already built relationships, formed routines, completely focused on instruction, and ramping up performance for end-of-year testing and projects.

The other connection I made was that at Ashland, we already are using this symbol and didn’t even realize the impact!


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Notice any similarities?

I was looking around at school and noticed how our Falcon Four signal resembles the Fourth Quarter signal! Our Falcon Four reminds how to be successful using the four SOAR characteristics of Supportive, Organized, Attentive, and Respectful.

I’m now completely compelled to bring these two amazing symbols officially together, the Fourth Quarter and our Falcon Four, to now be called….

Are you ready…

Here it comes…


Yes, I did it!  What a symbol!

I even made a commercial for our students for our news show, I was so fired up!

We have the sense of urgency and the pride in in knowing that we gave everything we had for our students. We won’t take off one play, one lesson, or one day! We’re not going to hold anything back. It’s game time and we are going to leave it all on the field, and in this case, the classrooms.

We are not going to have any regrets as teachers or administrators. We are going to do everything we can to motivate our students, prepare the best lessons, and provide the support they need to be successful because we don’t have much time left this year!

Our students have to also embrace this attitude with their own sense of pride and belief. They have to own this sense of urgency and know that if they do their best, success is guaranteed for them. The Falcon Fourth isn’t just for us, but something that we want them to believe and own.

See if these kids look like they are getting after it!

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These tough game faces are showing the out-right attitude of success!

What are you thinking about this time of year? Are you closing up shop and thinking about summer? I sure hope not, but I want you to really think about your team and the attitude you are bringing every day. We aren’t running, we’re sprinting. We aren’t closing up, we’re amping up. We aren’t wishing for summer, we are wishing for more time with our students. We own the fourth quarter! No one is going to work harder than we are.

But this isn’t just about the end of the game or year. The best teams have the fourth quarter mentality the whole game and the whole year. Our sense of urgency is always present. The first day of school, day before breaks, and last day of school needs the same energy.

Every day matters because every day is a chance to impact a child!

Next time you hold up the Falcon Fourth, think about what that means, look around, and make sure everyone is there holding it up with you!


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Posted in Leadership Analogies & Metaphors, Leadership Lessons
One comment on “The Falcon Fourth & A Sense of Urgency
  1. Ken says:

    I love how you all encourage and celebrate the importance of good ol’ fashioned hard work! Thanks for your leadership and for making time to share what you learn on your leadership journey.

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