Thursday, October 24, 2013

Inclusivity in Schools

How might schools move towards greater inclusivity?

For many years now, I've been crying out for school idea management systems so good ideas from all areas of school life find their way to meaningful action.

Now, I'm thinking that I have to craft a more vital plan of action--a better way to build inclusivity in schools.

Massachusetts has moved towards inclusivity with structures such as school councils, the new educator evaluation plan, and a transparent, timely website. Those are steps in the right direction.

The key is to use those structures, and more to build inclusive work environments that develop autonomy, mastery, and purpose (Drive by Pink) through shared leadership. How might this happen?

To start, learning communities should be led by vision, and that vision should be nurtured throughout the year with touchstone assessments, regular communication, strategizing, and needed revision  Keep the vision alive.

Next, the vision and goal setting for the next year should be an active, ongoing process that includes the voices of all within the system. Data points, personal experiences, and current research should inform this movement. All should be thinking about where are we going, where are we now, and where do we want to be, and all should be familiar with the ways to share their ideas, knowledge, and time. Like any successful team, a learning community needs to work together and play to each other's strengths.

When possible, the leg work should be done online and shared in that way too leaving the time to meet for vital conversation, debate, and planning. Our face-to-face time is precious and should be planned for, and utilized, with that in mind.

Inclusivity in schools means that everyone has voice and choice, and with voice and choice comes greater investment, innovation, and effect.

It is no longer a question of whether schools should move from a factory model, or a question of when. The time is now, and the question is how. Oppressive factory model schools are outdated and ineffective. These schools present a dangerous, and ineffective model of leadership and structure to our students. Instead inclusive learning communities not only lead with effect, but also offer our students a viable model for leadership, collaboration, and effective effort in the future.