Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Restructure Schools with Inclusive, Strategic Process

Many say that small steps are more valuable than big initiatives when it comes to change. Small steps are manageable and affordable. Also small steps reach fruition with greater frequency and serve to uplift a team more often.

Yet does deep and rich change require a strategic process that threads all those small acts together with vision and mission?

What if your school decided to sign on to a year-long strategic vision/mission process to restructure roles, routines, and structure to better serve students? How could you put a process like this in place to create positive change and model what true learning look likes?

What might an initiative like this look like?

First, the teaching community would need to define a specific learning/teaching need or focus. For example a year-long focus could be "How can we better teach our most challenging to teach students?"

Next, a time audit would need to occur in order to see what kinds of time are available for such an initiative. Time could come from faculty meetings, professional learning days/events, PTO meetings, and professional learning communities.

After that accessing the skill of a dedicated and skilled consultant is important. A skilled consultant will bring an outside viewpoint and an ability to hear all the voices in the teaching/learning community. That consultant will lead the effort and make sure a valuable end result occurs.

Then the initiative map needs to be created with a start-to-finish outline. The outline would include the following steps:
  • Defining the initiative--what is it we hope to achieve specifically.
  • Initial interviews and audit of current structures, routines, and roles.
  • Presentation of current strengths and challenges.
  • Brainstorming/sharing new ideas and actions.
  • Prioritizing and carrying-out initial efforts.
  • Analysis and revision.
  • Next Steps.
If you and your team are interested in this process, the time to start is now. It could be that end-of-year faculty meetings set the stage for this process. Then summer work teams could fulfill initial steps of acquiring a consultant and establishing times. The following year beginning-of-school meetings, in part, could include initial actions, and then other professional learning and collaborative times could be used to carry-out the process. Further, educators' individual and group school-year goals could possibly be tied into the initiative.

Strategic goal setting and restructure processes like this could truly work to lift up the leadership of all in the teaching/learning community by building a dynamic community dedicated to the children they serve.

Our school engaged in a similar process in that we came up with a common goal. Yet the after steps did not include our voices, but instead included observation and assessment of our work.