Friday, May 20, 2016

Structures that Promote Teacher Leadership

As I think about work I did yesterday related to math scores and DDMs, I was prompted to think about structures that develop greater teacher voice and leadership in school. These structures could potentially develop a greater sense of team and less isolation too.

It could be that teachers are invited to be apart of one or more curriculum committees that meet regularly. The committees would impact teaching/learning decisions in authentic, regular ways.

Committees that truly have voice and choice tend to persist, however committees that are created in name only, tend to die out simply because the work is not real, impactful, or connected to teacher effort.

Teachers from each grade level or representing two grade levels and perhaps a specialist or two could volunteer to serve on one of the following committees:
  • K-5 science/STEAM 
  • K-2 math
  • K-3 math
  • K-2 writing (many call this "composition")
  • 3-5 writing 
  • K-2 reading
  • 3-5 reading
  • K-5 social studies
The committees could meet regularly during school hours to make important decisions about curriculum design, professional learning, and other related matters. Then the educators who serve on those committees could bring the information back to their grade-level team and enlist their grade-level team in decision making. 

We had these kinds of committees long ago, but they never really got off the ground as they were too big, the time was too short, and there wasn't a good structure or communication patterns. To do this well would take a conversation with teachers and leaders prior to the start of the school year, and then during the school year, there could be a first try at this.

This kind of effort would build greater cross-school and cross-curriculum conversation. It has the potential to build a more trusting , transparent, and collaborative teaching/learning community--a community where there is greater collective voice and decision making.

I think this might be a good way to tackle issues at hand, issues such as choosing new assessments, revising scope and sequences, readying for Next Generation MCAS, writing grants, and more. 

How do you create opportunity for authentic distributive leadership in your system? How has this positively affected decision making, teaching, and team. What advice to you have in this regard?