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Friday, August 05, 2016

Improving Schools: Changes that Matter

There are many ways that we can improve school systems so that most of the time is spent thoughtfully and successfully teaching children.

Distributive Leadership
Embracing distributive leadership gives everyone voice. School systems can embrace distributive leadership by creating curriculum/decision making teams so that every teacher serves on at least one curriculum team. Let educators in departments or at grade-levels select which teachers will serve on which teams. Then make time for teams to meet, share/discuss ideas, and work with colleagues to move the ideas forward in ways that matter.

Keep the communication flowing so anyone who wants to know about school system plans, efforts, and goals, can access that information readily.

Idea Exchange and Development
Utilize the distributive leadership model and communication to create dynamic idea exchange and development systems. This will create vigorous, forward moving systems of learning and teaching.

Inclusive Decision Making
Employ decision making processes that include the entire teaching/learning community. Pose questions early. Crowdshare initial ideas and give time to the evolution of those ideas. Prioritize, research, debate and discuss, make limitations transparent, and then make decisions. Revisit, reflect on, and revise decisions as needed. Make this a fluid process not a static process start-and-stop effort.

Professional Learning
Identify collective and individual areas for learning. Find the best resources for that learning. Share what you've learned with all to make the learning explicit, transparent, and open for others to use.

Be Authentic
Too often evolutionary process and decision making is given lip service without any real investment. It's critical to use good process that begins with the end--set vision and work backwards to make a plan. Follow the plan stopping to reflect and revise as you move along. Keep everyone abreast of the idea or initiative's movement. Invite discussion, debate, and new ideas. Don't start initiatives if you only intend to do it for face value, instead choose a few initiatives that you really care about and that you and your team are truly invested in with regard to positive student growth and development.