Monday, July 24, 2006

Steve's Response

As mentioned in my previous post, here's my principal's response to Andy Hargreaves' BLC'06 keynote on sustainable leadership:

I read the article and your comments. I believe the author is right for the most part, schools must develop sustainable systems (not a new concept, see Good to Great)...actually sustainable successful systems for learning (we have many of the former). And as stated, while we create these systems we must also deal with the higher system mandates such as standardized testing issues. That is the dilemma. I would love to be able to forgo the state testing dilemma we are in and move totally towards "owned learning". It appears that our students have massive deficits in this area and to correct it would take great time and effort. But, I think we are addressing it, slowly but surely in the context of our program, because to make them own their learning they have to have some success first. After the success, I believe they will begin to care and then we teach them to own their learning. As the author stated, to forgo the state testing program and our quick fixes is administrative suicide! Can both concepts coexist? Probably so, for the time being.

As far as effective PLCs. I am hoping that we will get there this year. I really want to see the teacher leadership step up, beginning with our coaches, but I know it will take time. Student learning must be the priority and it is a bit fuzzy on the correct path and methods to get there. Many ideas out there! Do we live and die with the data (maybe flawed data) or do we trust our instincts and discuss our strategies and plans. A balanced approach of both will probably get us our best results.

Your thoughts are interesting on the topic. I totally agree that one would be misled to look solely at years of teaching experience with our staff. Our staff has way too much to offer to look at that one indicator. Talent frequently beats the hard worker that lacks skills most times, but when you have both then you can move these students. Oh what a year we have ahead of us! We must have the best jobs in the district.

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