I had great fortune to work with a great school principal to discuss how we might support her school with one of its identified needs. The picture is a visual representation of the principal’s work with her staff over the past year to identify overarching needs and then engage in collective inquiry around innovating change for the students.
The principal lead her staff through a process whereby she built consensus to solve the identified problems. Collaborative teams were formed and the focus was on learning. The comprehensive, integrated plan for improvement includes a roll-out schedule for professional learning and implementation of the interventions articulated. We were very impressed with how everything came together to support the identified needs. Implementing this in a careful and thorough manner without taking on too much at once will be this school’s challenge.
In her article, Central Office Support for Learning Communities (embedded in Richard DuFour’s article Building a professional Learning Community) Rebecca DuFour addresses the discouragement that comes from “disconnected, fragmented, competing initiatives generated from numerous central-office departments”. Dufour makes two recommendations to central office administrators:
“ limit the number of new initiatives and coordinate the array of central office services”
This dedicated elementary school is in a position to innovate change effectively because they did the hard work first. They will be able to refer to their overarching goals at all times to help them stay on track during implementation, monitoring and modeling of the work.