Straddled Between this Year and Next

As a school leader, this is the time of year where we are still pushing to reach our current goals while also planning for next year.  If straddling two different school years have you stretched out and stressed out, consider how you could use this transition time to build the capacity of all of the adults in your building.  This was one of the four driving factors of school success according to the study of high-achieving and rapidly improving schools by Karin Chenoweth and Christina Theokas:

1. Their beliefs about student potential drive their work
2. They put instruction at the center of their managerial duties
3. They focus on building the capacity of all the adults in the building
4.  They monitor and evaluate what leads to success and what can be learned from failure.  
(Chenoweth & Theokas, 2013, 57-59)

This isn’t just about distributing your work.  Take a moment to think about what skills, practice, and support individuals on your campus need to support the goals of your staff and your school.

  • Consider Staffing:  Are there teacher leaders who might be considering a transition to AP or coach or mentor teacher?  What opportunities and support would help them be successful in these roles?  How can you support their development as you work on staffing?  Does someone need more early-grade experience before they apply for a coaching position? 
  • Consider Hiring:  Are your hiring practices getting you the best possible candidates?  How might you include more of your staff in designing or evaluating a multi-data point hiring process?  Could your amazing 5thgrade team design a simulation of analyzing student work and revising a common formative assessment based on the data?  Could your ELA team create a writing task and rubric?  How might involving your staff more in the hiring process benefit your school?  If we all decide to hire this candidate, we are agreeing to support this new employee in areas that we know may need work.  
  • Consider Instructional Feedback:  If we need teachers to get more actionable feedback to improve their teaching, how can we use our resources to both give teachers feedback more regularly, and support teachers in how to give feedback?  Could we teach everyone how to collect low-inference data and how to use the Six Steps of Effective Feedback to support peer observations?
  • Consider Classified:  Could your classified staff be called upon to design a way to onboard new hires for the next school year?  Would this help them feel more involved in how they demonstrate the values, mission, and vision of the school?

 Consider what you want to accomplish as you finish this year strong and prepare for a smooth start.   How can you build the capacity of the adults on your campus while you accomplish these goals?

Chenoweth, K. & Theokas, C.  (2013) How High-Poverty Schools are Getting it Done.  Educational Leadership:  The Principalship.  (70)7, 56-59.

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