Thursday, January 17, 2013
Sustaining quality under difficult conditions . . .
I left the meeting last night with much dissonance and the need to reflect on the mental models I hold for the work of building level administrators. My mental models have been formed with no experience in managing and providing instructional leadership in a large building. Principal mental models are formed and influenced by their day-to-day interactions and experiences in our buildings. As we all seek to make sense of the world around us these experiences influence what we see, hear, and believe. I am very thankful and blessed with the capacity of our principals to maintain a focus on instruction while they manage these large buildings.
In one meeting today with a principal, I found myself needing to apologize for the environment we have created and for the expectations that she is owning. She continually praised the work of her teachers while questioning how one person can provide them with the support that they want and deserve. In the next meeting I experienced the frustration that the principal and staff live with daily, partly due to the large enrollment and partly due to programs operating in inadequate physical spaces.
We are asking much of all those that work in our buildings and departments and of the students who live and learn in those buildings. My concerns for our continued success as a school system continue to grow as I experience the stress and anxiety resulting from our over-crowded learning environments. We are doing an exceptional job by any measure, but the capacity to sustain our success diminishes with each new program mandated from outside and with each new student that enrolls in our system.
I am so proud and thankful for the commitment and passion that our people bring to their work. I am at the same time saddened by our inability to provide quality learning environments and by the feelings of inadequacy that I heard from our administrators over the last two days. They deserve better and our young people deserve better. I look forward to working collaboratively with those in our school system who share these concerns and also believe that we can do a better job in support of quality learning, every day, in every classroom, for every child. Let me know if you want to play an active role in the process to ensure that we change our current reality and create learning environments where learning and teaching can flourish without the stress brought on by over crowding.
Posted by Seeking Shared Learning at 8:37 PM