Thursday, March 7, 2013

The need for coherence . . .

For the last three years Dawn Wakeley and I have had the opportunity to be part of an ESD cohort focused on leading for instructional change.  The work is facilitated by two members of the Center for Educational Leadership out of the University of Washington with experience and knowledge about the research base for this work.  The learning opportunities with this group have influenced my thinking and behavior as it relates to how I and we at the central office support building administrators in their efforts to influence and support our Classroom 10 instructional change initiative.

In our session yesterday, reviewing work that came out of the Gates Foundation, Leading for Effective Teaching, once again affirmed for me that we are doing much of what the research identifies as high leverage practices to support principals in this work.  The paragraph below assisted bringing coherence for me to the multiple strategies we are using to support the work.

The report focuses on three broad “action areas” that show considerable promise for helping principals meet new expectations: clarify the principal’s role as an instructional leader by specifying the high-impact practices for which principals will be accountable; develop principals’ instructional leadership practices through job-embedded supports that build expertise; and enable principals to succeed as instructional leaders by providing sufficient time and strategic supports to perform the job well.

Three words; clarify, develop, and enable capture my  responsibility to support principals in their efforts to influence instructional practice in classrooms across our system.  I shared this with our leadership team in our learning opportunity this morning and suggested that the same three practices are important for them to consider in their work to support teachers.

As an example, I shared the slide below of the Instructional Leadership Framework out of CEL that identifies four dimensions with high leverage leadership practices.  This is an example of bringing clarity to the work, ensuring that principals know what is expected of them, and the practices with high leverage in this change initiative.

I also shared the slide below that captures for me the focus for this work.  The intent of embedding Classroom 10 practices in every classroom is to support students in being successful on district, state, and federal standards for graduation and in providing them with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to pursue multiple options for success in post high school learning and work.  Who directly influences this success?  The teacher.  Who supports the teacher in creating the classrooms where learning takes place?  The building administrators and teacher leaders.  Finally, who supports them?  Central office staff.  Teachers facilitate student learning, principals facilitate teacher learning, and central office staff facilitate principal learning.

Coherence is important to all of us, especially at those times when we are engaging in significant change.  Yesterday and today helped me bring that to our multiple efforts to support implementation of Classroom 10.

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