Leading Schools to Success
If you are a school administrator or teacher we understand the enormity of your challenges.
Creating sustainable and truly effective improvements in public schools requires a new direction, new thinking, new goals, and a new collective mindset. However, our schools are the product of centuries of traditions and cultural manifestations. We are all imprinted and virtually "programmed" to see teaching, instruction, roles, curriculum, and many other aspects of "school" through the mindset we were given by the very thing we seek to change.
Consensus - the cure for inertia: As soon as anyone barely begins... even if they are just beginning to form the "want" to improve their school system, they bump up against the inertia of what everyone else thinks it should be. Many autocratic administrators believe they can force their ideas down the collective throats of students, teachers, parents, and everyone else. They soon find out that it is easier for the masses to show them the door than to agree with them. Other district leaders seek so much agreement and permission that nothing ever gets decided. True leadership seeks consensus, but also evokes a decision and action.
Building consensus requires listening, patience, respect, consideration, encouragement, and more listening. Eventually trends of similar wants emerge within the masses and the leader can offer an "agreed upon" path. Knowing how to do this is rare within the huge list of abilities required to become an administrator in today's school districts. Being well-versed in what the masses think is important naturally precludes being well-versed in what will lead to effective change. Trying to develop new initiatives, new programs, new measurements of progress, and other innovations can be very chaotic and even confusing for administrators and teachers who are already doing their best to not drown in the workload of day-to-day operations. Knowing this, we at Leading to Your Success work with administrators to fill in the gaps of what's needed so their desires can be realized.
Navigating the Sea of Changes: National initiatives like No Child Left Behind and the more recent Core Curriculum are examples of top-down management. While well-intended, and quite possibly helpful and somewhat effective, if these programs are not well received their ultimate effectiveness will be greatly diminished. Being able to not only support, but fully embrace, whatever initiatives like these that are mandated, school administrators and teachers face significant challenges. For instance, local superintendents must win battles on dozens of fronts, while solving today's issues, with a sharp eye on what will work tomorrow, while also minimizing the roadblocks opponents will gladly provide. With all this going on, it is almost impossible to also find one's way to a new ideal.
The good news here is that the status quo of expectations is changing rapidly. The opportunity for change to be introduced increases with each new level of crisis and dissatisfaction. Because of this, change that has been needed for decades is finally happening. What school boards were not willing to consider a few years ago now seems desperately viable. Technology's role is being increased. Teacher assessments are being done. State laws are being re-written.
At any given time there are countless new initiatives being considered by every district in the nation. However, once everyone is heard, the power of consensus draws us toward the middle and forward along very consistent lines. How administrators and teachers navigate the new sea of consensus-driven changes will determine their successes and failures. Knowing what the future of schools will be like is vital for any teacher or administrator who hopes to succeed. Knowing how to lead the changes people want to support is a vitally important skill, one that will give any educator an advantage.
Leading to Your Success is a strong advocate of positive, effective, sustainable change in our school systems. Please allow us to help you succeed.
For more information on what changes schools can make, please go to our website Mountain Movers at Work.