Curriculum floats on the sea of culture. Rick DuFour, author and Stevenson High School Principal in the 1980’s, described the importance of Professional Learning Communities. Adlai Stevenson High School, located in Lincolnshire, Illinois, hires teachers with the clear expectation that they collaborate daily on student outcomes. Their mission is to ensure the success for ALL students. They ingrain this expectation in their new teacher mentorship program ensconced in a value system where every student is expected to succeed, and they do! This can only happen by creating a belief system where the faculty believes they can create a trusting culture. Professional teachers strive to achieve this vision and mission every day. These same teachers view the vision, mission, and beliefs at Stevenson as the holy grail. How often does your faculty reflect on what is working and ensure your school creates a living vision.
Learning leaders prioritize teachers’ time to focus on engaged learning in their classrooms. These same instructional leaders commit to creating a master schedule that facilitates collaborative conversations daily. This type of professional learning is similar to a medical model where teams of professionals make their rounds, learning, and collaborating using their combined expertise to improve their practice regarding a guaranteed curriculum. This culture creates fidelity in outcomes. Connectivity provides consistency in results as teachers understand their role is to collaborate with team members to develop a Professional Learning Community that works together, supports one another, and trusts one another to improve the system of learning.
Michael Fullan defines the role of the principal as the lead learner. Teachers who coach, mentor, and facilitate learning need leaders who trust them and inspire them to shift their paradigms. They trust one another and believe in a powerful professional community to stand in unity, learning together. Leadership is no longer a lonely job at the top but one that cultivates leadership in everyone and empowers ownership by distributing the leadership across the school. When everyone in the school believes that all students can learn at high levels, they focus on the success of each student.
Educational research studies (Hattie) cite the importance of building a student culture of collaboration and engagement as a critical factor for success. Everyone has potential. How do we unlock this potential? We live in an era where there is no question that schools need to reinvent themselves so that every student succeeds in this 21st century global economy.
Michael Fullan defines the role of the principal as the lead learner. Teachers who coach, mentor, and facilitate learning need leaders who trust them and inspire them to shift their paradigms. They need leaders who believe in their powerful potential to stand in unity with them while learning together. Leadership is no longer a lonely job at the top but one that cultivates leadership in everyone and empowers ownership by distributing the leadership across the school.
There is unlimited potential inherent in every person within the school community. Recognizing staff member’s potential as untapped energy sources create a connected system. By distributing the leadership within the school, the commitment to learning and the school’s values expands exponentially. When teachers own the success of the school, opportunities continue to amplify creating unforgettable learning experiences for highly engaged students. “The more open the principal is for spreading around leadership, the better for student’s learning.” (Pamela Mendels, 2012) .
As a consultant, I am here to help you with one-to-one coaching, phone call support, and group classes to create a system that builds excellence throughout the school. You will experience life- changing tools and curriculum support to help your school provide students with rigorous learning and a voice for their 21st- century learning. Within every student is a voice that is destined to become a message to our planet’s future. Are you ready to help every student create their dreams and step confidently onto the world’s stage? If your heart and mind want to amplify student’s success, I am here to support your vision to be the change-maker for all!