Wednesday, August 10, 2011
What schools can change
In order to improve, schools need to change. Where are the opportunities?
Mission, Vision & Strategy: The real question is, what should be important to us as a school? School missions typically include enabling student achievement. I recommend an addition: continuous improvement of student achievement. We should always strive to do better.
Technology: What are the opportunities that new technology offers in support of our mission? And the flip side, let's not get distracted by new technology toys unless they help us meet our most important challenges.
Human-Behavior Changes: We can change knowledge and skills of the staff to better address our mission and challenges. We must take in-service training seriously, in alignment with our challenges.
Process Design: We can change the processes for how we do things, from the way classrooms are cleaned to the way we ensure alignment with state learning objectives to the process for curriculm renewal. By changing the processes we make changes that last.
Organization Stucture: We can change how we work together to accomplish our mission. For example, while we now have teachers isolated in their classrooms, we may find that team teaching or project-based learning with cross-curriculum objectives better addresses our challenges.
Organizational Culture: Changing the school's culture comes down to changing the values and beliefs that give rise to our challenges and guide our choices and mission. In many cases, the first step is to articulate the values and beliefs that drive the school. In many schools, that's never been done.
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continuous improvement, challenge