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Schooling By Design Ch 7 What Is The Job Of The Academic Leader


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Presented at Gwynedd-Mercy College, fall 2008. Based on the work of Wiggins & McTighe: Schooling by Design.

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Schooling By Design Ch 7 What Is The Job Of The Academic Leader

  1. 1. Schooling by Design Chapter 7: What Is the Job of an Academic Leader?
  2. 2. “ Our goal is to be the #1 comprehensive high school in the state of Pennsylvania.”
  3. 3. If you are going to “lead” people anywhere, you must have a specific and worthy destination in mind…
  4. 4. Mission Vision
  5. 5. We need far more “leadership” and less “management” ….if schools are to honor their obligations and close the huge gap between vision and reality.
  6. 6. You said what?
  7. 7. Job 1: Responsibilities Related to Mission and Learning Principles <ul><li>Academic leaders have a primary responsibility to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reinvigorate the Mission Statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it central to decision making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure staff continually explore it & </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s meaning and implications </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. How will these envisioned competencies and accomplishments be explicitly addressed within the curriculum?
  9. 9. How will they be assessed throughout the grades?
  10. 10. What observable indicators in classrooms will show that these desired outcomes are receiving proper attention?
  11. 11. The long-term obligation of academic leaders is to ensure that staff members operate as professionals… … basing decisions on defensible criteria and principles closely tied to best practice in their respective curricular areas.
  12. 12. Job 2: Responsibilities Related to Curriculum <ul><li>Directing the Analysis and “Unpacking” of Standards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are your academic standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ checked off” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> OR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are your academic standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> “ unpacked” </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Unpacking Standards? <ul><li>Identifying the Big Ideas worth understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying the Essential Questions needed for student inquiry into those ideas </li></ul>
  14. 14. Facilitating Curriculum Reviews and Troubleshooting <ul><li>Non instructional roles for teachers… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ critical friend” peer reviews of curriculum units </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Course maps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cornerstone assessments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Companion rubrics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orchestration of such reviews falls to leaders. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Leaders need to establish a process for systematically recording teachers observations of student difficulties in learning and their suggestions for addressing those problems .
  16. 16. Job 3: Responsibilities Related to Results (Gap Analysis) <ul><li>If curriculum represents the important “inputs” of schooling, what are the “outputs” in terms of learning? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Gap Analysis <ul><li>Academic leaders need to ensure that every educator understands that his/her job is to work toward the mission and goals by identifying and working to close the inevitable gaps between mission and reality. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Adjustments matter more than the original blueprint. Examine results from a variety of sources: external tests, local cornerstone assessments and samples of student work.
  19. 19. Use feedback from students, parents, alumni and related institutional clients about what is working and what isn’t.
  20. 20. Reform “by design” means that the actions taken are deliberate and focused on a clear and defensible end result.
  21. 21. REQUIRED for Reform <ul><li>Unwavering commitment to core principles </li></ul><ul><li>2. Constant willingness to change direction, approach, and personnel based on feedback. </li></ul>
  22. 22. New structures must be in place that demand and encourage constant review of educational decisions by getting and using feedback.
  23. 23. … is a function of constant and deliberate self correction, mindful of clear and agreed-upon goals while unflinchingly seeking out feedback and thus dealing with reality
  24. 24. … wanting to learn why students are bored or made to feel stupid, and it takes action to correct conduct at odds with the mission. … wanting to know how schools can be learning organizations if faculty resist learning.
  25. 25. <ul><li>Make mandatory for staff to collect data and feedback by asking questions </li></ul><ul><li>What is working in mathematics, writing, foreign language, and other subjects? </li></ul><ul><li>What isn’t working? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you propose to do about it? </li></ul><ul><li>What resulted from your action research? </li></ul>
  26. 26. Job 4: Responsibilities Related to Personnel <ul><li>Clarifying Job Expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Providing training, supervision and evaluation guided by results-focused criteria </li></ul>
  27. 27. Hiring and Placement <ul><li>Getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Hiring and Placement <ul><li>Interview protocol </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ think-aloud” about big ideas in your content area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ So tell me, if you were going to teach such a unit, what would you be looking for in your assessment?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What would you do to move kids beyond a naïve response?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What would you do instructionally to move the less sophisticated answers along?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What would you do to make this more fair, more differentiated, more successful for more kids?” </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Professional Development <ul><li>Schooling by design implies that the topics and structures for staff development are determined by what is needed to close the gaps </li></ul>
  30. 30. Professional Development <ul><li>Educational leaders need to support new teachers during their formative early years through carefully sequenced induction programs and mentorships . </li></ul>
  31. 31. Professional Development <ul><li>Educational leaders use available time proactively to help teachers </li></ul><ul><li>keep abreast of current information about teaching and learning </li></ul>
  32. 32. Feedback and Appraisal <ul><li>Ensuring that the job is done well </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Instead of fixation on the actions and behaviors of the teacher learning-focused supervision concentrates on the desired results of teaching— </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Purposeful engagement of learners </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Learners evidence of understanding and transfer </li></ul></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Is everyone in your school on the bus? Are the people on the bus in the right seats?
  34. 34. Job 5: Responsibilities Related to Structure, Policies and Resources <ul><li>Policies </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-making and governance mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational routines </li></ul><ul><li>Schedules </li></ul><ul><li>Incentives </li></ul><ul><li>Resources </li></ul>
  35. 35. Time & Mission <ul><li>What is the best use of our time together? </li></ul><ul><li>Do current uses of time get the job done most effectively and efficiently? </li></ul><ul><li>How much “new” time do we need to accomplish identified tasks? </li></ul>
  36. 36. Time and Mission
  37. 37. Teaming and Mission
  38. 38. Middletown Area High School 5 Academic Pathways—traditional academic departments & 5 Pathway departments
  39. 39. Job 6: Responsibilities Related to Culture <ul><li>The academic leaders job is to ensure that the culture of the school is mission focused </li></ul>
  40. 40. Job 6: Responsibilities Related to Culture <ul><li>Criteria of a positive school culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mission focused on student and teacher learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sense of history and purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Core values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive beliefs & assumptions about student & staff potential for growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong professional community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive communication flow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rituals and ceremonies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Celebrations of success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical environment that symbolizes job and pride </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared sense of respect and caring </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. Becoming a Learning Organization <ul><li>Only if academic leaders model, invite, and demand learning about learning regularly and formally </li></ul><ul><li>Translation: The leader’s job is not to pose solutions but to raise questions and demand thoughtful analysis of problems, leading to solutions “owned” by all parties affected. </li></ul>
  42. 42. Why? <ul><li>Sustainability …. </li></ul>
  43. 43. Questions?