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Creating Schools that Work


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How do you create school success? By implementing organizational meaning. Leadership takes courage. To lead others through your vision, regardless of what others think. This is Chapter 2: Courageous Leadership for School Success in the book Failure is Not an Option by Alan Blankstein.

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Creating Schools that Work

  1. 1. Creating Sustainable Systematic School Change Wafa Hozien, Ph.D Virginia State University Based on the Book: Failure is Not an Option
  2. 2. • “The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Courage faces fear and thereby masters it; cowardice represses fear is thereby mastered by it. We must constantly build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” - Martin Luther King, Jr. Ch. 2: Courageous Leadership for School Success
  3. 3. Developing a “Failure is Not an Option” Philosophy A - Above and beyond. B – The basics. You know your stuff. C – Incomplete. You need time and support.
  4. 4. Building the Courageous Leadership Team • • • • Selecting the leadership team. Constituting the team. Developing meaningful protocols. Focusing on goals and battles that are important enough to win, and meaningful enough to matter. • Finding success: a treasure hunt vs. a witch hunt
  5. 5. • Building in feedback loops, transparency, and deeper levels of conversation. • Setting up the infrastructure to make all the above an embedded organizational “habit”. • From your place of work give an example of how this is done.
  6. 6. The Courageous Leadership Imperative • Commitment • Ability • Define these terms from • The perspective of your • Workplace.
  7. 7. Foundations for Success 1. Begin with Your Core Reasons why such practices are seen as unnecessary or impractical among modern-day educational leaders:  There is little time to do anything, much less “getting to one’s core”  There is an impression that “self-discovery” is “soft” or an otherwise unnecessary aspect of leadership.  Acting on aspirations and ideals can be painful.
  8. 8.  Leadership is a lonely role to being with.  In almost every society we researched there have been or still are mentors, spiritual guides, elders and others who systematically assist people in self-development and selfdiscovery.
  9. 9. • Educators can get their core by reflecting alone on these critical questions: 1. What do I value most? 2. What do my past life patterns, strong interests, and passions tell me about my purpose in life? 3. How do my values and purpose in life overlap with what I am doing here in my current role? What are my intentions relative to the work I am now doing?
  10. 10. 2. Create Organizational Meaning What’s really important to being our best is concentration and focus on something that is meaningful to us. (Kouzes and Posner, 1999)
  11. 11. 3. Maintain Constancy and Clarity of Purpose Schools experiencing exceptionally rapid turnover are often reported to suffer from lack of shared purpose, cynicism among staff about principal commitment, and an inability to maintain a school improvement focus long enough to actually accomplish any meaningful change. (Louis, etc. al, 2010) How does one overcome cynicism in an organization?
  12. 12. Ways several ways to keep focus clear and constant: • • • • • Be fanatical about the positives of the project. Systematically drop what should not be pursued. Provide a sense of urgency to the area desired focus. Provide continuous feedback using data. When necessary, stretch out timelines to meet the goal.
  13. 13. 4. Confront the Data and Your Fears 5. Build Sustainable Relationships “Quality relationships are even more powerful than moral purpose.” (Fullan, 2003b, p.35) Relationships support a leader in taking the risk to act from his or her core to create organizational meaning. Relationships allow leaders to maintain clarity and constancy or purpose and to face the data and the fears, though this might otherwise be too stressful, threatening and disheartening. Which relationships are vital to your organization? How should they be maintained and sustained.
  14. 14. • Blankenstein, Alan. (2004) Failure is Not an Option. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Corwin Press. Refernces