Systematic School Change
Wafa Hozien, Ph.D.
Virginia State University
Based on the Book: Why Failure Is Not An Option
Relational Trust as Foundation for the
• Relationships are the CORE of Successful Learning.
• Especially true for Minority students (Ferguson, 2002)
• Successful schools have “respectful” and “trusting”
Relational Trust is Key
• The relationship among the adults in the schoolhouse has more impact on the
quality and the character of the schoolhouse –
• and on the accomplishments of youngsters –
• than any other factor.
-Roland Barth, 2001, Learning By Heart
Defining Relational Trust
• The concept of relational trust in schools focuses on
• distinct role relationships and the obligations and expectations associated
with each. When these expectations are met, trust is enhanced.
• When a person’s expectations of another person are not met, trust is
Four Components of Relational Trust
Respect for the importance of a person’s role
Competence to administer the role
Personal regard for others
Integrity, the alignment of words, actions and ethics
• What can a new principal do in order to begin to fit into
the culture of your school?
Communication Framework to Enhance Affinity
The challenge is listening to others.
Listening and engaging staff
Consistent open communication
Shapes focus of school
Engages the staff
Strategies for Building Trust
• One-on-One Strategies
A. Listen First
1. Show appreciation via understanding the other point of view
2. Finding merit in what the person does, thinks, or feels is important in
3. Communicate understanding in words and actions
4. Show appreciation for yourself as well!
B. Find Common Ground
D. Confront Inappropriate
• Organizational Strategies
• Create Fail-Free Zones
1. Common character, similarity, likeness, as, community of spirit.
2. The people living in the same district, city, and so on under the same laws.
The concept of a “school-based learning community” was understood
Reflective dialogue among teachers;
Deprivatization of practice
Collective focus on student learning;
Shared norms and values (adapted from
Kruse, Seashore Louis & Bryk, 1994)
Essence of Professional Learning Community (PLCs)
• Principle 1. Common mission, vision, values, and goals
• Principle 2. Ensuring achievement for all students: creating systems for
prevention and intervention
• Principle 3. Collaborative teaming focused on teaching and learning
• Principle 4. Using data to guide decision making and continuous
• Principle 5. Gaining active engagement from family and community
• Principle 6. Building sustainable leadership capacity
• Blankstein, Alan M. (2004). Failure Is Not an Option:
Six Principles That Advance Student Achievement in
Highly Effective Schools. Thousand Oaks, Calif. :