I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole this morning about equity and change that I can’t resist sharing.
It started with this article by Shane Safir about using “street level” rather than “satellite data” for equity, which is a really powerful mindshift about what data we collect and use. (At PBLWorks, we’ve done some equity work with Shane. She is amazing. Her book The Listening Leader is at the top of my list of books to read.)
And then, this article, which is linked in Shane’s article about how equity should be about liberation. This quote is what prompted to share all this:
Much of the traditional literature assumes that the leader is the hero, the members of the organization are the resistance, and the central challenge is to achieve “buy-in” via “change management.” A liberatory design approach, by contrast, assumes that teachers and students would like to develop engaging, meaningful learning experiences, and that the problem is not them but the institutional structures and culture of schools that constrains them. Such an approach would foreground the lived experiences of students and teachers and invite them to help redesign schools in ways that are more purposeful and humane. Rather than act on students, teachers, and communities, we would work with them.
I love the power and simplicity of this school’s vision (reminds me a little of Westgate Elementary’s: Lead, Love, Learn). And I especially love the way they identified clear, public strategies and outcomes for each one.
I thought you might enjoy today’s post to BIE’s blog. This made me think of some of our recent conversations about innovative furniture, innovative instruction and managing change.
In reading the last 2 articles for this week (Class 5: 9/27/18) one thing that kept coming up for me is a wonder about the importance of staff culture and context to really make change happen via continuous improvement from data analysis. To me it seems like culture would be really important and that key characteristics of that culture would need to include transparency, trust and collaboration (along with vision and action)
- transparency: we’ve got to put it all out there, no un-discuss-ables, or elephants in the room
- trust: so that we are each really open to see what is there in the data even about ourselves and are open to critique without getting defensive.
- collaboration: because the work of change and improvement is too big to do alone.
- (vision: we have to know why we’re digging in deep and doing hard work)
- (action: we have to do something based on the analysis, otherwise trust will be eroded)
This reminded me of a book I read recently called An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Development Organization. (You can find a shorter summary here.) This book speaks to the benefits of an organization-wide orientation toward continuous improvement of each individual–as person and professional–as a core element of the work of the organization. Not an add-on or a nice-to-have but inseparable from the “real” work of the organization.
My biggest wonder so far about our orientation or mindsets as leaders is whether our focus should be on the development of staff as our primary mission in service of a shared vision of positive outcomes for students. Is that the norm with principals? How would that cascade throughout the system? Would it lead to achievement of the vision? Spoiler alert: The book above suggests yes. I’m really curious about what it would look like in schools.
By coincidence, right now I’m reading the book Beyond Test Scores: A Better Way to Measure School Quality. Its by Jack Schneider who wrote What to know before using school ratings tools from real estate companies which we were asked to read for this week (Class 5, 9/27/18). I though you might like to see what the model he recommends for creating a better measure of school quality.
I’m still working my way through it. I’m just getting into the part where he talks about how to actually collect this data, which is key!