What should every principal be doing to make schools more effective at preparing every child for adulthood?
The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, part of North Carolina State University, lays out an 8 step plan. The Friday Institute works with teachers and principals around the US on leadership and instruction.
Mary Ann Wof, Elisabeth Bobst, and my friend Nancy Mangum just codified their methods in the seminal book Personalized and Digital Learning, published by Harvard Education Press.
Of course, it begins with vision. If you don’t know where you’re headed, how are you going to get there? But vision isn’t what a principal dreams up and then communicates. And vision is not consensus. You can’t expect every person in an organization to commit to an untested vision. An effective vision emerge from collaboration and conversation with a core representation of stakeholders, it builds momentum, and eventually consensus from success.
Very few successful schools operate top down, with hierarchical and rigid management. Change management principals and distributed management are central to most successful schools. The formal administrators of a school are neither omnipresent, nor omniscient. Really good schools task teachers and instructional coaches with key aspects of change and improvement.
All successful schools empower everyone. The children are empowered, given agency over what and how they learn. Teachers work together to develop and improve professional practices. Parents play a role.
These are just three of the eight steps in the plan, and the book provides practical advice for each, with examples and “try this now” exercises.
And you’ll have the chance to learn about all eight of these principles live and online with the Friday Institute’s series on Edchat Interactive. Register here for the first session, which will be Thursday, January 11.