I have been thinking a lot about how I can improve my leadership during our journey into PLCs. As I reflect, I feel as though I could be doing a better job at providing resources and support to my fellow leadership team members that I supervise as we continue to work with our teams to collaborate and improve teacher practice. My recent observations of our morning collaboration and conversations with colleagues have led me to question if everyone is clear about our vision as a school. Am I clear about what our vision is a school? I read a portion of Dufour’s work on loose-tight leadership and it helped me reflect on my daily work.
Principals do not empower others by disempowering themselves. They cannot send the message that everything is acceptable: They must stand for something. They must lead, and this is a task that requires them to be both ardent advocates of teacher autonomy and passionate promoters and protectors of shared vision and values. Empowered teachers and strong principals are not mutually exclusive. Schools that operate as learning communities will have both -Dufour and Eaker
I believe that if I’m uncertain about our vision then I am going to have a tough time directing leadership team members and teachers back to a vision that we all should adhere to. Without having a shared vision or values toward our district academic mission towards standards based education it will be difficult for me or anyone else to be “tight” on thinks like norms, protocols, and other guidlines that are needed to direct our work. I may believe in a vision and value system that I want to remain passionately “tight” on, but is it our shared vision? Do we believe that we are no-nonsense protectors of something shared and important?
Our current challenge as a leadership team has to develop a starting point as to what we want our high school to look like three years from now with all students learning in a standards-based system. We need to use professional development time to work together with the staff and have important conversations to ensure that we all share similar values. We need to develop and confirm that shared vision. We need to know and care for what we believe in. Is this something that we probably should have done earlier? YES! However, it is never to late to improve and work together to become a better school for our students. I look forward to the challenge of contiuously improving.