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August 10, 2011

Principals Leading the Way

by Chris Lindholm

“Being collaborative has to become a non-negotiable…” – ISD191 principal.  Music to my ears!!  Principals in ISD191 are currently engaged in a two day retreat focused on leading in a district that embraces the work of a Professional Learning Community.  Our administrators are working in collaborative teams to clarify what being “results-oriented, focused on learning, and collaborative” will look like in all BES schools, and how we will work together to lead these efforts.  Their commitment to student learning and doing the hard work necessary to get better results is energizing! 

Highlights of the day…

  • Small groups discussed several quotes focused on collaboration and articulated key components to cultivating a collaborative culture district-wide.  These discussions included several community building activities to facilitate the trust building necessary for real transparency.
  • Working in vertically aligned “cluster teams,” principals and other administrators are developing the norms that will be key to doing our own collaborative work.  This work will be focused on the multiple measures of evidence collected to monitor the progress of each building team as they work to accomplish the goals articulated in School Improvement Plans.
  • Great statements made by individuals at different points in the conversation:
    • “We need to be willing to hold each other accountable.”
    • “The real measure isn’t about what we say.  It’s about us modeling the doing of this hard work.”
    • “I’m now reconsidering how I plan to lead the norm setting process with the PLC teams in my building.”
    • “We’ve been discussing how we can use the norm setting processes to build district-wide trust across all employee groups.”
    • “We need to engage in the hard conversations and be willing to help each other out.”
    • “Collaboration needs to be a non-negotiable.”

I’m very appreciative of the hard work taking place today and tomorrow and for the leadership of the Teaching and Learning Team.  If the leadership and level of intensity of the principal group today is a symptom of what’s ahead, the 2011-12 school year is certain to be outstanding!!


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