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The Will to Lead: Creating Healthy School Culture

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1 The Will to Lead: Creating Healthy School Culture
Anthony Muhammad, PhD

2 Is Change Necessary? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” —Albert Einstein

3 Two Forms of Change Technical–structural (skill) Cultural (will)

4 Will and Skill Culture Pedagogy

5 High Will and High Skill
Low Skill High Skill Low Will

6 Cultural Change “Structural change that is not supported by cultural change will eventually be overwhelmed by the culture, for it is in the culture that any organization finds meaning and stability.” Schlechty, Shaking Up the Schoolhouse: How to Support and Sustain Educational Innovation (2001), p. 52

7 Human Beings are Complex!
Hard Fact #1 Human Beings are Complex!

8 Transformational Leader
The transformational leader (at all levels) is determined to lead a person into better behavior rather than being satisfied with identifying and criticizing current behavior.

9 What qualities do leaders need to possess to transform behavior?

10 The Will to Lead Aligning the Philosophy Managing Frustration
Creating a Culture of Collaboration Institutionalizing Cultural Health Hollie and Muhammad, The Will to Lead, the Skill to Teach (2011)

11 School Culture “School culture is the set of norms, values, and beliefs, rituals and ceremonies, symbols and stories that make up the ‘persona’ of the school.” —Deal & Peterson, 2002

12 Common Misconceptions about Technical Changes
Changing the structure will lead to higher levels of productivity(“Rearranging the seats on the Titanic”) Technical changes make up for human deficiencies like poor instruction or unprofessional behavior Technical changes will “fix” kids or “fix” schools which are broken (i.e. dress codes, longer school day)

13 Apprenticeship of Observation
Educators have been socialized in their field since childhood and adopt the norms The average educator was a good student Educators subconsciously protect a system that was of personal benefit Educators implement practices that protect the system (academic obstacle course) (Lortie, Schoolteacher: A Sociological Study, 1975) I assume that this information is a paraphrase from a book. Please let me know if this is so. Also, we need the title of the work.

14 How would our society respond if the Achievement Gap were reversed?
Predetermination Perceptual (Everything is relative) Intrinsic (Victims remain victims) Institutional How would our society respond if the Achievement Gap were reversed?

15 Pause to Think! Have your school improvement efforts been heavily technical or cultural? Do you and your colleagues typically do things “with” students or “to” students? How have the three forms of Predetermination manifested in your school?

16 Healthy School Culture
“Educators have an unwavering belief in the ability of all of their students to achieve success, and they pass that belief on to others in overt and covert ways. Educators create policies and procedures and adopt practices that support their belief in the ability of every student.” —Kent D. Peterson in Cromwell, 2002

17 School goals guide behavior.
Prescriptive Commitment Belief in all students School goals guide behavior. Reflection Analyze data Confront brutal facts. Prescription Collaborative Disciplined practice

18 You can’t hold people accountable for what you haven’t made explicit.
Hard Fact #2 You can’t hold people accountable for what you haven’t made explicit.

19 Aligning the Philosophy - Developing Shared Purpose
The mission question challenges members of a group to reflect on the fundamental purpose of the organization, the very reason for its existence. The question asks, “Why do we exist?” “What are we here to do together?” and “What is the business of our business?” DuFour and Eaker, PLC at Work, 1998

20 Developing Mission Who are your students?
What are the areas where their lives could be enhanced through education? What will you collectively commit to focus on in order to enhance their lives? Mission must have a SERVICE ORIENTATION!

21 Who are Your Students? Levey Middle School - 2001 97% African-American
72% at or below National Poverty Line 80% of families are headed by single mothers 25% - 40% annual student mobility rate State achievement scores well below state averages

22 Levey Middle School Mission
“We will work collaboratively to ensure that each student is prepared for post-secondary education”

23 New Frontier 21 School A Fresh Approach
Professional Learning Community

24 Nine Core Beliefs Schools are places built for the education of children, not for adult employment. Schools play a major role in the future life success of students and their community. Education is a profession, and educators should conduct themselves as professionals. Education is a mission, and educators should conduct themselves as missionaries. Schools are a communities’ most precious institution, and they have the power to transform a community. Children are at the center of everything that we do, and our practice should reflect their best interest. We believe that schools must partner with other members of the community in order for the educational experience to be optimal. We believe that character is important and that schools can help shape a child’s character. We believe that service to the community is important and that it is essential in a democratic society.

25 Pause to Think Are you and your colleagues clear on your fundamental purpose? What would be evidence that your school has a clear and concise shared purpose?

26 A highly frustrated staff is a highly unproductive staff.
Hard Fact #3 A highly frustrated staff is a highly unproductive staff.

27 Human beings are complex!
Managing Frustration Human beings are complex!

28 Toxic School Culture “Educators believe that student success is based on students’ level of concern, attentiveness, prior knowledge, and willingness to comply with the demands of the school, and they articulate that belief in overt and covert ways. Educators create policies and procedures and adopt practices that support their belief in the impossibility of universal achievement.” —Kent D. Peterson in Cromwell, 2002

29 Descriptive and Deflective

30 “Frustration” – The Root of a Toxic Culture
Frustration = “A feeling of anxiety as a result of the inability to perform a task” A mismatch between skill set and task Causes people to deflect blame onto others and create covert alliances with people experiencing similar struggle

31 Recipe for Disaster Inappropriate preparation Poor support system
Task overload

32 The Culture of Complaint Two V’s
Venting Validation

33 Time Out! “To be a good teammate, your responsibilities must be more important than your rights” Orr, J. (2009). Our Top Ten Favorite John Wooden Quotes. Christian Science Monitor. Boston, MA.

34 Problem solvers Complainers Real Difference Healthy Culture
Toxic Culture Problem solvers Complainers

35 Good to Great, Jim Collins
What do great corporations/organizations do differently than good/average organizations? They seek and confront the “brutal facts” They get the right people on the “bus” and sit them in the “right seats”

36 The Quandary (Muhammad, 2009) Tweeners Believers Survivors
Fundamentalists (Muhammad, 2009)

37 Pause to Think What are your most prevalent frustrations?
How do you and your colleagues typically respond when you get frustrated? Does your leadership relieve or add to your frustrations?

38 Creating a Culture of Collaboration
Why Collaborate?

39 Teacher Isolation The crush … of our myriad daily events and duties kept us from collaborating on such obvious and challenging concerns as how to teach composition more effectively, and how to make literature more exciting…and so we worked consciously and unconsciously toward our own goals, within the limitations of what each of knew or did not know. Mike Schmoker This fits schools and teachers across America today.

40 A Collaborative Culture
“School improvement doesn’t happen by getting everyone to come to the auditorium and testify to their belief that all children can learn -- not if it means sending everyone back to the classroom to do what they’ve always done.” Elmore (2002) Real improvement comes when you visit a classroom where somebody is doing the same thing you are -- only better. That’s where the real conversation, the tough conversation about improvement takes place. Whether you’re a beginning teacher or a veteran, the important thing is to focus on the next stage of improvement. YET, there is tremendous autonomy at the same time. We’re not advocating one size fits all solutions - each team must work individually. Loose/tight USE Collaboration and Privatization Handouts here………

41 Leadership at Every Level
Healthy School Culture Teacher Building Leadership District State and Federal

42 Two Important Subcultures: Managerial and Collegial

43 Creating Healthy Cultures: A Two-Way Street
Collegial Managerial Control the language of the informal organization. Remove emotional tone (culture of complaint) from informal interactions. Focus peers on mission and problem solving. Develop and maintain healthy organizational vision. Develop and maintain healthy policies, practices, and procedures. Institutionalize organizational health.

44 Adult Drama Dysfunctional social interactions between adult professionals within a school environment that interfere with the proper implementation of important policies, practices, and procedures that support the proper education of students

45 Being correct is no substitute for being effective.
Hard Fact #4 Being correct is no substitute for being effective.

46 Pause to Think How well do teachers and site leaders collaborate in your school and/or school district? In your school and/or district, is being effective more important than being correct?

47 Institutionalizing Cultural Health
Moving the bus forward

48 Healthy cultures are two-way streets.
Support Accountability

49 Fundamentalist: Change is not easy.
“Drop Your Tools” Research People persist when they are given no clear reason to change. People persist when they do not trust the person who tells them to change. People persist when they view the alternative as more frightening. To change may mean admitting failure. (Maclean, 1992)

50 Good Leaders Transparently communicate purpose. Foster collaboration.
Build capacity. Hold people accountable.

51 Scenario 1 The board of education has to slash $3 million from next year’s budget. They have decided to eliminate the team planning time at each of the district’s four middle schools. Teachers will have to teach for an extra period each day and teaching staff will be reduced by four at each site. You are the associate superintendent for instruction. How do you properly facilitate this change?

52 Scenario 2 Your school has received the highest accountability rating granted by your state. At least 90 percent of your students meet or exceed state standards in math and reading. The board of education is concerned about the achievement of students with disabilities and they want to see substantial overhaul in the school support system for these students. You are the principal. How do you facilitate this change?

53 Scenario 3 Your high school has failed to make AYP for the last five years. Less than 30 percent of your students meet state requirements in math. Seventy percent of your math teachers are first- or second-year teachers. The state has communicated that if math scores are not improved by at least 10 percent for the upcoming school year, the school will face total restructuring. You are the math department chairperson. How do you facilitate change and growth?

54 Two Must-Reads for Follow-Up

55 Keyword -Dr. Anthony Muhammad
Contact Information Website: Twitter: @newfrontier21 Facebook: Keyword -Dr. Anthony Muhammad

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