EDUC871-REPLIES-Discussion Thread: Teacher Led School Improvement
Read two responses from 2 different people uploaded to the files. The response needs its own response of at least 150 words and its own citations and references. Prepare two reply with at least 150 words with its own citations and references.
Engaging teachers and all school staff in school decision-making processes is essential for meaningful improvement and continued success. The article presented begins with the four I’s of school leadership: individual consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence (Parkay et al., 2014). The idea here is that the principal, using the four I’s for intellectual stimulation, will help the “school staff to have vision and foresight in looking at old problems in new ways by working together to create, identify, and implement innovative, workable solutions” (Parkay et al., 2014, pp. 346-347).
Implementing solutions for a school requires that a consensus is reached among the entire staff. Ideally, potential solutions will be offered by people other than the principal (Parkay et al, 2014). The approach offered is one that involves all stakeholders at the school, from administrators and teachers to custodial staff and other workers (Parkay et al., 2014). This promotes ownership of the proposed and adopted measures, making them more likely to be successful in the future. I have seen this type of leadership in action at the community college, where I work. One prime example is our Faculty and Staff Association (FSA). As the name implies, membership is granted to all faculty and staff who are willing to attend. At the meetings ideas are discussed for educational improvement initiatives along with other areas that the school could improve upon. The president of the college attends these meetings to listen and learn, and at the end of the meeting anonymous suggestions that have been collected since the last meeting are discussed, answered, and potentially adopted.
Our FSA is our leadership team. As described above, this organization aligns well with the description of the leadership team from the article: a team where “teachers work collectively with administrators to implement research-based instructional practices and methodologies” while adequately sustaining the “responsibility and challenges of becoming an effective school” (Parkay et al., 2014, p. 347). The FSA also offers us the opportunity to engage our “collective intelligence” while solving problems and maintaining a strong focus on the issues that the school faces now and potentially in the future (Parkay et al., 2014, p. 347).
The grooming of teacher leaders section also has relevance the community college where I work. The article suggests that the leadership must be chosen by their peers, and the principal should not solely choose these leaders (Parkay et al., 2014). We elect our leaders through the FSA and the president of the college works closely with them to enact changes and training based on the feedback provided during the monthly meetings. In fact, the school has an open-door policy on desired training which is weighed heavily against other needs of the school. When needs and training desires align, they are enacted, which makes the overall success of our school thrive. Due to this type of leadership style, we have seen record enrollment, even throughout the pandemic, and maintain a position as one of the top community colleges in the state. Most impressive about this is that all our growth and increased initiatives were achieved without increases in funding. I believe that this is, in part, related to implementation of the four I’s of school leadership.
In the article, “The Case of Teacher-Led School Improvement” by LaQuanda Brown (2008) the idea of having teacher involved decision making, involvement with administration, and more are discussed. Brown states that a successful administrator will involve their teachers in decision making and always respond to teacher concerns or suggestions. Brown specifically suggest administrators create a small teacher focus group that they can discuss any changes that need to be made with. Madden (2018) also tells us that when teachers feel that they have a “voice” they are more likely to feel connected and involved with their school. If teachers are included and their concerns or suggestions are considered, they likely will feel like they have more control over their classroom.
Personally, I have experienced both types of work environment. In one of my early teaching jobs we were not allowed to have any say pr question our administration. The environment felt hostile and the turnover rate as extremely high. There was no teacher input. Teachers were given specific guidelines to follow and that was what was expected, wether you agreed with it or not. There were times teachers had wonderful suggestions for disciplinary actions, rewards systems, or other ideas to improve the school. Unfortunately they were always shut down. I myself only stayed at this school for one yaar before moving on. In another position I found myself with an administration that was completely supportive. We received monthly surveys to address concerns. They would hold “well being” conferences to check on teachers mental health, and weekly grade level meetings to discuss non academic needs teachers may have with students. Although concerns were not always able to be addressed to the satisfaction of all teachers, it genuinely felt that this administration cared and wanted to create a positive workplace. It is also worth noting that many teachers stay at this school until retirement or life circumstances force them to move.
Ultimately I believe having a workplace like the one Brown (2004) discusses is going to be more beneficial to the teachers. Teachers will be better for their students and will likely produce better results in the classroom fi they feel that their administration truly supports them and has their back. The bible also talks about the importance of having a community. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Leaning on and supporting one another is vital to having a satisfied work place.