This post first appeared in the PASA Flyer – September 2017.
The temperatures are dropping and leaves are changing. Summer is over, and fall is upon us. This is a great time to finalize our personal and professional goals for 2017-18. This year in Salisbury Township School District, my colleague, Randy Ziegenfuss, Ed.D. and I are expecting all Act 93 and contracted leaders to develop two significant stretch goals and one action research/passion project. At our August retreat, we shared our goals as a model for our leaders. Throughout the year, each of us will link evidence and artifacts that support the attainment of our goals. At the end of the year, we will reshare the document with our Board for evaluation purposes.
Once everyone’s goals have been created, there are several questions to consider: How can Randy and I best support our leaders in the attainment of their goals? How do we engage in thoughtful conversations about the action steps needed to complete the goals? How might we encourage our leaders to take risks, reflect on their work, and embrace the iterative process? How do we carve out time for this significant work when the urgent, operational work looms overhead? Recently, Google shared tools their managers use to support department members in goal attainment in the article – Google Is Giving Away Its Best Tools for Managers Absolutely Free. I especially liked the “One Simple Thing” worksheet in which managers openly discuss non-work goals with their team members, and the 1:1 meeting agenda template in which managers create regular opportunities to provide feedback and guidance. Both of these templates are easily customizable for your system in Google Docs.
In addition to two stretch goals, our leaders are developing an action research/passion project. Modeling the way, as our passion project, Randy and I are investigating competencies leaders need in order to lead a learner-centered environment. To complete this research, we began a podcast – Shift Your Paradigm. Through this podcast, we are interviewing practitioners across the country who have implemented facets of Education Reimagined’s transformational vision. Education Reimagined has published several resources to help us better understand a learner-centered environment. (Learn more in A Transformational Vision for Education in the US or It’s a Paradigm Shift. So What?)
The first two episodes of our podcast are already available: Episode 1: What is learner-centered?, with Education Reimagined Executive Director, Kelly Young, and Episode 2: What is learner-centered leadership?, with Allan Cohen and Anya Smith. I hope you will join us on this learning journey. There are some amazing leaders across the country who are truly implementing elements of the learner-centered vision. So much to learn!