This is the fourth article in the series Implementing Competency Education in K-12 Systems: Insights from Local Leaders.
Transforming districts and schools starts by engaging in a period of study. The superintendent may engage the school board in a series of readings, discussions, retreats, and site visits. A leadership team involving key district personnel and principals will look more deeply at the issues to examine how other districts have proceeded and to reflect on options for designing a process for moving forward. Superintendents also begin to have initial conversations with stakeholders in the community to lay the groundwork for understanding why we need a more personalized system, the problems with the traditional system, and the benefits of redesigning to ensure students are learning. Principals will later engage educators in inquiry teams in a similar process and also begin to review research about how students learn, brain science, motivation theory, and grading practices.
District and school leadership will drive the study groups and conversation with a set of questions such as the ones below:
- Why do we exist as a school? What is our purpose?
- What do successful people have that we want our graduates to know and be able to do?
- How will our children support the future growth of our communities, state, and country?
- What are the values that will govern how we interact with each other?
- What are the principles by which we will make decisions?
It is through this process of studying together, of no one having all the answers, of listening and respecting each perspective, that district and school leadership can begin to introduce a different leadership approach as well as the roots of a student-centered, problem-solving culture. (more…)