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Developing and nurturing the culture of community colleges through administrative leadership

Gabriel Table of Contents Chapter 1. Nurturing Leadership in Your School For nearly a century, schools have functioned in the autocratic style of the line-staff model: But with the growing emphasis on high-stakes testing and the advent of No Child Left Behind, many school leaders are seeking more effective organizational behavior by drawing on the leadership potential of all stakeholders, especially teachers.

Schools making this change are creating and expanding teachers' roles as leaders. They alone are positioned where all the fulcrums are for change. They alone know what the day-to-day problems are and what it takes to solve them. They, not the principals, should be the ones to hire new teachers. They know what is needed. The report claims that teachers are essential to reform and that they possess a body of knowledge yet to be exploited.

But we already knew that. We educators also knew that the role ripest for this kind of metamorphosis is that of the department chair in high schools or the team leader in elementary and middle schools. Department chairs and team leaders walk a fine line: They nurture colleagues and teach alongside them, but they also must retain allegiance to their administrators. They lack line authority. Considering how essential teacher leaders are to improving achievement, this is perhaps the most curious aspect of their roles.

They are constantly reminded, by both administrators and teachers, of all they cannot do—regardless of their potential for positive change, which is often greater than that of all other leaders in a school because of their broad sphere of influence. Teacher leaders possess a semblance of authority but no formal power—only the illusion of power. For example, a department chair cannot complete teacher evaluations.

  • They alone are positioned where all the fulcrums are for change;
  • While you are equipping them with essential skills and knowledge, you may be creating your successor for when you move on;
  • This ultimately benefits the teachers' growth, the team's growth, and the students' growth;
  • They alone are positioned where all the fulcrums are for change;
  • Therefore, if standardized results are marginal or a teacher's leadership is questionable, a change is warranted;
  • Nurturing Leadership in Your School For nearly a century, schools have functioned in the autocratic style of the line-staff model:

She cannot place a memo or letter in someone's personnel file, nor can she dismiss a teacher. As a result, she must find other ways to motivate, mobilize, and lead teachers. She must rely on intrinsic leadership abilities, knowledge of group dynamics, influence, respect, and leadership by example to boost the productivity of her department.

In myopic schools, the role of department chair is limited to that of a paper pusher. These schools view the teacher leader as someone who will complete the master schedule, order supplies, maintain inventory, and pass developing and nurturing the culture of community colleges through administrative leadership administrative directives to the department.

These schools either don't know how else to capitalize on the strengths of their teacher leaders or are uncomfortable doing so.

True, these traditional responsibilities are critical to maintaining the wellness of a school, but in terms of improving the health of an organization, forward-thinking schools have moved beyond this. In schools where transformational leadership is present, administrators recognize that the leadership of a department chair or team leader can make a significant difference to the climate and culture of the school.

They are not threatened by a teacher's influence or exercise of leadership, nor by giving up some control. With the pressure of high-stakes testing and the need to meet state and federal benchmarks, administrators rely on these leaders to improve achievement and even defer to them in certain instances. Roles for Teacher Leaders Although the traditional teacher leader is still important in a school, other leadership positions can have as much influence in ensuring student achievement.

These roles offer teachers a greater voice in shaping programs, supporting the mission, and guiding a team toward its goal, which will ultimately help the students and the school achieve. Not all leadership positions are formal in nature. Every school has teacher leaders who do not serve—and may never have served—as official leaders, which is one of the most unique components of teacher leadership.

  1. An accurate record of what was discussed and what was decided can be helpful in case of future disagreement, as well as in bringing people who missed the meeting up to speed. Although the following leadership positions can enhance teachers' professional self-worth, these roles are equally significant to you.
  2. But we already knew that.
  3. The school plan chair has an integral position in coordinating and guiding the school toward achieving its vision.
  4. Finally, these leaders create staff development opportunities for their teams, because they best know the challenges that the teams face. These schools view the teacher leader as someone who will complete the master schedule, order supplies, maintain inventory, and pass along administrative directives to the department.
  5. Although it might be interpreted that the note-taker is in cahoots with you if she sits next to you, proximity can be helpful.

In any kind of organization, informal leaders command a great deal of respect; they have much say and sway in determining a team's climate or the chances of a proposal's adoption, and they are often sought after for advice.

Similarly, not all leadership roles are fixed—meaning assigned, specific positions. Someone might act as a mentor one week and then assume the role of innovator with a unique proposal the following week. These fluid and spontaneous roles are just as essential as the leader to the success of the team.

Ideally, these people are the supporters whom the leader can trust and turn to for help in a variety of matters. It is also expected that leadership roles will change, shift, and evolve over time. If someone was a team leader for the past five years, it does not guarantee him that role for a sixth year.

Leadership roles should not be determined by seniority. Therefore, if standardized results are marginal or a teacher's leadership is questionable, a change is warranted. Don't be afraid to make changes; change, along with its potential for struggle and conflict, is often an essential ingredient of success.

Roles for Teacher Leaders

If you are a department chair or developing and nurturing the culture of community colleges through administrative leadership leader, you probably have already realized how difficult it is to accomplish everything that your job entails. Effective teacher leaders are usually given more responsibility, whether they want it or not, so you need to learn how not to overburden your teachers and how to say no and that there is nothing wrong in doing so to avoid burnout.

Although the following leadership positions can enhance teachers' professional self-worth, these roles are equally significant to you: Moreover, these roles can be vehicles for grooming future leaders. Aside from becoming a department chair, counselor, or administrator, a teacher has very little opportunity for career advancement within a school building.

Not only can the leadership possibilities below benefit a school or a program, they can also spark interest in pursuing a position at the central office or collegiate level, where teachers can have an even greater influence on education. This leadership position is often further broken down by content area or instructional concerns. Through horizontal alignment, the subject area specialist coordinates curriculum across the grade level, providing instructional leadership and support to teachers of a common subject.

For instance, the subject leader might call a meeting to discuss why some 6th graders are having more success than others in comprehending photosynthesis, and which strategies have been effective in conveying the concept. Monitoring the instruction and assessments of the teachers on the grade level is paramount since every student in each subject area is expected to possess the same set of skills and body of knowledge at the end of the year.

These leaders initiate curriculum mapping and scrutinize the assessments used. Analyzing data also plays a large role in improving student achievement, so leaders should be aware of the most recent data about the team and its progress toward certain benchmarks.

Finally, these leaders create staff development opportunities for their teams, because they best know the challenges that the teams face.

Vertical Leader This role is similar to the above, except that the leader is in charge of seeing that curriculum is aligned up and down the grade levels. For example, the 6th grade vertical team leader ensures that students have acquired the knowledge and skills in their previous math classes that they need for success at the benchmark level. If not, leaders find ways to tighten the instruction and the curriculum.

  1. Some host teachers might view this role as a vacation because someone else will be responsible for teaching their classes.
  2. He could set up a drop-box in the building or, with the aid of the building's technology specialist, establish an e-mail account that would protect the anonymity of teachers posting or sending messages. They alone know what the day-to-day problems are and what it takes to solve them.
  3. Considering how essential teacher leaders are to improving achievement, this is perhaps the most curious aspect of their roles.

They also promote collaboration and share pertinent content literature. Backup Leader Train future leaders by rotating teachers as the backup to your position.

Chapter 1. Organizational Leadership: Nurturing Leadership in Your School

Invest time to sit down with them and explain the nature of your job, or to discuss situations that arise during the course of your day. You might have them proofread one of your e-mail messages so they can learn about the issues you deal with plus, it is always a good idea to have an extra set of eyes look over something you wrote. Let them join you in interviews. Afterward, meet with them immediately to explain your line of questioning or to see what characteristics of the applicant they picked up on.

Send them in your place to meetings where they will learn how time-consuming, and at times frustrating, a leadership position can be and how to cope with that. Have them assume your responsibilities when you are absent. Basically, let them experience your experience, similar to an informal internship where they can get an overview of your position and its nuances.

While you are equipping them with essential skills and knowledge, you may be creating your successor for when you move on. Even if you don't leave in the near future, your backup will have been trained to take a leadership position elsewhere. As one of my administrators used to preach, begin the cycle anew and help reform education from within.

Mentor This person takes on the responsibility of coaching and advising novice teachers and teachers who are new to the school system. With more and more novice teachers leaving the field within the first few years of teaching, the mentor is not only concerned with instructional and organizational needs; he also lends emotional and moral support to alleviate the stress that the job creates.

A mentor need not always be the strongest instructional leader, but he should have a solid grounding in best practices and his content area. He should be able to suggest ideas and strategies to assist in classroom instruction. And he must be astute enough to read people that is, he must be perceptive and have a high emotional intelligence. Because of the importance of retaining teachers, new employees should be carefully placed and matched with mentors, either by a lead mentor, who oversees mentors in the entire building, or by the team or department leader.

Peer Coach Not a new concept, peer coaching has received much attention in recent years and is embraced and advanced in some school districts. Because peer denotes equality, these teachers' classroom visits are nonthreatening. They are not evaluative and prescriptive; they are diagnostic and constructive, allowing teachers to experiment and take risks without fear of judgment.

After each has observed the other in class, peer coaches discuss observed instructional behaviors, actions, and practices, which can include giving feedback on plans, lessons, instruction, classroom presence, and classroom management. There is a safe environment among these volunteers that enables them to converse in a candid manner and learn from each other.

This ultimately benefits the teachers' growth, the team's growth, and the students' growth. An accurate record of what was discussed and what developing and nurturing the culture of community colleges through administrative leadership decided can be helpful in case of future disagreement, as well as in bringing people who missed the meeting up to speed.

Minutes should document who was present, who was absent, and who was late. Working from an agenda, the note-taker keeps a record of issues and questions raised and the resulting dialogue, outcomes, and resolutions. In circumstances where there may be rancor over what the minutes reflect, it might be prudent to have two people record them and compare notes to ensure their accuracy. Although it might be interpreted that the note-taker is in cahoots with you if she sits next to you, proximity can be helpful.

It enables her to look over your shoulder at your own notes in case she misses something and to stay on top of every issue. It is also a good idea to keep the minutes in a central place so all teachers, regardless of what team they are serving on, have access to them. After a stressful day of work, it is natural for a meeting to degenerate into a complaint session or, in worse cases, a complete digression into the social lives of the group's members.

This leader keeps the group plowing ahead and reminds members when they are nearing the cutoff or have exceeded the time limit for a topic.

Meetings should be productive, and the main reason they often are not is that someone has been allowed to derail the group and pursue his own topics of discussion while everyone waits for someone else to intervene. Developing and nurturing the culture of community colleges through administrative leadership weak and strong school systems tend to underuse the extraordinary wealth of talent they possess.

Target one of your teacher's strengths and ask him to give a presentation. Or ask someone, or a team, to read a professional article and report back to the group on it.

Leadership Qualities

This role is by no means fixed. For example, the team leader can begin by selecting someone to present. This kind of staff development should be the focus for most of your team meetings. Conference Attendee After you have exhausted your team's resources, try to send your teachers to seminars, depending on your budget.