By Dr. Joanna Lein
Schools leaders are constantly thinking about change. Whether it’s new standards, resources, priorities, or curriculum, school changes require thoughtful roll-outs if you want the new change to be successful.
Change management is such a prominent part of the school leader job that Oklahoma’s most prevalent principal evaluation tool, McRel, uses “Managing Change” as one of its three main rubric areas (along with “Purposeful Community” and “Focus of Leadership).
Still, managing change is tricky. During a recent social media conversation, I watched as teachers and administration batted around examples of failed changes in their schools. The results varied from frustrated staff members to initiative overload, burnout, and even all-out mutiny. It wasn’t all disappointment though. Sprinkled throughout the conversation were stories of enduring change.
One teacher excitedly recalled the year her principal pushed teachers to integrate an ambitious set of differentiation strategies. Step by step, the teachers learned about the idea, researched strategies, practiced implementation, observed their colleagues, and received principal feedback. “At every faculty meeting,” she wrote, “we drew a name of a teacher to observe, fill out a reflection, and turn it in. Eighth grade teachers and kindergarten teachers had to observe each other.” Not even the grumpiest of teachers was exempt. The most amazing part for the teacher writer? How quickly the principal invested an entire faculty to take ownership and be accountable for differentiation strategies in every lesson at every grade level.
At TLI, we spend a lot of time helping leaders strategically plan for change. Now, we’re excited to bring a taste of that work to you! Over the next six weeks, we’re rolling out a series of blog posts to introduce you to the big pieces of school-base change management.
Whether you’re still a little gun shy from a botched change, eagerly planning for innovation next semester, or barely making it through a difficult change right now, join us for some weekly change management wisdom.
In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you. Email us or drop a comment below if you want a specific issue addressed or have an example to share.