Now that I laid out my critique, I want to list recommendations that follow from the critique:
Overall: Build a stronger infrastructure of processes and structures that take the burden off having to make as many personal, emotional and ad hoc decisions.
1.Commit to long term strategic thinking and follow the plan (i.e., Good to Great – but doesn't have to be that). Commitment to strategy and discussion should be a weekly event.
2.Identify schoolwide problems and make those issues the heart of leadership team meetings. Use the collective talent to dialogue, argue and problem solve.
3.Adopt the process of running big decisions by the rest of the leadership team (i.e, dismissal of students, approaches to clean up in houses, launching the New Orleans trip, etc.). Final authority remains with one person in the most appropriate department and all remains the final call of head of school should he choose to exercise that call. But, from now on decision makers get to hear the perspectives of others before proceeding.
4.Commit to open and frank conversation about topics and issues. Do not say what we really feel after the meeting is over and some folks have left. Call each other on adhering to this practice.
5.Develop and adhere to agendas for leadership team meetings rather than showing up and reporting out. Maintain and distribute minutes.
6.Once a strategy is adopted (see #1 above), run future decisions through the strategy filter. Should we follow through with Akosha Fdn and New Schools for New Leaders, how do we roll out “Everybody Writes Every Day?” etc. Again, not bound by the strategy but bound by running it through the filter with all leadership team members.
7.Adopt standard processes for the following
Decision making within leadership team, decision making with staff involvement.
Making proposals and getting feedback / responses
Conducting whole school conversations (i.e., community meeting)
Student behavior / culture system
Reactive: i.e., restorative justice, fairness committee
Structures in light of students' poor decision making (i.e, night duty, strong circles, etc.)
8.Every initiative / event must have a leadership team “sponsor.” Someone responsible for supervising the success of the initiative or event (i.e., House Focus, Community meetings, etc.)
9.Once agreed upon a process to supervising staff and holding accountable, we must diligently follow through.