Monday, February 25, 2008

My Report Card

Despite how focused I think I am and how much I preach focus in leadership, I find myself scattered as I try to juggle multiple initiatives. All of these initiatives are in addition to my standard work with other schools, presenting at conferences or hosting visitors. I launched these initiatives in order to meet needs of the school as I perceived them. I thought a report card on my self might be a helpful exercise. I need to figure out whether there's a pattern to those initiatives that fizzle out and those that get traction.

Faculty Evaluation – a year ago I attended the National Association of Independent Schools conference and ran across a form of faculty evaluation that focused on teachers setting their own professional goals. I adapted many of the forms and the approaches as I understood them.

  • Grade: C Despite having run meetings to focus on these goals, not a single person mentions these goals unless I bring them up. It doesn't seem to be meaningful to the staff.

Instructional Meetings
– I was tired of making up stuff to deliver some staff development. Like the faculty evaluation, there wasn't much demand from staff for anything in particular so I kept preparing topical sessions that were not part of a coherent plan as I would like. However, I was working to meet with smaller groups all the time. So, I proposed using this time to meet in groups.

  • Grade: C I thought more people would want to meet in small groups to work on projects they were already a part of . There's little to no response to joining various groups. So far, the meetings have fallen into two groups each time and they don't seem to be very effective. I give this initiative a B however with respect to how much I have to work on it in contrast to past PD.

Restorative Justice – instituted to stem the expulsion of students for breaking non-negotiables while also providing a community building ritual.

  • Grade: B+ Part of the culture, students expect to get restorative justice and we have a stable group of staff and students who can facilitate. Follow through is excellent. More trainings and reflection would move this to an A.

Fairness – in the spirit of restorative justice, I wanted to create a group that would deal with lower level behavior issues.

  • Grade: D Exists in concept only. I haven't figured out how to make it work and there's no demand for it.

Night Patrol– I proposed doing random night patrols to look into how well students were sleeping and hopefully act as a deterrent to late night misbehavior.

  • Grade: B+ Committed volunteers work on this. No complaints from students and some of them have reported their belief that it has been a deterrent. I feel really good about this initiative. Unfortunately we are short one or two volunteers to successfully fill all the slots.

Leadership Team Meetings – part of my earlier school critique was the lack of agenda and focus during leadership team meetings. I gathered all the items that people suggested we talk about and organized an agenda based approach to holding the meetings.

  • Grade: B+ ...maybe an A. Since proposed, we have never failed to have an agenda and minutes for the leadership team meetings. A digest of the minutes is provided to the staff and we have received great feedback on our greater transparency.

Power Standards – Some time ago I proposed we revise our curriculum guide to focus on fewer standards. Little to nothing was done on this work until there was a recent resurgence in interest. It may now be the focus of an all day instructional meeting.

  • Grade: C or B The resurgence of interest is welcome. However, staff seem real confused about how to proceed. I feel like there's a lot of work to do to make sense of this initiative for the staff.

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