Leading for Learning

This past Monday I visited East Stroudsburg North High School. Steve Zall, principal, hosted a group of administrators from a neighboring school district and myself to showcase his building's instructional walk-through process. As I listened to Steve share his experience and hospitality with us, I was struck by two things. First, instructional walk-throughs are not about teachers or teaching. They are about leading and leadership. Secondly, the term instructional leader is really not an accurate term, rather what we need in schools are learning leaders.

To pay attention to instruction is not sufficient. We need leaders who are not content to simply schedule professional development and assume its implementation. We need leaders like Steve, who walk with a high degree of frequency from classroom to classroom looking for evidence of implementation. We need leaders that will learn along side their teachers, participate in staff development and be able to recognize implementation when they see it. When we have learning leaders, I believe we will find learning teachers.

So the reflective question on the table is......

Are you a learning leader?

Do you have learning teachers?

See also East Stroudsburg's Student Advisory Council post.

Comments

dbittner said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
dbittner said…
I've had the privilege to work with Steve and his staff, and I would certainly agree with you that he is a learning leader. I believe the key missing piece of the puzzle regarding effective professional development in most districts has been administrative involvement in determining if initiatives are being implemented effectively in the classroom. All too often, when doing trainings in district, there is a noticeable lack of attendance by administrators. Understandably, an administrator's schedule can make it quite difficult to attend trainings, but unless they do, usually the teachers of the district/school will know more about an initiative (co-teaching, differentiated instruction,etc.) than their principal or other administrators. If the principal doesn't know what to look for when doing learning walks or other forms of teacher observation, the likelihood of an initiative's long term success is very slim. Some districts I've talked to are becoming more aware of the necessity to train administrators as well as their staffs. Hopefully, this means we will have more learning leaders like Steve in the near future that will be creating more learning teachers in our classrooms.

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