Where Is the Most Opportunity for Educators to Grow? Survey Says… Leadership Development

Topics: Systems Change

Districts across the country are transforming educational experiences for young people by implementing personalized, student-centered approaches in their schools. While this is an exciting and welcomed development in education, districts need to know to what extent their implementation efforts are succeeding. It’s in this search for progress, highlighting successes and growth areas, data collection and reporting become so important.

In this spirit, and based on KnowledgeWorks’ 10 conditions for scaling personalized learning, I’ve surveyed over 20 school districts from across the nation which include a mix of more than 1,000 teachers, principals and superintendents and the #1 opportunity for growth determined by these schools is…

leadership development!

[Infographic] Headline: Community-Wide Survey Dashboard. Top average is Technology Policy with 3.8. 2 is Professional Development. 3 is Vision. 4 is Assessment System. 5 is Curriculum. 6 is Instruction. 7 is Culture. 8 is Learner Supports. 9 is Transparency. 10 is Partnerships. 11 is Learning Environments. 12 is Data Systems. 13 is Leadership Development.
Each item represents the average score attributed to a theme or condition necessary for scaling personalized, competency-based learning. The average scores attributed to each district have been generated based on a 1-5 Likert scale, as designed in the survey. The average scores have no meaning outside of ordering district strengths and areas of opportunity.

Leadership development is one of the most critical components for success, and it tends to be one of the hardest. My colleague, Laura Hilger, director of teaching and learning at KnowledgeWorks, explains that leading this kind of change requires a radical moral purpose to drive towards the unknown. That means sharing the vulnerability of not having all the answers and working together to foster collective agency with adult learners who are all operating at different readiness levels.

Learn from Laura about the value of educator teamwork in personalized learning and how to create time and space for collective professional learning. Read more.

Below is a set of eight guiding questions to consider when challenged with fostering a healthy and personalized leadership development structure in your school setting:

Guiding Questions

  1. How would you define leadership development?
  2. Do you have an established team or committee focused on leadership development? Describe.
  3. How have you established a leadership framework, vision or guiding principles to drive leadership development in your district? What’s your strategy or plan for using it?
  4. Do your standards and curriculum address leadership? How do you address leadership at the learner level?
  5. How have you participated in leadership opportunities?
  6. Are leadership roles and responsibilities aligned to your district’s vision?
  7. What are the traits you believe are required to be a successful leader in your district?
  8. How do you know your school is making progress developing a leadership development structure? What’s your evidence?

After reflecting on these questions, think about your next steps as you consider ways to strengthen the leadership development structures in your school or district.

Do you think your school needs some help? Reach out to us.