Notebook with written strategy.

Cheryl Belknap November 15, 2018

Forward-Thinking Leadership: Learning for a Professional Lifetime

Cheryl Belknap

BetterLesson Instructional Coach and Senior Manager, Solution Design

Alejandro is in his second year as a principal in a high-needs school. He’s been to many trainings that focus on continuous improvement, but even those that promise they can deliver a process have seemed too process heavy and unrealistic. Alejandro knows students’ needs aren’t being met and he feels this with great urgency. It’s not that his teachers don’t agree that change is needed. The problem is how do you actually make it happen rather than talk about it in endless committee and data meetings? He feels he knows how to solve parts of the puzzle, but he needs to come up with a realistic plan that is scaled into doable steps. And the process has to be collaborative. He can’t do it all himself!

Does Alejandro’s story sound similar to yours? If so, you might like to take some time to think about ways to make your leadership more forward-thinking. Some of the strategies that are a part of BetterLesson’s support in coaching effective, measurable school change using a focus on student-centered learning and a Try-Measure-Learn process are shared below.

Design and implement more effective meetings

Use the Developing Norms: the “Secret Sauce” to Support Productive Group Work strategy. This strategy sets up the approach to reining in those behaviors that wreck meetings.

Share the load

Share the load and leadership by exploring BetterLesson’s Creating a Distributed Leadership Model: Meet Demands by Sharing the Load strategy.

Share the observation work, create collegial sharing opportunities, and develop your instructional support team to include everyone in the conversation by implementing the Lesson Study, Critical Friends, and Learning Walks strategy (available with a BetterLesson account).

Expand the sharing within your instructional community by exploring BetterLesson’s Leveraging Teaching Video strategy (available with a BetterLesson account) which helps to lower the stakes by including everyone in observation by using video.

Create shared activities and responsibilities

These should include your willingness to make the journey alongside teachers. Explore BetterLesson’s Modeling a Strategy strategy to use during a faculty meeting. By putting yourself “out there” and demonstrating a willingness to elicit feedback and take risks, you are also modeling the mindset needed for continuous improvement.

Try, Measure, Learn

Adopt a Try-Measure-Learn (TML) approach. Continuous improvement becomes doable when approached using BetterLesson’s Try-Measure-Learn (TML): The Heart of Continuous Improvement strategy. Learn more about the Try-Measure-Learn process and effective coaching here.

Continue on your professional growth journey by learning more about BetterLesson Coaching. Whether you are a school or district leader or a teacher interested in growing your leadership profile, BetterLesson can help you explore how to growing your instructional leadership skills and knowledge.