Upstream Thinking . . . Who will pay for what does not happen?

Leader’s Corner

“Tiny shifts in large systems can have powerful effects.”

~ Dan Heath

Instructional Leadership Routines (ILR) are specific to leading instructional improvement at the building level. In a district using the Blueprint framework, building leaders are able to reorganize their time and rely on established systems so that their focus can be on teaching and learning as opposed to focusing on downstream actions. 

An instructional leader has a clear understanding of the vision established by the district for curriculum, instruction, and assessment, as well as how to coach and support their teachers so that they have the resources and knowledge to engage their students and reach the district’s vision.  With a goal to increase overall collective teacher efficacy, the instructional leader is responsible for: 

  • Promoting instructional coordination between general education and special education teachers,
  • Scheduling adequate time for teacher collaboration, and 
  • Developing and implementing a protocol for use in teacher collaboration.

There’s a strong connection between those three ILR practices and Teacher Collaborative Routines.  Research tells us that in order to grow collective teacher efficacy, teachers need to have time designated to collaborate three or more times per week within and across grade levels within the school day.  Teachers also need to have ongoing differentiated training provided to improve collaboration based on identified needs.  During this time, teachers should collectively develop and use agreed upon norms and protocols for collaboration.  These should be adhered to across grade levels throughout the district, and are monitored, reviewed, and revised on a regular basis.   

In order for these research-based practices to be successful, what leader and teacher actions might be needed?  How might those actions be monitored and adjusted based on data and feedback?  Sounds like the ingredients of an improvement cycle!  How might an improvement cycle support the successful implementation of teacher collaborative and instructional leadership routines?

So . . . Who will pay for what doesn’t happen?  If the district doesn’t do the work in this area, then what will happen?  Teachers’ ability to have collective efficacy is diminished.  If teachers are not effectively collaborating, the odds for student success greatly decreases.  The overall outcome of collective responsibility will not be met.  In other words, our students will suffer.  What might you, as an instructional leader, need to be mindful of when it comes time to do the readiness work around Teacher Collaborative Routines?