"Criterion #15 Our School Focuses On Change That Improves Student
Learning (Aligns with SDP elements #s 9, 15, 20)
One important area that Tom felt had not been well understood in the sphere of formal schooling was the process of change. He had seen millions of dollars wasted over the years because of this. In the early 1980s he had tried to educate principals under his superintendency about the change process. He accepted that he had failed through no fault of the principals but in an era of central education departments telling its subjects what to do it was not a fertile context within which to attempt such in-service. Also Tom conceded that the expert he called in had minimal theory to work on. Tom was fortunate in the mid 1980’s to be able to study the work of the change guru Michael Fullan. Essentially the Fullan process canvassed a need for and introduction of the change sourced from a variety of motivating avenues such as a teacher with an innovative idea or a learned professional group. Staff then needed a period to absorb and practise what the change required with some form of peer support, interaction and advice as they all came to grips with the new. This was to be followed by a full embedding of the change in the culture of the organisation, but in some cases rejecting the change as unworkable after trialling it. For Tom an effective school had to be prepared to evaluate the effectiveness of any changes it had engineered as they were usually sapping of valuable resources of time, money and expertise. Above all fads had to be avoided. Attempting too much change too often caused pressures and discontent that were an anathema to effective teaching and learning. The timing of a change was also important in respect of staff being tired at certain times during the year such as nearing the end of a busy semester. A vital thing Tom learned long ago was the danger of an overenthusiastic principal driving change.
Tom now turned his attention to communications. He knew how easily things fell apart in a school organisation if communications were faulty."
I do hope that some of this stuff is helpful. As I have said before I love sharing it. I loved being a school Principal.
May the Force be with you!