Monday, November 16, 2015

My Goals and Learning Through the Lens of the Catholic Leadership Framework

With Leadership Part 3 underway, I have been preparing for my first meeting with each of my mentors. We were given the opportunity to suggest names of administrators that we were interested in job shadowing. I knew that I wanted to shadow a relatively new VP and Principal. I also wanted to work with an administrator in a large school and one in a small to medium sized school. Fortunately, I have been assigned to the two administrators that I had asked to be paired with. I am excited to meet with them and to learn from them.

As I prepare for my initial meetings, I have been reflecting on my goals for this portion of the program. For my first meeting with my mentors, I have been thinking about my goals and my plan for continuous learning, growth, and improvement. Through the lens of the Catholic Leadership Framework, I am provided with direction on what I would like to learn more about and be exposed to. I'm also working through the idea of having certain goals with each administrator so that I can allow them to go deep in a particular area. 

Here is what I have so far in terms of my goals/learning around the Leadership Framework:

Improving the Instructional Program

  • Buffering staff from distractions to their work
    • Catholic school leaders: create and enforce consistent, school-wide discipline policies 
    • minimize daily disruptions to classroom instructional time 
    • implement a systematic procedure for deciding how best to respond to initiatives from outside the school 
    • develop, with staff, guidelines to govern the amount of time teachers spend on non-instructional and out-of-school activities
    • regularly assess the contribution of all out-of-classroom activities to the learning priorities of students 
Essentially, my goal around improving the instructional program is to learn how my mentors deal with the possible "distractions" to their staff/school. I have an idea but I want to see/hear what their best practice might be.

Securing Accountability
  • Building staff members’ sense of internal accountability Catholic school leaders
    • regularly engage staff in analyzing data on the learning progress of all students
    • insist on the use of data that is of high quality (reliable, valid, collected using systematic collection processes, available in its original form, and has been subjected to collaborative interpretation
    • promote collective responsibility and accountability for student achievement and well-being
    • help staff make connections between school goals and ministry goals in order to strengthen commitment to school improvement efforts
    • assess their own contributions to school achievements and take into account feedback from others on their performance
    • participate actively in their own performance appraisal and make adjustments to better meet expectations and goals
    • ensure ongoing adult faith formation that addresses internal faith development  
  • Meeting the demands for external accountability Catholic school leaders
    • clearly define accountability for individual staff in terms that are mutually understood and agreed to and that can be rigorously reviewed and evaluated
    • measure and monitor teacher and leader effectiveness using data about changes in student achievement
    • align school goals with board and provincial goals
    • provide an accurate and transparent account of the school’s performance to all school stakeholders (e.g., ministry, board, parents, and the Catholic community)
    • create an organizational structure that reflects the Catholic school’s values and enables management systems, structures and processes to work effectively within Catholic teachings and legal requirements
With respect to securing accountability, I am quite interested in learning more about how to build staff members sense of internal accountability. This is a big one for me so I really want to push myself to learn more about it and what my mentors perspective is on it. Moreover, meeting the demands for external accountability is also a big one for me and seems challenging, but from an entirely different perspective. 

I feel like I have a great starting point with respect to my initial learning goals that connect directly with the Leadership Framework. I also have some questions I would like to pose to my mentors that are more of a personal nature. They involve such things as work-family balance, hard conversations, and the ability to be flexible and open to whatever comes their way as leaders in schools. 

I'm sure I could find formal expectations in the Leadership Framework to address the topics I just mentioned, but for now, I'm going to keep things as they are. I will take time to reflect on what I have written today and be open to what comes my way when I connect with my mentors.

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