I had no idea the true role of a school administrator as it relates to advancing a progressive high school. There are many components that I never considered as a classroom teacher, as I was only concerned with what occurred in classroom C116. Even when I tried to look beyond the classroom as a future administrator, I could not imagine the disparity. From the outside looking in, I often wondered what kept administrators so busy, or why were we, as classroom educators, expected to do things that did not make sense. At that time, I understood there was a dramatic disconnect between school administrators and classroom educators, just as it is between learners and educators.
The disconnect = lack of effective communication and collaboration.
My blog post, Hypothetically Speaking, only began to scratch the surface from the perspective of the learner. In order for my students to have a passion-driven learning experience and engage in the learning process, I had to improve my communication and collaboration with them. Instead of telling them what I wanted them to do and to learn, I set learning objectives and learner outcomes, and the learners partnered with me to design the learning and the assessments. Once the students engaged in the design process, the disconnect was eliminated.
The power of the “why” is what creates a shared pool of understanding. When others understand the process and rationale behind decisions, empathy and buy-in are generated. How can we, as campus administrators, help break the endless cycle of educators not understanding the decisions that are made by us? How can I eliminate the same disconnect that my students once felt that now is shared by my staff?
Eliminating the disconnect
- Identify the parameters of non-negotiables – it’s essential to communicate the things that are out of our control, not up for debate, or the top-down expectations
- Foster a culture of partnership – stakeholders need to know that their voice is valued and heard, and they want evidence of a genuine partnership
- Facilitate a communication forum – provide an opportunity for stakeholders to communicate and collaborate on elements that are within the parameters.
- Provide an outlet for continuous improvement – feedback is crucial and the implementation of the feedback contributes to fostering a culture of partnership.
Effective communication and collaboration are empowering and help eliminate any disconnect when decisions are made!