How to Establish A Sustainable Instructional Leadership Culture

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This post is part of a new series called "From Vision to Reality: Pulling the Right Levers for Transformational Instructional Leadership." Check out all the posts in our series, then subscribe to our blog to have posts delivered to your inbox as we publish new pieces.

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Chapter 1: Set the Stage

Let’s say you’re ready to embark on the work of transformational instructional leadership. That’s great! But where do you start? Thankfully, educators are always happy to share with their peers the lessons they learned. Over the next few blog posts, we'll cover the following topics:

  • Vision
  • Culture
  • Theory of Action
  • Accountability

Set the Stage: Establish A Sustainable Instructional Leadership Culture

A district’s culture is driven by its vision. If your vision is a description of what could be, your culture is your roadmap for what will be.

“Everything you do becomes part of your culture, especially during the early years,” says Gillian Quinn, school leader and founder of KIPP Northeast College Prep in Houston. “School culture is the most exciting, and critical, component—that is your legacy.”

The best way to develop a sustainable culture around instructional leadership is to understand  the culture you currently have, the one that’s intrinsic to your school or district, then evolve it into the culture you seek to achieve.

Garza suggests that school and district leaders run through the following checklist:

  • What is the current environment in my schools?
  • What are the habits of my school leaders?
  • Are school leaders and coaches getting into classrooms on a regular basis?
  • Do teachers receive feedback from their peers and supervisors?

If you are not clear on the answers to the questions above, start there. Skipping this reflection step can lead to misalignment of initiatives, unclear objectives, confusion, and ultimately dissatisfaction.

For example, adopting a technology tool for classroom observations with the hope that it will “fix” things is likely not to work—in fact, adopting a tech tool could be very jarring.

While TeachBoost’s platform is an excellent way to streamline and enhance the work you do to support and measure teacher growth, if you don’t understand your school or district’s culture, it is unlikely you will experience major positive cultural shifts.

Finally, be clear about setting expectations for prospective teachers—articulating your culture to new recruits is a great way to pare down the applicant list to only those who share your core values.


Follow-up Activity!

Block out 10 minutes on your calendar to answer Vanessa Garza’s questions:

  • What is the current environment in my schools?
  • What are the habits of my school leaders?
  • Are school leaders and coaches getting into classrooms on a regular basis?
  • Do teachers receive feedback from their peers and supervisors?

Topics: Instructional Leadership, Educator Effectiveness, leadership, From Vision to Reality

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