Sunday, May 10, 2015

Flip this School - A Growth Mindset for School Improvement

My wife loves shows like Flip this House, and I occasionally watch them with her. These do-it-yourself programs hook my wife and countless viewers into the possibility of taking a horrible house and converting it into a masterpiece of a mansion. It amazes me how these people can see the potential in such failure and transform nothing into something along with a nice profit, I might add.

So let's apply that mentality to our schools and classrooms.

At the end of the year, we look at what we've done.  We analyze our data, determine our strengths and weaknesses and make a plan for next year.  Every school makes a plan for next year, but leaders and teachers utilize a growth mindset for excellence.  They develop improvement plans based on a Flip this House mindset while average leaders replace what they don't like, and below average leaders build a whole new plan or stay with the one they have.

Flip this School Mindset

Below are 8 strategies that excellent leaders employ to grow their school into excellence. 

1. Identify your Vision
What do you want your school to look like in 3-5 years?  Without a vision of where you want to be, the next 7 steps are pointless. 

2. State your Mission
What is the purpose that the staff have been brought to this school?  Is the purpose simply to teach all kids or to guarantee that all kids learn?

3. Gauge Strengths 
What works well currently in your school to support the mission and vision that you can bring forward into next school year?

4. Identify Weaknesses
What does our data tell us that we must improve on next year?  What groups of kids are struggling and which essential skills are they lacking, and which skills do the teachers and staff need to address those weaknesses?

5. Obtain Professional Learning
Based on identified weaknesses, what is the most critical professional development needed to improve teacher quality and effectiveness in meeting the needs of all kids and moving closer to the school's mission and vision?

6. Make Cosmetic Changes
Which practices and actions are effective but with minor tweaks can be brought forward to better support the mission and vision?

7. Remove Ineffective Practices
Which actions are redundant or have no purpose in supporting kids and what can you do to remove them?

8. New Practices
Which actions are needed to change the culture or structure of the campus and what professional learning will be needed to implement these practices with fidelity?

Flipping is not as Hard as It Looks

School improvement is not about change, but growth and continuous improvement.  Just like the do-it-yourself shows, school improvement is hard work, but it isn't ridiculously difficult work. The recipe is pretty simple. Identify what is structurally sound in the school, and build around that. Add features or actions that enhance the productivity of the school and the collective capacity of the staff.  Ensure that the focus stays on learning, not just for students but all staff as well, and keep your eyes on the prize, what the school must become in 3 to 5 years.  By using these few strategies, school leaders can flip their school and turn a nice profit, which would be all students reaching high levels of learning.

1 comment:

  1. I love how this ties into our Leader In Me or 7 Habits at our school! I'd love to share this to staff.