Managing Up, Part 2 of 5 – What is Your Strategy for Solving this Problem?

I have a friend I’ve been working with for a couple of years now. He may be one of the best principals in the business at rapidly turning around a campus. He sent me some questions that his assistant superintendent gave him to answer. Here are my answers to the second set of questions, his were similar.

Q: What is your strategy for solving this problem?

A: This principal has clearly defined his expectations for both staff and students. He mandated the use of a common scope and sequence in each core subject. He mandated the use of short-term common assessments in each core subject. He secured significant staff training for teachers and administrators. He hyper-monitors instructions. Walk-thru data and common assessment data are shared with staff on a frequent basis. Adjustments are made based on data and team planning.

Q: Why did you choose this strategy?

A: He chose the strategy because he knows it works. This principal is following a basic R4 rapid improvement plan that he used successfully at another struggling campus (he was hired by his new district, based on the success he had at his previous campus).

Q: What others did you consider?

A: None. He was hired to replicate his prior success in a similar fashion

Q: Can you clearly explain your “theory of action” i.e. how you think this strategy will solve the problem you’ve identified?

A: Yes. The greatest variable that affects student performance is adult practice. Since we control our practice, the pace at which we change dictates the speed at which student performance improves. On this campus, the luxury of leaving students behind to decrease the adult levels of discomfort that are caused by changes in adult instructional habits is no longer a viable action. This can be summed up with the following statement: “We change, they succeed. We don’t change, they fail. We won’t let them fail.”

Your turn…