In my day job, I help districts and school improve performance, rapidly. By rapidly, I mean that we expect to see measurable results in one semester or less. And we have an extensive track record that shows that we are good at what we do. (For more information you can visit, www.r4group.org). I only mention my day job, to let you know that the following opinion is based on a lot of field experience in a lot of settings.
If you are a school leader that is trying to change adult practice on your campus to improve student performance, the current perceived performance of your campus can make your job easier or soul crushingly difficult. Here’s how it stacks up, in order of difficulty. I will use the Texas ranking system, only because it does a good job of creating distinct categories.
# 5 in Degree of Difficulty – The Unacceptable Campus: This campus is the easiest in which to effect change. There’s no question that it is broke and the staff realize that their jobs are at stake, so they are open to new ideas that show promise.
# 4 in Degree of Difficulty – The Campus That Just Had Its Rating Drop: This campus has pride on the line. Even if they are blaming the drop on external factors, the staff is generally open to trying something new.
# 3 in Degree of Difficulty – The Acceptable Campus: This campus isn’t considered broke, but the staff would like the breathing room and perks of being recognized.
# 2 in Degree of Difficulty – The Exemplary Campus: The top of the pyramid in Texas. The staff on this campus have a lot of pride, know how tenuous their position is and are generally willing to work to stay at the top of the heap.
# 1 in Degree of Difficulty – The Long Time Recognized Campus: This campus isn’t broke and the staff is generally very comfortable. This campus often engages in a lot of what I call “superstitious” activities. The staff doesn’t know exactly what it is that they do that actually impacts their rating so they are unwilling to change anything. If the staff does believe in change, it usually revolves around some other teacher, grade or department changing, because they are obviously doing their part.
So there’s my list. What do you think?