In response to the posts, “Gant Wisdom 1 – Parts 1, 3 and 5,” a reader writes:
“I think I was not clear. I don’t think the familial framework is only for adults. I was trying to communicate that in the schools I have led there was a sense of family among the faculty. Most students were not allowed in that family. The faculty had an “us against them” attitude.
I am sure not all schools are like this, but to date I have been in six different high schools, and five had a strong sense of family that did not include the students. However, I do contend that when the atmosphere becomes congenial, alienation of some group is possible. Those outside the family group will suffer gravely. If the group outside the family group includes students, the school is in for a rough ride.
It is the purpose and focus of the organization that is important. Is your school focused on “us” or “them”? If “us” includes students in your school, great, you have no problems. If “us” doesn’t include students, you had best focus on “them.”
Again, context is the issue. You’re career path and skill set has been turning around the dysfunctional secondary campuses. It is the leading the charge from “Broke to OK.” The typical broke secondary campus has devolved into an “us versus them” mentality. With the “us” and “them” consisting of various factions of adults looking to blame other factions, leaving the academically fragile student on the outside looking in. Which is what you have been attempting to describe.
The counter point was provided by a principal whose skill set centers on moving average schools to exceptional schools. In those schools, as you can imagine, student performance is priority one.
Both arguments are valid in their settings. What I’m waiting to see is the complete transition from bad to exceptional. I believe with all my heart that it is possible, but I have yet to witness it. And the reason is this; the leadership that takes the sub-par to marginal, never stay to make the next transition. Either they are hired by a bigger school / district or are run off by a community that really doesn’t want to change.
Think. Work. Achieve.