We Get To Do This Work!

Beginning a new year naturally brings excitement and anxiety among staff and students. Teachers have new initiatives and mandates for which they are required to implement. There is never enough time to plan and prepare before the kids return on the first day. Students are nervous about new teachers and upcoming expectations.

That said adding additional requests upon teachers is always a delicate balancing act. This year our school is beginning the Leader in Me process. This is s a whole-school transformation model that is intended to improve the performance of all other programs. It is based on the seven habits of highly effective people, and equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive.

In May we participated in a three-day training focusing on the seven habits: Be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand and then to be understood, synergize and sharpen the saw. This gave us the foundation for our upcoming adventure. In July we participated in a one-day training exploring how to implement the seven habits into instruction and we created a team of teacher leaders who were charged with identifying our school needs and creating action teams to address those needs.

As an administrator, sitting in the leadership meeting was daunting, but what happened next was inspiring and a testament to the power of teacher leadership. We created a list of ten high need items that needed to be addressed. From there we narrowed it to five and created action teams each with a teacher coordinating and facilitating the conversation. The action team coordinators then invited staff members to join the cause. Over the past three weeks teams have met to determine school wide expectations for teachers and students. What was initially overwhelming and intimidating is becoming more manageable and represents our school, our teachers and our students.

Our action team are addressing: Curriculum and planning, student, class and school mission statements, class and school-wide student leadership roles, school environment and student leadership notebooks and goal setting. Teams meet weekly to debrief, discuss concerns and celebrate successes while tracking our progress. It has been amazing and inspiring to watch teachers step out of their traditional roles and navigate through our leadership process, exploring ways to integrate and align leadership strategies and opportunities into everything we do for students. We have embraced a simple belief – We get to do this work with our students! Stay tuned this year as we share our stories.

In what ways are teachers stepping into leadership roles on your campus?


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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