In the upcoming Building a Culture of Collaboration webinar, our co-bloggers invite you to connect with us for a lively discussion about sparking and sustaining collaboration with stakeholders in our schools and communities. Last week, Judi proposed some self assessment questions about collaborating with students. This week I will add a few questions about collaborating with administrators. We encourage you to be ready to share your ideas with us on May 19th.
Riddle for the week:
What do the solar system, a skeletal system, an economic system, an ecosystem, and a school system have in common? On the surface-maybe not so much, but they all fit the definition of a system as “a group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole.” Now that’s a big idea!
School systems, not matter how large or small, are complex systems, and administrators are leaders who are charged with synchronizing all the interrelated and interdependent parts to provide a quality education for children in local communities. Successful administrators, (superintendents, assistant superintendents, curriculum and technology directors, business managers, and principals and other leaders in individual schools) engender a big picture view of all the moving parts necessary to fulfill the mission for public education established by local school boards, within state and federal laws. That’s a huge job, and an awesome responsibility.
The school library program is one of the interdependent parts of a complex system, and how are teacher librarians prepared to connect and collaborate with administrators on all levels? How can we demonstrate that our expertise and knowledge of curriculum, resources, information and communication technologies (ICT), and teaching pedagogies are key elements of the complex whole? How can we reach out to assist them, and in return give them a chance to see the benefits of a strong school library program?
Here are some questions to ponder:
1. How have you communicated with your superintendent (or someone in his/her office), or your principal in the last two months? Has it been a relationship building experience?
2. Have you invited administrators to visit and celebrate student learning in your library media center?
3. How well do you understand the district or school action plan that sets priorities for educational achievement?
4. Is your mission statement for your SLP aligned with the larger mission of the district or the school? Is your mission statement visible for all to see in your physical space or your virtual space? Do you have a brand that supports the “complex whole?”
5. How do you develop yearly goals that enhance the overall direction of the administration? How do you let them know that you are doing that?
6. Do you have an up to date job description and an evaluation system that reflects your various roles?
7. Are you a member of a leadership or curriculum team or committee?
8. How could you reach out to offer your expertise for administrators? Have you offered professional development for administrators or office staff?
9. Administrators are responsible for legal aspects of school operation and curriculum. Have you reached out to clarify policies that are central to the SLP such as intellectual freedom, ethical use of information, internet privacy and filtering, and so on, that have the potential for disruption in a school district? Better to be proactive, than reactive.
Bring your ideas to the table, so that we can learn from one another. See you on May 19!