I am currently taking part in the Start Right conference put on be the College of Alberta School Superintendents in Olds, Alberta. Yesterday, we were presented with a document called A Vision of a High-Performing School by Lyle Lorenz. He presented these attributes as fundamental to a successful school. I found that this series of attributes helped me to define my vision for schools. I don’t think it is complete, but it is a good starting point from which to start a formal discussion. Here are the attributes that Lyle presented and my reflections on them:
1. Staff efficacy
I relate this attribute to a sense of empowerment. The teachers in a school are conscious of the effect that they can have and feel like their work makes a difference. They positively and consciously affect the lives of children on a daily basis.
2. Commitment to Excellence in Learning
Here the staff commit to helping all students learn to their greatest potential. This learning takes place in many different subjects (many of which are not in the curriculum).
3. Commitment to Exemplary Teaching
As educators we set our sights high, and we generally hit what we aim for. I have had the pleasure of working with teachers who provide excellent teaching on a daily basis. Students deserve better that average instruction; they deserve excellent instruction.
4. Commitment to Outstanding Leadership
Teachers are leaders in many aspects of their work: with students, with other teachers, in the community, in their division. Is the leadership we are providing helping our goals in education?
Teachers working together do better than working alone. I have lived this experience many times, yet there are moments when it can be difficult to get out and work with our colleagues if we do not make the time.
6. Safe, Caring, Respectful and Orderly School Environment
The relationships we create and nurture go a long way to ensure a great learning environment. Having conversations around the school we want to create and the attributes we want to see in members of our community helps with creating this environment.
7. Value-Added Attributes
What more are we contributing to the school outside the minimum? I know that some of the greatest relationships that I have developed with students were in the moments outside of the classroom. The teams, the clubs, the trips all create an environment where students want to be and perform.
Communicating as a staff is becoming easier as teachers grow more comfortable with technology. I hope that the use of communication tools make shared vision more common in schools.
I take these values as a starting point of a conversation and I look forward to having these conversations with staff.
If you are looking to connect with Lyle Lorenz you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org