In our public school system, it is important for leaders to act as guides of change and transformation that leads an institution through the constant and ever changing society. By guiding the school through the process, a leader becomes a servant of the institution, rather than a dictatorial figurehead. It is important that school leaders gain the approval and support of their staffs while implementing any changes that need to occur. This is best achieved by using a collaborative method of leadership that results in a delegation of authority to members of the staff, who normally might not be in a leadership capacity. By giving giving the teachers and other stakeholders the opportunity to make decisions about the general direction of the school, a leader creates a situation where these collaborators become supporters and they will work to make the changes necessary. (Kohm, 2009) This is a development of trust and helps to create an atmosphere of respect that can be very valuable as the leader sometimes needs to use that respect, like currency, to move the staff into areas of discomfort revolving around the ideas of sharing their educational practices, including both successes and failures, with the rest of the professional staff.
There are many models of collaboration that can be effective at reforming a school and are highly effective. The Professional learning Community (PLC) model is very popular and has become nearly a brand name to describe collaborative models used in education. This model allows the school to be broken into many different PLC groups along many different lines of data, and then reformed as necessary. Most excellent PLC programs look at student data on a regular basis and use common assessments to develop teaching strategies to work with student deficiencies and exploit high-leverage learning opportunities. (Dufour, 2009) These are excellent models, once the collaborative culture has been established, but prior to using this method, the school needs to go through a leadership transformation that produces a new paradigm.
How to develop a collaborative culture within the organization
A study conducted by University of Florida educational researchers in 2010, clearly develops a strategy for moving into collaborative cultures that will be staged and ready to become the framework of an eventual PLC. The study, titled: “ Establishing a collaborative school culture through
comprehensive school reform” lays out a clear pathway for the creation of a culture that allows for teacher collaboration within the school. The process begins with a large scale meeting where the school data is examined by the staff, and conclusions are reached about issues that are evident in this data. Once this has been completed, then a group of 8-20 is assembled from every staff stakeholder group, to develop an objective. Next, the team will look at the resources of the school, along with the...