By Sarah Henry
It seems to me that most Americans, in a variety of career fields, are looking for the magic pill. The new technology, program, or tool that will be the answer to all of our questions; the solution to the problems. I can’t even imagine how much money has been spent on these magic pills!
“When the number of initiatives increases,
while resources and emotional energy
are constant, then each new initiative . . .
will receive fewer minutes, money, and
ounces of emotional energy.”
– Doug Reeves
“According to John Hattie (2003), the number one determining factor for a student’s success in school is the strength of their teachers. There’s a quote stolen from Todd Whitaker’s What Great Teachers Do Differently that we whole-heartedly believe here in Brownsburg: “It’s about people, not programs.” (Henry & Rosebrock, 2021).
As leaders in education, or any field, we must clarify & communicate the vision for the staff. Every decision moving forward should go through the filter of, does this align with the vision? Resources are scarce in education and it is important to ensure that they are utilized in line with the overall vision of the school or organization. Aligning all of these arrows acts almost in a snowball effect, expediating the results of achieving our vision.
We must also ensure that we are using the filter of our vision when hiring great staff members. What does the vision look like in human traits? What questions might you ask to determine if the person’s belief systems are in line with the vision? How do you determine if the person has a growth mindset?
Lastly, we must invest in our people, not programs. Did you know there isn’t one magic strategy that works for all students when learning about plant cells? Or a special program that has been proven to work for all students in learning analogies? Educators grow from one another, reflecting, giving and receiving feedback, sharing of ideas they may have found effective for teaching a topic, using qualitative and quantitative data to support decisions. How much collaboration time can you allocate resources towards to grow your people?
***If this topic sparks your interest, check out my book, “Arrows: A Systems-Based Approach to School Leadership.” Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers. New York, NY: Routledge.
Henry, S. & Rosebrock, C. (2021). Arrows: A Systems-Based Approach to School Leadership. New York, NY: Mimi-Todd Press.
Sarah Henry is the Secondary Science Administrator for Brownsburg Community School Corporation where she works with secondary science teachers to improve curriculum, instruction, assessment, and PLC processes. She has presented workshops at the local, state, and national level as well as educational consulting for districts around the state. She has taught aspiring educational leaders, as an adjunct professor, in the area of Assessing for Learning for several years.