The Skinny on Change Savvy….

Last fall at the YRDSB Literacy Collaborative kick off Michael Fullan spoke about his book Motion Leadership and Motion Leadership:  the movie.  Survival

His talk and his book focus on the need for school plans and district plans to be “skinny” ie short, specific and focused in order to develop and support district leadership that will be effective in change management.

I like a lot about this book.  First it’s a booklet, it’s skinny!   Second,  it provides short concise ideas with exemplars to illustrate the point being discussed.  Third, because Fullan is the critical friend to YRDSB system leadership, it is quite gratifying to read about the exemplary practice of many of my colleagues in my school district.  Finally, the booklet provides some clear and simple details about how to best support system change.

To quote my boss, change is not for the feint of heart.  Fullan understands this and identifies the moral imperative to change for the best service of our students and that learning is the work.  He identifies the importance of building relationships with staff, colleagues and the greater school community,   Additionally, he identifies the need to connect people with purpose, to be transparent  in all of the activities of school leadership and to ensure that leadership is distributed.  This sounds exactly like the Leadership Framework that supports our work as  school leaders.

Reading this booklet reminded me of the important points I always need to keep in mind when planning for professional learning and school district induction in the Learning Connections program and how important it is to be a lifelong learner.


Reading about Leadership

I spent most of the afternoon sitting in the sunshine, reading in my garden.  Although, I am usually the one with the latest novel in her hand this time of year, I have been reading articles by Michael Fullan, excerpts from Douglas Reeves books and reflecting upon conversations I have been having with district leaders over the past few months.  I am always impressed when I seemed to be faced with a convergence of ideas and lately that has been happening from many different perspectives.

I think I am very fortunate to work in a district with both the vision and the leadership to move educators forwards towards a changing vision of classroom instruction.  One that reflects all of the ideas I have been reading about where Principals and Vice Principals are becoming effective Instructional Leaders, the development of Professional Learning Networks are beginning to make the classroom walls disappear.  It’s so great to hear educators have effective professional discourse about their classroom practice and see how school communities are reaching out to parents to help involve them in their child’s learning.

Now I am waiting to see our district take the next step, where we take all of this exemplary pedagogy and connect it to the multiple literacies of 21st Century learning.  Where our Professional Learning Networks move beyond district towards a self directed model of professional learning that all teachers engage in.  I can’t wait to see real learning be truly connected to schools again.  We are getting closer…..