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Showing posts from September, 2017

Thoughts on Culture

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In August, many in Elmhurst heard Bill Daggett proclaim, "Culture trumps strategy!"  Peter Drucker once said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast."  The District's draft Operational Plan includes a variety of tactical strategies and action plans to achieve certain goals over the next three years.  But, if the District is to fulfill its mission of Accelerating Learning for All Students, it will be because of the culture.

A healthy culture has been identified as one of three necessary conditions to ensure that all st
udents learn and grow.  District 205 defines a healthy culture as "highly collaborative, relationship-driven, innovative learning organization."

The primary way the district is approaching cultivating a healthy culture is through Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, as based in large part on the work of Rick DuFour.  Three big ideas drive PLCs:  Ensuring that students learn; a culture of collaboration, and a focus on results.  Four …

Instructional Rounds

Last year D205 began a process of instructional rounds to ensure consistency of programming across the District and increase collaboration among principals to enhance their ability support the school improvement process.

Rounds are based on the medical rounds model.  Teams of administrators visit classrooms and discuss their observations based on an objective set of criteria.  The focus for 2016-17 was learning targets.  The District strategically grouped the middle school and high school principals together to help strengthen communication and improve curriculum articulation among these schools and grade levels.  Rounds help support professional development and school improvement efforts, and, by the end of the year, the evidence supported significant improvement in teachers' ability to effectively utilize learning targets in their classroom instruction.

This year the focus will be rigor, and middle school principals will be grouped with their elementary feeder principals.  Obser…

Innovation in D205

D205 is focused on ensuring its place as a National Leader in Future Ready Learning.  In an effort to support this, the theme of this Fall's Administrator Retreat was "A Culture of Innovation."

D205 has adopted the District Management Group's definition of innovation as "Achievement of pattern-breaking performance that can be scaled and sustained."

District administrators are studying the book Lead and Disrupt by O'Reilly and Tushman.  At the retreat, Harvard University business professor Michael Tushman and the D205 leadership team participated in a Skype session to probe more deeply into the the principles of innovation that successful organizations embrace.

Innovative organizations that thrive in a rapidly changing social and economic world are ambidextrous, meaning that they both work at continuously improving upon what works and simultaneously innovating to ensure relevance and success in the future.

In school terms, D205 is choosing to use the wor…