A Message from the LFKS President
You won’t want to miss the Learning Forward Kansas Fall Institute, November 9, 2018 in Wichita at the Wichita State Metroplex. Toni Prickett is a Kansas educator and an international Training Associate for Thinking Collaborative, including Adaptive Schools and Cognitive Coaching and we are thrilled that she will be helping us gain The Right Stuff for Change. Her presentation includes building our skills in collaboration, leadership, and identity. As districts/schools in Kansas continue to focus on postsecondary success via KESA/Redesign, we are looking for new ways to “reboot” our systems to ensure the success of all our students. The tools Toni will share with us, include:
- heightened consciousness regarding the what, why and how of collaboration;
- awareness of “levels of learning;”
- new lenses on how leaders can create and support change;
- increased knowledge regarding two types of suspension required for conversation;
- enhanced tools and strategies to support skillful collaboration;
- and, an expanded repertoire of practical facilitation tools.
A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle titled “Why we must reboot our schools” stated that the “ways we serve students goes against the grain of how they engage in the world.” Much of the reason behind the need to reboot is the revolution in technology and the way that young people experience and interact in the world, as well as, how they view work. The work place for many companies is changing and adapting to address these changes in younger workers. In contrast, schools have remained rigid, changing little in structure, use of time, and delivery of instruction. The author believes that rebooting schools is not only necessary for students but also in attracting teachers to the profession who desire a less rigid more flexible work environment. This challenge is one we are facing in achieving the vision for education in Kansas – Kansas leading the world in the success of each student. How can we reboot our systems to prepare all of students for postsecondary success? To reboot, we will need strategies and tools supporting leadership, collaboration, and identity.
In The New School Rules, the authors see collaboration/teaming as a key driver in change. Purposeful development and nurturing of teams via ground rules aligned to purpose, sharing of authority, and engagement in regular, structured team meetings is vital. Skillful use of collaborative tools and strategies that remain focused on purpose (identity) allows teams to effectively collaborate around desired changes – via the process and ultimate accomplishment of the desired outcome. Collaboration allows organizations to be responsive – change demands this.
Change also is fueled through nurturing leadership at all levels. Leadership focused on cultivating a learner’s mindset not only amongst teams and individuals, creates an environment that is more responsive (welcoming of change) and more likely to be innovative and successful. Leaders, including teacher leaders who can create and support this type of mindset need to develop a repertoire of skills and strategies that include facilitation, conversation, etc. Toni will engage us in activities that will allow us to practice and develop our skills in this area.
This is an exciting time in Kansas, as our schools “shoot for the moon”, our students are the future and our work matters! A quote by Les Brown comes to mind: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Join Toni and colleagues across Kansas in this opportunity to gain the Right Stuff to Change and then take aim at the moon.
Darla Smith, President
Learning Forward Kansas