Diverse Systems, External Conditions, and Edupreneurism

Katherine Curry and Ed Harris


When we refer to schools as “systems,” our minds may be immediately drawn to the idea of a traditional school district. Typically, a school district consists of buildings organized by grade levels with teams of teachers leading classrooms full of same-age students in their respective grade levels. Although a traditional school district is, indeed, an example of a school system, 21st Century educational systems vary tremendously across the United States. Whatever “system” in which you may be, it is important to incorporate edupreneur mindset in ensuring all parts of the system are working to create the benefits you desire for your constituents.

Diverse Educational Systems

In our current educational context, a system may include any of the following examples:

  • a single classroom with one teacher facilitating student learning
  • a complex organization consisting of several schools, housing hundreds of students, across multiple campuses
  • an online learning community of just a few learners or even hundreds of learners
  • a network of schools joined by a unifying philosophy or educational approach
  • (Please see our Sample School Models and Budgets).

Regardless of the size, composition, or organization of these systems, all schools operate with a purpose centered upon enhancement of student learning and creating value for all constituents. All schools also utilize practices and procedures to reach their goals.  These practices and procedures work together to influence the intended outcome and fulfill the organizational goals of the school.

Applying Systems Thinking to a Single Classroom

A classroom is a system consisting of many parts: teachers, students, facilities, curriculum, technology, etc. In a single classroom, resources are needed to facilitate learning. These resources can include:

  • A qualified teacher
  • Textbooks
  • Technology
  • Student desks
  • Facilities

Understanding the ultimate goals of the system will help us to define the resources that are needed to achieve organizational goals. For example, if our outcome goal is to encourage students to integrate technology into their learning, we will need to be certain that the teacher we employ is skilled in technology and that we have the technological resources available to meet our end goal. If our end goal is language acquisition through an immersion model, we will want to be certain that our teacher is fluent in that language and that we have resources to support student learning of a second language.  Additionally, the types of resources invested into the system will influence the “way things are done” (activities) at the school. For example, technological resources may allow us to offer a hybrid, or blended learning, approach with some instruction offered online.

External and Internal Conditions

Additionally, because a systems approach considers influences both inside and outside of the organization, community context including community interests, needs, resources, and economic conditions may influence the outcomes of our organization. They also might influence the goals of the organization, resources available, and the types of activities that we employ to reach educational goals.  In sum, effective leaders understand efficiencies that can be accomplished by matching resources, activities, outputs and outcomes and by considering external forces that influence student learning.

  • How has the external factor of your state’s “economic conditions” effected student learning in your school system?
  • How has economic conditions effected your school’s activities? Its outputs? Its outcomes?
  • As an edupreneur, how can your school be successful in spite of fluctuating economic conditions?

 

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32 Comments

  1. melissayarbrough

    Why would you assume you would pay a teacher the minimum starting salary in Oklahoma? What if you wanted to provide a free education to your students? Would the $4000 and something dollars come from private donors or local, state, and federal funding? How do you fund your own salary as the edupreneur or are you expected to be the teacher as well?

    Reply
    • Kathy Curry

      Hi, Melissa! You have posed some interesting questions!

      For your first question about paying a teacher the minimum starting salary, I’m not sure if I understand your question exactly. Are you wondering why a minimum is needed (so that teachers can be paid less) or why you would not pay above a minimum (so that teachers can be paid more)? I will throw in some ideas that could address either perspective. I believe that leaders need to consider student outcome goals and the market from which we are recruiting teachers. With the current teacher shortage in the State of Oklahoma, I believe that one would expect to have to pay at least a minimum starting salary in order to attract highly qualified teachers. What do you think?

      I did found, however, that there are many considerations that teachers make when choosing where to teach. For example, in my former experience in private schools, teachers were very interested in the culture and climate of the school in which they were seeking employment. At times when the school was not able to compete financially with surrounding school districts, teachers often expressed willingness to accept a slightly lower salary than they had previously been earning due to enhanced satisfaction of working in a less stressful environment or an environment that aligned with their personal values and belief systems. I do not personally, however, advocate for paying teachers less. Teachers are trained professionals, and paying them a competitive wage communicates respect and value. I would love to hear the thoughts of others on this important topic.

      Concerning your question about “what if you wanted to provide a free education to your students,” I think this opportunity is very attainable in the State of Oklahoma. Oklahoma laws allow funding for charter schools, and these schools are provided without extra cost to the student. Concerning private schools, I know of one new private school in Tulsa that is offering preK-4th grade education to its students at almost no cost. Funding from the school has come from foundation grants and charitable contributions. Of course, operating a school in this manner has placed the responsibility for fundraising on leaders, but I think there are opportunities to think creatively about how to offer these opportunities to students from a variety of backgrounds.

      Finally, concurring your question about funding your own salary as the edupreneur, it seems that you would need to consider the needs of the school and how those needs influence your role and responsibilities at the school. We, here at the Edupreneur Academy, believe that there is no “one-size-fits-all” model and that there are many possibilities that exist. For example, if the school is a micro school with one teacher and one classroom, the edupreneur could also serve as the teacher. However, once a school grows to employing several teachers in several classrooms, administrative responsibilities increase. Those factors would influence the salary structure of the organization. These are just my thoughts. I’m interested to hear what others think!

      Reply
  2. clsnyder-renfro

    How has the external factor of your state’s “economic conditions” effected student learning in your school system? We lost 10 teaching positions last year. This year in an effort to make sure all students are enrolled in the classes they need for graduation, if a teacher is certified in a subject then they are teaching it regardless of expertise.
    How has economic conditions effected your school’s activities? Its outputs? Its outcomes? Thankfully we are have a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. So we are still able to have enriching activities after school with transportation home. If we do not have a plan in place for next year, these activities will most likely disappear.
    As an edupreneur, how can your school be successful in spite of fluctuating economic conditions? Look for additional grants for enrichment, use all community, parental and social media resources available. Be creative with scheduling and use of online tools.

    Reply
  3. aliseday1965

    You have described our public schools well. I do know a new system is needed which can come in the form of a different type of school. But so many kids will still be left in the broken system? However, I do believe there is hope. At the freshman level, we piloted a course successfully shifting the responsibility of a student’s education onto their own shoulders. Throughout the class we saw an increase hunger for learning, strengthened problem solving skills and more respectful behavior toward both other students and teachers alike. By making the paradigm shift, our overall system has the ability to be connected. Teachers now manage students who are life long learners. Because this spring board happens within a student it has a positive effective on everyone. It creates exponential growth for the entire global community.

    Reply
  4. Rye Donohue

    I believe understanding a systems approach to our education ‘system’ is crucial in both leadership and overall progression. It is crucial to examine and study the interplay of systems of oppression and the system of education. The system was originally designed for white males to succeed, that being the original design it is evident the system has succeeded. If we look at education across lines of race, class and other ‘isms’ it is clear the system has failed and is still continuing to fail. Without urgency and rooted disruption of systems of oppression (i.e. systematic racism) it will be hard moving forward. The macro and micro system designs need to altered to a way that evens the playing field. Speaking out of personal experience, it is frustrating working in a marginalized community where in my micro-system (classroom) there is deep belief in student success and potential but the macro-system is clearly speaking a different rhetoric. The systems achievement gap and prison to pipeline mentality is a direct result of a failure of other systems as well as the education system. It is difficult to isolate macro systems and when you do rooted issues are hard to dismantle.

    Reply
  5. ceck

    School systems are ever changing, especially with the usage of technology today, but there is not a one size fits all option. Each school system is different and provides its own uniqueness and challenges and this is important to remember as we consider reframing that school system. “Reframing, like management and leadership, is more art than science. Every artist brings a distinctive vision and produces unique works” (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p. 418). When we are put in a position of leadership within a school we need to remember why we are there, and have an understanding of the goals, values, and mission of the system, all while considering the students, teachers, and resources available to make the school system beneficial and successful.

    Reply
  6. Gregory Smith

    As I think about a systems approach to learning in a school system, fluctuating spending impacts the learner in a concrete way. Lack of funding causes real problems in the classroom. Insulating the learner from these issues can be a challenge. Thinking of education as a system, however, allows for some creative solutions. This requires that educators be flexible with the resources available to them. Teachers need to focus on reaching the learner, where ever he or she may be. To help with that process, it is critical that educators are empowered to change strategy and find innovative ways to deliver material and inspire the learner (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p.381).

    Reply
  7. Nichole Bates

    The system approach when looking through the leadership aspect is important to acknowledge when reframing is occurring. A leadership must be aware of the system situation. What is available for teachers? What is causing conflicts in the classrooms? Many public school systems face the crisis of lack of funding to provide the resources for teachers. However, as a leader it is important to give teachers’ innovative opportunities to explore.This requires the leader to look through the four frames to create an educational environment for teachers to succeed in all aspects. “David King’s reflections help him see that is he far from helpless,” (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p. 481). It allows the leader begin a plan of action to begin the positive change to give the tools and resources teachers need to succeed. “Transition rituals, mourning the past, and celebrating the future help people let go of old attachments and embrace news ways of doing things,” (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p. 383).

    Reply
  8. Tommie Grant

    “If goals are clear, technology well understood, and behavior reasonably predictable, the structural and human resource approaches are likely to apply. As ambiguity increases, the political and symbolic perspectives become more relevant (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p.304). This quote really drives home the impact of schools. When learning is purposeful and meaningful and effective classroom management practices are utilized, the teacher can focus on processes, procedures, and building relationships with students. When goals become foggy, chaos can ensue, which can trigger personal agendas and cause the educator to spend much of his/her time working to restore calm rather than on curricular activities.

    Reply
  9. joshua.k.taylor

    Bolman and Deal (2017) state that one of the major problems that managers face is that organizations and people can see the same events from different frames, thus creating multiple realities (P. 301-302). This observation is troubling to me. I do get to manage a lot of students who are working together on massive projects, and I have seen this develop conflict. I frequently am stepping in to resolve the conflict. Bolman and Deal’s conclusion is that I am reconciling multiple realities. However, this blog allowed me to gain a clearer perspective on how managers can help with multiple realities: “Understanding the ultimate goals of the system will help us to define the resources that are needed to achieve organizational goals.” This is how managers can resolve the problems resulting from multiple realities. Managers get to refocus the team on clear goals that then help to define the resources, the frame, and the steps to achieve these clear goals.

    Reply
  10. joshua.k.taylor

    Bolman and Deal (2017) state that managers face major problems because different people will see events from different perspectives and frames (P. 301-302). I have observed the problem with multiple realities in my classroom. I get the privilege of supervising large groups of students working together to achieve large goals and complete massive projects. Often, I am called in to help resolve conflicts. The vast majority of the time these conflicts are not relational but rather strategic. The students have multiple realities. They are seeing the situation through different frames. Therefore, the concept of multiple realities has been troubling to me, but this blog asserts that, “Understanding the ultimate goals of the system will help us to define the resources that are needed to achieve organizational goals.” This claim helps me resolve my role in managing people with multiple realities. My job is to remind them of the clear and well-defined goal. By refocusing on the goal, then these multiple realities can come into focus with a singular direction. The goal helps define the resources, the frame, and the solution.

    Reply
  11. Kody Engle

    Innovation and the ability to adapt are key to success in the 21st-century classroom (Bolman and Deal, 2017). The more strategic the approach to this process of adaptative innovation, the more beneficial it proves to students and educators alike. The multiple frames that are discussed in depth throughout our course further exemplify the necessity to be willing and able to adapt as things shift in the educational arena. At the end of the day, one must understand the goals that are systematically established and what can be done to accomplish them in the most efficient way. This will greatly depend on clientele, faculty, and resources. Knowing what will be necessary for a successful environment will, in turn, solidify the inherent ability of the system to thrive in the pedagogical standards of the day.

    Reply
  12. K Dalton

    “Life’s daily challenges rarely arrive clearly labeled or neatly packaged. Instead, they come upon us in a murky, turbulent and unrelenting flood. The art of reframing uses knowledge and intuition to read the flow and to find sensible and effective ways to channel the incoming tide.” (Bolman, Deal, 2017). Whether a teacher is working to balance multiple learner levels with curricular options, resource constraints and parent/administration expectations or a administrative leader attempting to juggle multiple stakeholder perspectives, resource realities and federal/state mandates, school personnel have their work cut out for them at multiple levels. The skill of reframing fits the needs well in that it encourages creativity and a multi-faceted approach to dealing with problems that can at time seem so overwhelming. Trusted mentor collaboration also brings fresh perspectives. One very wise Supervisor with whom I worked stated it this way: “At the end of the day, are you leaving it a little better than how you found it this morning?”. As we work though issues both internal and external to our systems, it’s important to realize that we are never going to get everything fixed. Such is the nature of the evolving system. There are always challenges. Reframing provides a methodology of putting one foot in front of the other, moving our systems down the road toward a better and brighter tomorrow, leaving them better than when we found them.

    Reply
    • Susie Buser

      As a person who strives for perfection all the time, your post helped me to reframe my thinking…I may not have done everything perfectly today but I know that I worked hard at making our systems better and kids were enriched because of my effort.

      Reply
  13. Cherith Unruh

    As an edupreneur, how can your school be successful in spite of fluctuating economic conditions?
    “Political leaders clarify what they want and what they can get. (Boleman & Deal, 2017). An edupreneur must have political leadership skills in order to amass scarce resources for the school system they are leading. I am a human resource leader, so using the political frame will push me outside of my comfort zone. However, knowing that I am advocating for my teachers and my students will be empowering. It will take a lot practice though.

    Reply
  14. Edward N. Smith

    From this post, I came away most interested in applying multiple-frames of reference to analyze and evaluate both external and internal conditions, especially as these relate to conflicts, especially conflicts that come from change. It seems, beyond subtly, that economic changes over the past decade or so have created a slow rising tidal wave in education. Boleman and Deal (2017) note that the reason changes create conflict arise from changes in control, in roles, losers and winners, and loss of meaning (383). Another important element, that especially exacerbates maters, arises from this matter of money—the more resources available, the more free organizations and leaders are with the purse strings. Conversely, when resources are scarce, the exchequer more carefully checks his balance records, leading to infighting within the organization (Boleman and Deal, 2017, 307). This, of course, creates substantial conflict.
    In my school system, Putnam City, this has created a number of interesting responses. Perhaps most important it the district’s response—rather than be constrained by economic conditions, the district has made exceptional efforts to establish the Putnam City Foundation. The Foundation provides resources such as grants and scholarships to students for college, teachers for continuing education, funds for fieldtrips, classroom expenses, etc. This allows teachers and students to continue to engage in enriching extracurricular activities, developing and showing fantastic projects and products. To be successful, however, the program requires a distinct community of support.
    Where economic conditions have most affected student-learning manifests in the increasing numbers of students receiving free and reduced lunches. With the volumes of research behind the unique and demanding needs of students in poverty, Putnam City has responded by creating robust food pantries in many of the schools to provide students with basic food and clothing needs. With these matters address, they and their families have one less thing to worry about, thereby freeing up energy for school. Though my personal time in the district is limited, it seems from my observations the district has done well to maintain their performance in the face of these circumstances.
    Putnam City has a number of important pieces in place to continue to grow despite economic challenges—yet there is always more to be done. A major element moving forward should include making efforts to help the incoming groups feel more of a part of the larger Putnam City community—not merely outsiders looking in. Through building a stronger community of old blood and new blood, the entire district will grow and strengthen through diversity of experiences.

    References
    Boleman, L.G. and Deal, T.E. (2017). Reframing organizations. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

    Reply
  15. Kathryn Knowles

    This year has been a particularly difficult year for educators in Oklahoma as many of our teachers feel undervalued and overworked. As educational leaders we continually ask them to do more with less. This kind of environment can take a negative toll on a school’s climate and culture. As a principal, I have found the most important strategy I can use to help teachers through these difficult times is to help them refocus on their purpose. In effect, I ask them to reframe the way they look at things by offering others ways to see difficult issues. As Bolman & Deal (2017) state, “the art of reframing uses knowledge and intuition to read the flow and to find sensible and effective ways to channel the incoming tide.” In listening and communicating with each other as a staff, we have all learned to try and understand each other’s perspectives and support each other even when we disagree. By working with teachers to reframe difficult issues, they feel more empowered to make decisions that create positive effects for students and each other.

    Reply
  16. Jeremiah Gregory

    It is obvious a school administrator must remain politically aware in order to forecast the power of a school’s external forces and be able to prepare for any effects, either positive or negative, on a school system as time continues to pass. I think every teacher has felt the effect of the “economic conditions” created by our state legislature. Classrooms lack so many necessities for teaching. (The schools I taught at, however, still seemed to always find money for the athletics program. But I won’t start on that rant.)

    As a teacher with a system with poor economic conditions, I had to be more creative about finding resources for teaching kids, using free online resources, grants, sponsorships, and parent and community supports. My principal at my last school helped teachers in these endeavors, helping teachers to find a way to assess needs and start the process. This kind of leadership and administrative assistance is abolutely vital for teachers to be able to function in poor economic situations. Our school had extreme community support, so this helped our school to maintain important functions using community economic resources.

    These kinds of situations can result in conflict, particularly when teachers are vying for such scarce resources for curricular and extracurricular instruction. Boleman and Deal talk about this in the text materials. This conflict must be managed by leadership by limiting the idea of “winners and losers” (such as how athletics always seemed to win and academic extracurricular always seemed to lose) by balancing the scales. Such balance can help limit conflict.

    Reply
  17. Tamara Danley

    As an edupreneur, how can your school be successful in spite of fluctuating economic conditions? In my current urban school I have not been a part of abundance of economic conditions at any time. As a consequence, we have to be innovative to achieve our goal to educate our students to the best of our ability. Personally, I believe we have to use the Human Resources frame to build good relationships and collaboration with teachers and administrators. United we can accomplish so much more and less negativity occurs. Additionally, we must bring our schools into the 21st century and use more technology. If we used a hybrid method of teaching, we might not be able to pay for all of the computers, but an innovative program can bring philanthropists, donors, and grants to fund technology. There are so many ways to be successful even in hard times. We know many Oklahomans don’t value education the way Edupreneurs value it, so we find our own way and keep up the good fight for funding.

    Reply
  18. freemsa

    The key to a ‘systems’ approach is to make sure you understand the system in which you operate, and determine how your role fits within the system (and as a principal, you need to be aware of how potential hires, or returning teachers fit into the system). When combining this with entrepreneurism, it becomes easier to invest in the system, and to establish shared goals throughout the learning organization. Bolman and Deal (2017) state, “In a given situation, one lens may be more helpful than others. At a strategic crossroads, a rational process focused on gathering and analyzing information may be exactly what is needed. At other times, developing commitment or building a power base may be more critical. In times of great stress, decision processes may become a form of ritual that brings comfort and support. Choosing a frame to size things up or understanding others’ perspectives involves a combination of analysis, intuition, and artistry,” (p. 303). This relates to a systems approach in many ways. If you understand your role in the system, and the role of others, it becomes easier to allow the opportunity for discussions with colleuges, brain storming, and determining a plan of action towards ‘bettering’ the system. However, an entrepreneur, in my opinion has a vision and takes risks in order to achieve the potential. If there is a teacher in your building that does not invest in their personal growth, team relationships, and classroom, they are lacking the ‘entrepreneur’ mind set that is essential in order to carry out the growth/improvement that is necessary in their system. This is why professional development, PLCs, and team building are crucial for systems — especially useful PD that is geared toward reaching the shared goal.

    Reply
    • freemsa

      FYI — This is Sarah Freeman

      Reply
  19. Jennifer Ochwo

    Traditional schools do not like systematic change. However, the needs of the communities and schools today are ever changing. Too often administrators and school leaders are playing catch up instead of making changes to avoid problems later. Bolman and Deal say managers play “hot potato” and rely on their own observations and experiences but do not have time to think critically or seek advice from experts (2017).

    Reply
  20. panchoo

    I like “effective leaders understand efficiencies that can be accomplished by matching resources, activities, outputs and outcomes and by considering external forces that influence student learning” but more powerful is “community context including community interests, needs, resources, and economic conditions may influence the outcomes of our organization and might influence the goals of the organization, resources available, and the types of activities that we employ to reach educational goals”. The community context influences both the goals AND the outcomes. The biggest impact of the states economic conditions resulting in mass de-funding of education in particular, is the reduction of highly-qualified educators in classrooms. The exodus of teachers from the profession (not necessarily the state) is the highest its ever been (Tulsa Public Schools lost 1000 year 1-4 teachers in 2017. Through exit interviews we learned the reason was not teacher pay but lack of supports – socio-emotional in particular. My site has not seen a difference in academic achievement or growth (we have remained constant at 30% proficiency in Math and Reading) over the last seven years. As an edupreneur, providing opportunities for engagement with technology, and diverse experiences will impact student and community mindsets, however access to sources of funding outside of traditional ones, has not been successful. We continue on though, using every opportunity to network with community stakeholders, especially philanthropic donors.

    Reply
  21. Kelsee Dyess

    As an educational leader, it is essential to recognize the systems that effect the instructional environment. The systems that comprise a classroom aid in cultivating student learning. However, it is crucial for an educational leader to embody innovative thinking and creative problem solving to ensure that one does not use diminishing “systems” as an excuse. The current funding of our education system has created hardships for many schools, teachers and students. As the educational leader, it is essential to align one’s decision-making in a manner that is innovative and inventive. If one is able to do so, the loss of “systems” will be less detrimental to the learning environment. I believe teachers are the most integral “system”, therefore, if a leader pours into one’s teachers, the learning environment will be nurtured. One must support teachers, cultivate professional development, and lead in an inspirational manner.

    Reply
  22. susan

    Bolman & Deal (2017) talk about reflection and reframing during a time of crisis. Reframing our approach to education has become a necessity: consolidation of schools and personnel are suggested economic approaches in dealing with diminished resources. It is time to reflect on possibilities and how different approaches might fit into the purpose and goal of educational systems.
    Educational purpose is to enhance student learning, goals are more specific and vary based upon internal and external influences. Principal King, Chapter 20, reflects and sees the “picture coming into focus” (p. 414). As he reflects, he begins with a plan, an agenda and symbols.
    One Oklahoma educational symbol is about student caring; an overarching theme was students’ well-being as educators marched at the capitol. As economic sources are reduced, teachers struggle to fill the role of nurturer as schools are forced to reduce extra-curricular activities and electives that expand exposure to different cultural influences. School days are reduced, further impacting children in lower socio-economic circumstances.
    As we struggle to provide excellence and diversity in education, we need a plan to prioritize needs. Ironically, money allotted to student testing attributed to reduced curriculum depth and student engagement while removing funds that could have been used to supplement both curriculum and engagement, in addition to building and employment funds. Many tests have ceased, particularly subject end of instruction tests; perhaps remaining tests should also be examined for assessment value, and be prioritized based upon their value.
    Today’s economic crisis may open paths to relationships between communities and schools. By re-framing economic needs and joining hands with communities, schools may be able to continue academic excellence as students move from the classroom into community educational sites: museums, community theater, libraries, and local historical sites. Special workshops for class credit could be built around curriculum designed to meet targeted outcomes/objectives. Technology use has increased to allow for continued class time on snow days: perhaps an extension of technology could extend a four day school week into a five day school week.

    Reply
  23. Susie Buser

    The lack of state funding has decreased the number of adults in our building. We have lost positions(aka people)that interact directly with students on a regular basis. Class size has also increased. Teachers spend their own money on materials and supplies. Isn’t this what we hear over and over again from the majority of educators?
    I believe and John Hattie’s research has proven that the outside influences that teachers so often cite as having a negative impact on student performance really don’t have as great of impact as we think (https://youtu.be/rzwJXUieD0U). Hattie ranked 200 items that impacted student achievement. The following is a list of just a few of the items:
    Lack of sleep 191
    Whole Language 184
    Gender 174
    Problem Based Learning 168
    Web Based Learning 163
    Class size. 147
    Individualized instruction 143
    Finances. 141
    Computers in math 117
    Individualized feedback on teacher effectiveness 4
    Acknowledging errors 3
    What students knows and working toward specific learning goals. 2
    Teachers working together as evaluators of their impact 1
    Remember that the higher the ranking the less effect on student achievement.
    While I realize this information may seem a little off topic it provides us (educational leaders) with a clear picture of what our focus needs to be to create a system where all students can succeed. Regardless of the financial impacts, we have the ability to utilize the resources available to us and operate from the human resource frame to grow tomorrow’s leaders. Bolman and Deal summarize the 4 frames that we have been studying on page 300-301. If you look at the HR frame you will see that it focuses on promoting participation, feedback for individual growth and improvement, conflict is used to develop relationships, exchanging information, and self actualization are a few of the characteristics of the human frame. I think that those characteristics align nicely with what Hattie’s research has proven to be effective practices.
    As a future educational leader I want to always remember that kids are going to learn even if there is a monkey at the front of the classroom but great learning is going to happen when teachers are expected to understand that they really only need to be able to answer 4 critical questions to be effective practitioners: what is it we want students to learn, how will we know when they have learned it, what will we do when they haven’t learned it, and what will we do when they have it(http://www.allthingsplc.info/mobile/blog/view/305/learning-in-a-plc-student-by-student-target-by-target).

    Reply
  24. doug.ruffner

    Diverse systems will certainly add challenges to being an administrator; specifically, financial systems, curricular systems, human resource systems, et cetera. The most important part of being an educator, however, are those external conditions, those external pressures, that create the challenges that we, as administrator,s need to resolve in ways that allow our students and staff to reach their full potential. There will never be enough money to do all of the professional development that will allow our teachers to shine. Heck, there may not be enough money to even have proper curriculum materials for our students.But caring about our staff and our students, the struggles they have both at school and at home, the daily issues that we must resolve for them to be successful, those are the real issues. Many times I have experienced a changed attitude or behaviour from showing that I authentically care for a student or faculty member as a real, flesh, and blood human being. That caring and love can ease the shortcomings of external conditions and allow each of us to be successful.

    Reply
  25. Steve N

    Effective School systems must embrace change positively and find solutions to the conflicts plaguing our mission and vision. The external and internal factors should not impact our resolve in cultivating innovative ways in a challenging economic society. Structural realignment is the need for involvement & training where we will not ensure success without existing roles and relationships are realigned to fit the new initiative (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p 372).

    Reply
  26. Jacklyn Henley

    Here in Oklahoma, I have definitely seen the effect of our state’s economic problems on students’ learning. Children are not being provided with textbooks, arts are being done away with, classrooms are not adequately supplied, and teachers are not paid enough to keep teaching in Oklahoma.

    Some schools have had to decrease their use of school buses for extracurricular activities and field trips, some have cut art programs, drama programs, and others.

    I would provide a resource room that is stocked with more than just pipe cleaners and construction paper. I would put research articles, books, activity materials, tables and chairs, interactive bulletin boards. Teachers need these things in order to provide quality education to their students.

    Reply
  27. Brielle Smith

    This is such a hard time in Oklahoma education. The walkout was so powerful and encouraging. I think it is just what teachers needed. WE are overwork and underpaid, our schools lose more and more funding each year. What a good administrator would do is keep moral up and encourage their teachers to be creative. This is an opportunity for teachers to stretch and grow. To make a dollar stretch. To use unconventional ways to teach. This gives the school the opportunity to share what ways they are being creative, who is going the extra mile to make the most of the situation they are in. For example my administrator called a faculty meeting about half way through the year and gave us homework to explore twitter, make an account, and find all the free resources that are available. I think reframing make a ton of sense hear, reframing the way the school functions in a different environment, and how to get by when there is no funding.

    Reply
  28. Dina McClellan

    The current”educational funding” situation in Oklahoma has been on-going for the past decade. The state has cut funding by approximately 26%. School systems have had to find ways to deal with these cuts and maintain a balanced budget.
    My district has been affected by these cuts and our administrators have done an amazing job trimming items that don’t directly impact students in the classroom.
    The biggest takeaway from my school system is that from the top down that they encourage us and believe in us. In spite of the cuts that have been made, teachers are still appreciated by the leaders.

    Reply
  29. Caitriona Harris

    Appreciation/Gratitude within all levels of the school community is powerful as fixed mindsets about what CAN/WILL change on campus is explored.

    Reply

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