Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blame it on Compliance

Do you remember when your parents would tell you the reason to do or not do something was, "Because I said so!"? It would work, but it wasn't always the most effective way to get me to change my behavior (especially when my parents' back was turned).

I'm reminded of this as I was preparing for a panel discussion I am taking part in today at School Administrators of Iowa (SAI) conference. We are discussing how we are implementing the state mandated Iowa Core. One of the questions I've been encouraged to address is how we at Van Meter have dealt with the resistance to change. As I got thinking about this, I realized this is a big reality to deal with for some. So, my response will be short and sweet: We don't do it by saying, "Because the state said so." We connect it with our district vision and communicate why we are doing what we are doing. If we only did things for compliance, then our district would be in upheaval every election, every retirement at the Department of Education, and everytime the words "common core" were mentioned.

Compliance is not the way to make change happen. Shared leadership. communication, focusing on learning, creating meaningful professional development, removing isolation and providing teachers time to collaborate are all parts of Van Meter's district instructional plan. For those of you in Iowa, you might recognize this as the Iowa Core.

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