Building instructional leadership

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In 2013 three public primary school principals in the Fairfield education network, Sydney formed a leadership learning alliance to drive instructional leadership practices of current and aspiring school leaders and improve learning outcomes for our students.

The schools are members of a wider community of schools that currently engage in combined professional learning activities including school development days.  

The three principals, Annette, David and Jan were trained by Professor Richard Elmore to facilitate instructional rounds, a tool for school improvement.  This then became our platform to initiate the rounds process in our schools.

“ We are asking schools to do something they have never done before-educate all students to high levels-and we don’t know how to do that in every classroom for every child.”   Richard Elmore

As we began our learning journey Jan was selected to be the principal of another Sydney school and so our group of three schools became four schools connected and committed to learning together.

Our objectives are to:

  • improve twenty first century pedagogy and enable students to become “successful learners, confident, creative individuals and active informed citizens.” Melbourne Declaration 2008.
  • develop self organized professional learning environments focused on observation, reflection, feedback and collaboration to continually improve teaching and learning.
  • drive the development of leadership capacity of current and emerging school leaders through  mentoring and coaching.

Instructional Rounds (IR) in teaching and learning is based on the model used by the medical profession to recommend treatments for patients. With medical rounds teams of doctors, consisting of interns, residents, supervisors visit patients to observe and discuss the available evidence for diagnosis.

As we reach the end of the 2013 school year the instructional rounds process has been conducted in the four schools.

We have learnt to observe and not judge, learning to see, unlearning to judge; learnt about student engagement and being in task and how to differentiate the curriculum but most of all we have created a networked learning community passionate and committed to improving our professional practices.

You can follow our learning on Twitter #iroundsnsw

@annbasel

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