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“Education Is a Spiritual Business…”

“Education is a spiritual business, addressing the heart, the deeper person.” – LANALP Cohort 1 Candidate

 

 

With the closing of LANALP’s first cohort, candidates were asked to reflect upon the following prompt:

Looking back on your two-year LANALP program, what do you think was the MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE you have experienced that makes you a better school leader?”

A Cohort 1 Assistant Principal, who asked to remain anonymous, shared the following reflections in response…

 

 

With her coach’s support at the core of her LANALP experience, our Cohort 1 Candidate became a leader for change, an explicit persona for which she has become known, to make the whole school a better place for all.

 

As a new assistant principal, she led her team by taking a critical look at multiple data sources, not just a serious look at student performance. She provided data on teacher and student perceptions of school climate, demographics, school safety findings essential for students to learn, and the necessary skills students need to navigate the 21st Century.

 

To inspire adults to change, she taps into the natural motivating factor for teachers, their love for their students. She provides teachers with the information they need to make changes and time to think about how they might make them. The teachers also expect to be evaluated followed by a celebration of success. She said, “Remain positive and energetic. They will listen.”

 

As an Art School, her principal had focused more energy on the arts, rather than academic growth. No one had parsed the English Learner (EL) data. Faculty found a huge achievement gap in EL. The school was not providing those students with the support they needed. When asked, EL students told how they struggle in class and how they could not tell what was being said. The teachers responded by coming up with good EL strategies they could readily apply in their own classrooms. She used Google Docs for teachers to post master EL strategies for enhancing lesson planning. Working in small teams, she had teachers use those lesson plans for a month, then she observed them for a month. Each department submitted best practices for supporting EL students, which culminated in a celebration of growth for students and teachers.  

 

Our C1 Candidate applied that same formula to motivate teachers to participate in the Writing Across the Curriculum project. The English Department shared a simple writing rubric. After a month, each department submitted a writing curriculum to her office. Even the dance and mathematics departments were successful.  She and her principal included “best practices” in the school magazine, another way to celebrate success. Teachers requested to repeat it.

 

Looking back on her two-year journey with LANALP, she shared “I think my school and I have come a long way in the last two years and keep getting better. My personal belief is education is a spiritual business, addressing the heart, the deeper person.” The graduation rate increased from 87% to 91% in two years.  Of 87 EL students, 20 were reclassified within a year, showing evidence of continuing growth.  She stated, “LANALP gave me the language to inspire and convert people.” She told staff, “This train is leaving the station.  You had better get on quick if you want to be a part of it [success].”

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS to this exceptional leader on her successful completion of the LANALP program and, most importantly, her transformative work to advance equity and improved outcomes for ALL students. Hats off and thank you for letting us be part of your leadership journey!

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