All Leadership Workshop Prepares Attendees for Ongoing Participation in Instructional Leadership Teams

One outcome of the strategic planning process that Arlington Public Schools began in April 2022 is the recognition of the need for distributive leadership structures that include the expertise and perspectives of multiple stakeholders. This knowledge has led the district to shift the focus and increase the size of school-based leadership teams. Their former role had been advising the principal on various school logistics and operations. The recasted Instructional Leadership Teams (ILT) will concentrate on the instructional work of the building. Composed of building administrators, curriculum leaders, content area coaches, and teachers, these groups are now identifying what constitutes excellent instruction and what actions can improve and enhance the student experience. 

The groundwork for the efforts that the ILTs are undertaking took place during the All Leadership Workshop held on August 23, 24, and 25. The participants had all read Leading In Sync by Jill Harrison Berg prior to their arrival, and the three workshop days were designed to create a common understanding of themselves and their colleagues, of where the district stands in relation to its vision, and to begin the process of planning for improvement.

The exercises completed on the first day were designed to prepare the team members to think deeply about who they are and to understand the importance of recognizing the identity of others in order to be fully aware when engaging with people. The work that the members of the ILTs are doing requires listening to each other actively. Understanding where all team members are coming from is necessary.

The activities on Day 1 set the stage for the second day. This was devoted to examining both academic and school experience data. Examples of the many data sets the attendees considered are prior MCAS scores, iReady Assessment results, Climate and Culture Survey results, and attendance records. Using what they had learned on Days 1 and 2, the ILT’s then turned their attention to identifying a problem of practice aligned to the district goals 

The work done during the All Leadership Workshop supports the creation of strong, evidence-informed School Improvement Plans (SIP) that are being created this fall. Each SIP includes a review of accomplishments and challenges, school-year priorities, and key initiatives and action steps. As they are completed, the SIPs are presented to the Arlington School Committee and become available for community members to review.

The All Leadership Workshop and continued participation of ILT members is funded through a grant from the Arlington Education Foundation.