Transforming Outcomes by Transforming Leaders: Part 1

Purposeful School Leader Development

To create schools of excellence, in Chicago and across the country, one core pillar of our innovation framework, and central element in our theory of change as an organization, is creating highly-effective teachers and leaders.

At the heart of this work is our Chicago Teacher Residency, creating public school teachers ready to hit the ground running across underserved communities across Chicago. But once these teachers are in schools and in front of their own classroom, we see the school leader as the key to ensuring they continue to develop and deepen their practice so the school continues to grow its impact on student outcomes.

Avenues for School Leader Development

In addition to the residency, we manage a network of public neighborhood schools as well. Thus, creating public school leaders that focus on transforming their talent is vital to our success. This work begins with providing them the space, time, and structure to plan for and operate an exceptionally excellent school. But the seeds of long-term impact are sown by also providing them opportunities to stretch and grow as leaders — through individualized coaching support and the collaboration opportunities to learn from each other.

Directors of School Leadership, alongside network coaches, walk schools and classrooms with principals to provide instructional coaching to ensure each teacher is continuing to build and deepen their practice to better serve their students.

These opportunities include:

1. Directors of School Leadership: each principal is supported by a Director of School Leadership (DSL) that provides personalized coaching, operational, and network supports.

2. Collaboratives: each DSL oversees a cohort of five to eight school teams that regularly meet to learn from and share with each other problems of practice and successes (in addition to receiving network support to better plan and operate excellent schools).

3. Personalized Learning (“AUSL Innovates: Speaker Series”): recently launched, principals engage in an independent learning journey throughout the school year to reflect on, better understand, and share a personal area of growth or mastery. Toward the culmination of the school year, each of these principals will share their learnings and discuss how they have worked to impact their schools and communities.

During a recent monthly collaborative, principals were led through a self-assessment to determine their school’s instructional priorities for next year led by their DSL. Additionally, the collaborative conducted a collective deep dive on curriculum content for the last quarter of the year (facilitated by the network Curriculum and Development team).

School Year 2017-2018, AUSL Innovates topics include: “Why You Can’t Expect Results Without First Building Trust” about how to build and maintain the trust of your teachers and communities; “Leaders Are Not Born, They Are Made” in a diverse school and community population; and “Evening The Odds For Black Boys”, particularly in at-risk communities. Stay tuned and subscribe to our blog to hear more after our culminating School Year 2017-2018 AUSL Innovates speaker series event.