2012 SCORE Prize Winners: Cultivating Strong Leadership (excerpts) - Page 6

wit h consistent feedback. For example, Boles will sta in a struggling teacher’s classroom to demony strate lessons, provide supportive feedback, and vide substitutes so teachers can watch expert pro teachers at John Sevier or other elementary schools in the district and throughout the region. High visibility. The school leaders make it part of their job to monitor and support teachers daily. “Rick and Ginny are in our classrooms every day for five minutes,” one teacher said. “They show me that they appreciate my work.” Boles affirmed, “We are in every class every day, not to check up on people but to offer them support.” Teachers feel they can ask for any type of instructional or behavioral help—and will be praised for doing so because relationships are based on trust, a belief in the teachers, and a shared vision of what the school can be. For the leaders, visibility also means that children know that all adults in the building care about them. “We want every child in the building to have 100 sets of eyes on them. We know every child by face, by name, and by their family,” Boles said. Providing in-depth support. The strong emphasis on relationships requires a strong support system for teachers. For many, John Sevier is their first teaching experience. (The staff has an average of seven years of experience.) Teachers in their first or second year of teaching receive coaching as part of the educator evaluation and support system used by the district. Coaches and school leaders frequently meet to support each other and the teacher Video: “Supporting Teachers” (1:59) http://tnscore.org/scoreprize/ lessons-schools_elem2012.php “Mentoring and Instructional Coaching Program” http://www.tnscore.org/scoreprize/ downloads/2012/Mentoring_and_ instructional_Coaching_Program.pdf Treating all teachers as leaders. John Sevier Elementary rotates the composition of its leadership team every two years. Eventually, every teacher and staff member, including counselors, office staff, and custodians, will serve on the leadership team and make decisions that affect the entire school. For example, this group helped to decide the focus of professional development, the nature of after school clubs, and the allocation of funds for the playground and other initiatives. The school conveys its expectation to lead to every new employee. Support comes through activities, such as a book study of The Leader in Me by Stephen Covey. Teachers feel they can ask for any type of instructional or behavioral help—and will be praised for doing so because relationships are based on trust, a belief in the teachers, and a shared vision of what the school can be. 15 Pathways to the Prize Lessons from the 2012 SCORE Prize School Winners