Leadership magazine March/April 2018 V47 No. 4 | Page 42

This is about helping us to define instructional leadership and our vision for the overall culture of the district. that my teachers understand and use specific instructional practices, and that principals are informed to the point where they can delve into these effective practices as well. “If principals are going to spend their time in deep conversations with teachers around instruction, I need to be ready to say here is a task or responsibility you can let go of in order to be able to take this on. We also have to have a plan for who will take on that which was formerly the principal’s respon- sibility.” A realization for the core team has been that there are some things – sticky issues – they aren’t ready to take on, including the role of student achievement in the growth system and what they will do to support very experienced, as well as struggling teachers. But, for now, they are comfortable knowing that they are laying the foundation, in terms of communication and expectations. “It’s not so overwhelming if you are ac- tually taking little steps that you can man- age,” Reyes said. “We just have to work on this first step, and look as far ahead as the next step. Creating a new vision isn’t a huge insurmountable problem. It’s something we are all capable of.” 42 Leadership REEd has learned as well. Working with Robla has forced us to think about what it means to engage in a cycle of continuous improvement. We’ve come to acknowledge our own value as a university intermediary who has the ability to say, “You know the big goal, and you know there are a lot of steps that have to take place between now and that goal. It’s OK to slow down. It’s OK to pause and think about what you need to adjust. It’s OK to end up going in an entirely different direction than the one you had originally an- ticipated.” This is challenging work for any district. It takes time, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But the potential pay-off is mov- ing California toward a statewide, system- wide professional learning model that values teacher choice and voice; strong leadership within a growth-driven environment and mindset; ongoing collaborative opportuni- ties; the productive and meaningful use of time; and ongoing, formative reflective pro- cess that maximizes the potential for instruc- tional improvement and student learning. Resources • Carnegie Foundation for the Advance- ment of Teaching (2013). “Improvement Research Carried Out Through Networked Communities: Ac