The final chapter of Christensen, et al provides some serious considerations to the types of changes and organization that a school can make in order to be effective and as the title suggests “innovative.” As one of my teacher’s says on a daily basis to her students, organization is the key to success.
I think that that is a true statement for students that are looking at determining how to be successful, organizations figuring out how the make the best decisions, or keeping order within a household. We all have our own organizational strategies that work for us; however, we are challenged as a collective unit to determine what is the most effective for our organization to become innovative. What is best?
Within my district, we have an incredible amount of “lightweight teams” that make in-roads on various topics and some that do not. Committees are formed to look at technology, Response to Intervention, department heads, writing across the curriculum, advisory initiatives, and a host of other options. These lightweight teams represent various disciplines and grade levels in order to make the best decisions possible for the good of the students. As students are our primary responsibilities and goals, teachers often overlook the importance of their committee work and the outcome that their decisions will have on students.
I look at our administrative team as the “heavyweight team” within my district because, coupled with the Board of Education, the primary decisions are made there. Having a group coordinating the effort and goals of the district as well as making the major decisions is a collective good thing. That being said, I feel as though this summer I have joined a “heavyweight team” with our technology roll out in the fall, I have been able to make decisions and assist in the planning across discipline, for all teachers. It has been an excellent experience!
What I think is often the hardest is to promote an architectural change within a school district. These changes can often have a significant impact of teachers, their schedules, the number needed, and the like which makes it that much more difficult to promote an architectural change, especially in this climate. However, the ways of the past are going to hold back students and teachers. Students must be exposed to 21st century learning skills, utilizing computers, and experiential learning opportunities. As one of my colleagues said, so eloquently, last year – the train is moving out of the station, either jump aboard or get out of the way. I am not a supporter for that extreme thinking because as educators we want to move forward together, as one, therefore we want to get everyone on board with change and innovation, especially with emerging technologies.
So, what’s the best way to organize a school? Is it depending upon your school climate and culture? Does it matter? I think so.