I'm so proud of my principal.
There was a watershed moment at our faculty meeting this week as our principal continued to present her vision for our high school. Probably like many of you, our school has adopted the Dufour's PLC model as a vehicle for improvement. But every vehicle needs a destination...a spot on the map where we can focus our efforts... and a timeframe in which to get there. On Thursday our principal placed a pushpin into the map, and it's a doosie. Her goal?
To be the best high school in the nation.
I was absolutely beaming as she announced this. Why? Because it changes everything about the way our school proceeds. You see, I don't believe that any principal gets up in the morning and thinks "let's get about the business of providing an adequate education to our students." Yet, when we don't verbalize that we want to provide the very best education for our students we oftentimes tacitly create an environment whereby "striving to be adequate" becomes the norm. As long as we are "improving" then it's good enough. What parent desires a "good enough" approach to their child's education? Stepping up to the plate and proclaiming that we desire to be the very best is essential.
Yes, teachers are professionals and perhaps some might think that providing excellent instruction is a given. But we still need guidance, we still need to know what (exactly) is expected. How good is good enough? What does improvement really mean? On Thursday our building found out that only our very best will suffice. "Improving" isn't enough, striving to be adequate won't cut it. And one thing that is about to become crystal clear in the coming months is that the only way to provide the best education available is to work together. Our PLC framework just became laser-focused, and mediocrity was shown the door. I love it. The next phase will be exciting as we decide what students who graduate from the best learning environment should be able to know and do. What will a graduate from our institution look like, and how will we get them there?
The jaded teacher might say that education is not a competition...that we shouldn't be trying to be better than other schools. But that is typical obfuscation. Offering the best education isn't about competing with other schools. Striving to be the best is what all of our schools should be doing. It is in the process of creating a culture of excellence that we discover what education is really about. It is about serving the needs of all students, it is about a changing the building culture from "why do I have to do this" to "I'm ready for the next level." And that goes for all of us...teachers, students, administration, and staff.
The best schools in our country already know this. They aren't competing, they are focused on providing the absolute best education for their students because it is the right thing to do. It is why they come to work each day. And we just got to join that party.