Unique Tips to Growing a Successful School
A wise saying goes like this “Don’t be afraid of being outnumbered. Eagles soar alone. Pigeons flock together.”
- Committed, personal and visionary leadership:
In their best-selling book, The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner noted that exemplary leaders model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart.
These leadership qualities should define any school leader, be it the School head, Director of admissions etc.
“Birds flying in the formation of an arrow shape, following a leader bird.” A metaphor that depicts teamwork and leadership. It was discovered that burnout among workers/professionals is decreased when their supervisors have high Leadership Practice. Findings in the Leadership Matters further revealed that such as these have been noted around the globe. For example, studies reported from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Japan, and Australia reveal that job satisfaction, productivity, and organizational commitment are significantly correlated with The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.
As earlier mentioned that the five practices of exemplary leadership comprised of: model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act and encourage the heart. The ten commitments of exemplary leadership include:
- Find your voice by clarifying your personal values.
- Set the examples by aligning actions with shared values.
- Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
- Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
- Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow and improve.
- Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.
- Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
- Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.
- Recognize contributions by showing appreciations for individual excellence.
- Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.
Once a school leadership is incompetent or wrong-headed, student enrolment for such school is stunted, parents’ confidence wanes, teachers’ commitment to duty is affected while the students/pupils bear the brunt.
From the investigation of Schools Compass team, it was established that the most successful schools today are actually those owned by people who led at a point in their lives. John Calvin Maxwell, an American author, speaker and pastor who has written many books to his credit, primarily focusing on leadership says “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
- Strive for quality: Edwards Deming quotes “Quality is the pride of workmanship.”
Deploy the workforce effectively, with a focus on developing high quality teachers: Teacher effectiveness is the priority of any shrewd school administrator. They know the positive impact quality teachers have on the students/pupils and the school in general, so they devote a large chunk of the school budget on teaching members of staff. Furthermore, Aristotle, one of the best writers in the world said “Quality is not an act but a habit.” Likewise, a great man, Late Nelson Mandela quotes “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Bill Gates says “Thanks to Quality education, Israel is one of the most advanced countries in the world…Israel is advancing in high-tech even more than other developed countries.”
Oprah Winfrey, the TV personality says “For every one of us that succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody there to show you the way out. The light doesn’t always necessarily have to be in your family; for me it was teachers and school.”
- Retain the best: Patrick James Riley, an American professional basketball executive and a former coach and player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) says “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving for the best.” Retention of effective teachers is also a vital characteristic of a visionary school administrator. Evidence shows that there are a number of factors that influence teachers’ decision to leave the profession such as work load and pupil behavior, etc. With a committed leader overseeing affairs of the school, these issues can easily be taken care of.
As a school administrator, do not compromise quality. Moreover, put measures in place to increase the chance of retaining your best teachers. Having an Annual Appraisal for Teachers is necessary. Among other things, it takes care of incompetent teachers. Also, remove all unnecessary bureaucracy that could divert teachers away from delivering high quality education as a great philanthropist, Henry Ford, also an American captain of industry and a business magnate, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production said “Quality is doing what is right when no one is looking.”
- Have access to a skilled business school manager: A school business manager enhances your school efficiency. Until recently, the post was virtually unknown in the education sector, but now it is an integral part of schools’ leadership team. An effective School Business Manager is the dream of any visionary school owner because he/she reduces workloads for others (especially the school head) by taking away burdens and streamlining the systems within which all the staff operate.
According to research by National College for School Leadership (2009), a school business manager is a member of staff who helps to ensure the smooth and successful running of a school. By dealing with the leadership, managerial and administrative complexities that confront their schools, school business managers are supporting their head teachers and making a direct contribution to improving the effectiveness.
Based on recent research, it was discovered that office of the School Business Manager plays a prominent role in various ways such as managing the school’s finances, working with the head teacher and others who set the strategic blueprint of the school. They create a school culture in which every member of staff and the wider school community is aware of the need to make every penny count. Madeleine M. Kunnin, an American diplomat, author and female politician once said “A skilled worker, regardless of the job description, remains a treasure.”
- Marketing: Make good use of financial bench-marking information: Bench marking is a powerful tool for change. It helps schools to know the performance of schools that are similar to them, and also provide a source of information to challenge school leaders on how resources are used and on the school’s relative performance. It takes a visionary leader to fancy this modus operandi. It is high time your school employed this model. Look out for schools that are rated similar as yours.
Where you find that the school spends much less and yet achieve same outcome compare to your school’s huge budget in same area, contact them directly to know what they are doing right that your school isn’t doing. A great man, John Russell Langley who is an American television and film director, writer and producer says “Benchmarking provides an inventory of creative changes that other companies have enacted.”
Interestingly, Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India says “Whatever education a university or institutes of higher education imparts, it must achieve the global level of benchmarking given vastness and diversity of global village we live in today.” Following Oprah’s mentoring quote: “Nobody makes it alone. Nobody has made it alone. And we are all mentors to people even when we don’t know it.”