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Leading Improvement Efforts: Theories and Challenges Pete Bylsma, EdD, MPA [email protected]

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  • 1.
      • Leading Improvement Efforts:
    • Theories andChallenges
    • Pete Bylsma, EdD, MPA
    • [email_address]

2. Presentation Overview

  • Characteristics of Effective Leaders
    • Perspectives of the sages
    • What research says about effective leadership in schools and districts
  • Creating Change
    • Theoretical models
    • Practical implications for leaders
  • Using data to lead change
  • Other things on your mind

3. Characteristics ofEffective Leaders

  • Effective leaders are found in both private and public sector organizations.
  • Effective leadership is multi-faceted.
  • Most writers view effective leaders as people who do certain things and have certain qualities.

4. Per Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO

  • Leaders need
    • Head(intelligence, competence, wisdom, savy)
    • Heart(emotional intelligence and soft relational skills such as empathy, understanding, and communications that foster candor and openness)
    • Guts(the self confidence to make hard decisions)
    • Character( prerequisites of humility, trustworthiness, strong work ethic)

5. Mind Energy People skills Work habits Head on straight (maturity) Mask shortcomings Resume Per John Wareham ( The Anatomy of a Great Executive) Means to get you where you are headed Misdirect with resumes 6. Per Jim Collins ( Good to Great )

  • Level 5 Executive
  • Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will (fierce resolve)
  • Level 4 Effective Leader
  • Catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards
  • Level 3 Competent Manager
  • Level 2 Contributing Team Member
  • Level 1 Highly Capable Individual

7. Common Characteristics ofEffective Leaders

  • 1. They establish and pursue a simple, clear, and compelling vision.
    • Know what should be, inspire others to work toward it
    • Vision is not too complicated, is constantly in view
    • Continuous communication in multiple forms to reinforce the message

8. Common Characteristics ofEffective Leaders

  • 2. They understand their environment.
    • Proactive and flexible when dealing with external variables influencing the work (economic and political conditions, competition, beliefs and values of the local community)
    • Advocate for supportive conditions, policies, and laws through networking, building relationships
    • Foresee the implications of others actions and adjust accordingly

9. Common Characteristics ofEffective Leaders

  • 3. They think and plan strategically.
    • Understand internal and external challenges and the multiple ways needed to address the challenge(see the big picture and know what levers to pull)
    • Work with others and use a range of information and data to design and implement a sound multi-system strategy to address obstacles and help them meet their goals
    • Establish aligned structures and systems that work well together

10. Common Characteristics ofEffective Leaders

  • 4. They select and support talented people.
    • Recognize need to develop other leaders
    • Know how to select and develop other leaders who can spread the message of the mission
    • Have good people skills and encourage, inspire, and recognize their staff when appropriate
    • Help staff acquire the skills and knowledge needed to do their work

11. Common Characteristics ofEffective Leaders

  • 5. They are learners.
    • Listen to other perspectives, encourage diverse perspectives, seek honest feedback
    • Balance the urgency to meet their goals with reflection to learn from their successes and failures
    • Take calculated risks and have the courage to admit when things do not go as planned
    • Learn from mistakes and are willing to change
    • Remain optimistic and resilient whenproblems arise

12. Common Characteristics ofEffective Leaders

  • 6. They have integrity.
    • Have a strong moral code that guide their actions
    • Honest, fair, and just when dealings with others
    • Treat others with respect, have high regard for all types of people
    • Keep their word and follow through on their commitments (walking the talk creates trust, motivates others to do the same)
    • Actions are consistent with their values and goals.

13. Common Characteristics ofEffective Leaders

  • 7. They get results.
    • High expectations, passion for excellence for its own sake
    • Track record of accomplishing goals by working hard and smart
    • Set goals and select metrics to measure progress toward the goal
    • Inner intensity to improve, sense of urgency
    • Creative problem-solvers who persevere and persist
      • Use lessons learned from listening to change practice, generate new ideas
    • Hold themselves and others accountable for results

14. Common Characteristics ofEffective Leaders

  • 7. They get results (continued)
    • Action-oriented, decisive, willing to make hard decisions after receiving enough information and assessing context
    • Not afraid to move (or remove) staff who do not produce
    • Use small victories to build momentum and confidence that can eventually get big results
    • Accomplish goals by reflecting all the other characteristics

15. Characteristics ofEffective Leaders

  • Effective leaders often have a combination of certain skills and knowledge, dispositions, and values that motivate and inspire others. In general, they are
    • intelligent, insightful, productive, versatile, flexible, creative, optimistic, hopeful, confident, energetic, hard working, decisive, disciplined, courageous, organized, approachable, proactive, fair, compassionate, trustworthy, team players

16. Nine Characteristics ofHigh-Performing Schools 17. Nine Characteristics:Effective Leadership

  • Leadership is essential to implement all the characteristics of high performing schools
  • Deeper Understanding of Effective Leadership
    • Distributive leadership
    • Sustainable leadership
    • Lateral capacity building
    • Relational trust


  • Leadership Attributes and Behavior
    • Demonstrate value-added leadership
    • Build community of learners/leaders
    • Promote second-order change
  • Leadership Approaches
    • Develop positive respectful relationships
    • Create collaborative professional learning communities
    • Focus on learning

Nine Characteristics:Effective Leadership(continued) 19. Characteristics of ImprovingSchool Districts 20. Characteristics of Improved School Districts:Effective Leadership

  • Leadership is at the center when implementing all characteristics ofimproved districts.
  • Focus on All Students Learning
  • Dynamic & Distributed Leadership
  • Sustained Improvement Efforts over Time

21. Improved School Districts: Effective Leadership(cont.)

  • Focus on All Students Learning
    • Focus on all students learning to high standards
    • Share beliefs & values, have clear goals & shared vision of change
    • Hold all district staff, programs & operations responsible for student learning


  • Dynamic/Distributed Leadership
    • Exhibit dynamic leadership, united in purpose, visible in schools, interested in instruction
    • Expand to encompass central office, principals, teacher leaders and others
    • Provide moral leadership that moved from talking to doing, to ensure students learn

Improved School Districts: Effective Leadership(cont.) 23.

  • Sustained Improvement Efforts over Time
    • View education improvement as long-term commitment & processes
    • Persevere, persist, and stay the course
    • Help staff internalize the changes

Improved School Districts: Effective Leadership(cont.) 24. Small Group Discussion

  • Form small groups; select a recorder, speaker
  • Discuss one of the questions for reflection
  • Select 2 or 3 key ideas from your discussion from your experiences about effective leadership
  • Share in whole group


    • How can school/district leaders develop & share their vision for improving student learning?
    • How can school/district leadership be distributed throughout the educational system?
    • How can leaders create political will & moral responsibility to take action to provide equity & excellence in learning for all students?
    • 4. How can school/district leaders communicate their commitment to school improvement?
    • 5. How can school/district leaders maintain stability and sustain improvement in a climate of political & social change?

Questions for Reflection 26. Part II: Creating Change

  • Gleicher's Formula
  • D x V x F > R
  • D DissatisfactionWhat is not working; concern
  • V Vision for future A compelling, attractive, and achievable goal
  • F First Steps A start toward a vision
  • R Resistance Forces opposed to change

27. Model relates to change management based on its experience with hundreds of companies around the world A wareness of why the change is neededD esire to support and participate in the changeK nowledge of how to changeA bility to implement new skills and behaviorsR einforcement to sustain the changeProsci Research - ADKAR 28. Larger Context (social/political/economic) My Theory of Change Leadership Mission & Expectations Internal & external pressure to motivation to change Vision Assessment of current conditions Improvement strategy Capacity to enact changes Opposing Forces Interactive Process Implement strategy Assess results Data as a feedback loop 29. Creating Change in Your System

    • What external and internal pressures exist in your school/district that motive people to change? What other pressures could be brought to bear to stimulate change?
    • What are your strategies to close the gap between your vision of the future and the current reality? How do you know they will work?
    • How can you build capacity to enact the desired change?
    • What are the forces in system that oppose change? How can they be addressed (mitigated, neutralized, or eliminated)?

30. Part III: Using Data to Stimulate Change

  • Cross sectional data and disaggregation
  • Longitudinal analyses
  • Considering the context
  • Data problems to watch for
  • Sneak preview of things to come

31. Cross Sectional Data A snapshot in time of multiple groups 32. Longitudinal Analysis Exercise Achievement level 2002 2003 NCLB passed 33. Longitudinal Analysis Exercise

  • In groups, add at least 2 more years on each side of the trend line to create 3 graphs to show:
  • NCLB had a positive impact
  • NCLB had a negative impact
  • NCLB had no impact

34. Longitudinal Analysis Math Helping Corps Period of assistance 35. Longitudinal Analysis Math Helping Corps Period of assistance 36. Longitudinal Analysis: Whats Going On? Source: 37. 2002 Results (average of 3 tests)WA Achiever SchoolsState: 23.0% State: 50.3% Correlation-.693 R-square.48 All other high schools 38. State: 29.4% State: 71.0% All schools improved by 2006 39. Schools experienced different levels of improvement since 2002 Mabton Yelm West Valley Stevenson Cleveland Davis Lincoln Kent-Meridian Tonasket Mt Tahoma Kittitas Clover Park Foss Mariner Foster 2006 results 2002 results 2006 state trend 2002 state trend 40.

  • Five Outcomes
    • Results from4 assessments(reading, writing, math, science) aggregated together from all grades
    • Extended graduation ratefor all students
  • Four Indicators
    • Achievement(% of all students meeting standard/ext. grad rate)
    • Achievement by low income students(those eligible for FRL)
    • Achievement vs. Peers(Learning Index and ext. grad rate controlling for ELL, low-income, special education, mobility)
    • Improvement(change in Learning Index from previous year)
  • Creates a 5x4 matrix with 20 outcomes

SBEs New Accountability System 41. Accountability Matrix Indicator Reading Writing Math Science Grad rate Avg. Achievement Ach. of low incomeAchievement vs. Peers Improvement Average Index 42. A B Illustration of Ach. vs. Peers 43.

  • Data quality continues to improve
  • Important data are missing
  • Simpsons paradox
    • All subgroups are improving but the overall level is declining due to higher percentages of lower performers
    • Unit of analysis (classroom, grade, school, district)
    • Unusual cases (outliers, special schools)
    • Getting an outside/neutral perspective

Data Issues 44.

  • Self perceptions reflect self awareness
  • Our perceptions may not be realistic
    • Psychologists have noted our tendency to inflate ourselves and be blind to our shortcomings or suffer from groupthink
    • Conversely, sometimes we are too hard on ourselves
  • If educators dont have accurate perceptions of their condition, they wont to identify their problems, which will lead to efforts not focused on the right solutions
    • Needed changes wont occur, outcomes may not improve
    • Lead to discouragement, less effort to improve in the future, and a belief that external conditions are to blame for the problems

Concerns About Survey Results 45. Stages of Learning Unconscious Competence Conscious Incompetence Unconscious Incompetence Conscious Competence Conscious of Unconscious Competence 3 2 1 4 5 46. Matrix of Perceptions of School Quality Staff Perceptions of School Quality (consciousness) HIGH most positive MEDIUM LOW least positive LOW MEDIUM HIGH Student Outcomescontrolling for school SES (competence) Unrealistic Unaware of limitations (unconscious incompetence) Realistic Aware of success (conscious competence) Realistic Aware of limits/success Realistic Aware of limitations (conscious incompetence) Unrealistic Unaware of success 47. Other Things on your Mind