Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's all about Organizational Culture

I continue to be reminded just how lucky we are.  I sat yesterday at an induction day for our newly appointed staff, where a relatively new staff member openly shared and reflected on their first impressions and experiences entering our school.  She expressed how supported she was, how she had learnt more in the time she had been at Red Beach than her entire teaching career and she had been given permission to focus on talking about learning with her students.  
There has been incredible change and shift in the culture of our school.  As I reflect back it hasn't always been like that.  It wasn't a place where one could openly say 'they didn't know, or I've made a mistake'.  I was reminded of how things were when I was recently asked by a colleague 'how did you get your staff to buy into a recent professional development initiative, I am getting resistance.  
There have been many contributing factors to enabling the shift in our school culture.  Our effective leader, being intentional about talking about the hard to talk about stuff, valuing all staff's voices, verbalizing the unspoken rules and questioning them, flattening hierarchy .... to name a few.  I guess importantly a significant one has been the shift in locus of control towards students having a voice that is increasingly more valued and deeply listened to.  Change happens when kids are in the driving seat.

It does however boil down to our staff, they are incredibly open and reflective.  As suggested in 'God to Great'  The right people are on the bus!   They truly make the difference.  They are difference makers.

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