I have already gotten a good number of responses to my survey of school culture (Thanks)! What has already surfaced, that often does in committee meetings and informal conversations, is that teachers feel that they are "on an endless cycle of implementing and abandoning new initiatives". That sounds like a merry-go-round or that awful movie "Groundhogs Day".

I see four clear reasons for change in education, specifically in Somers Point:
1. As professionals and life long learners we should constantly be changing and refining our practices in light of the preponderance of research.
2. Most would admit that our students and the world they live in is changing. If we are preparing them to be successful we have to change our practices to better reflect their needs and what they will need to be successful in their world.
3. State and federal mandates often necessitate change. Often the funding we get is tied to practices that we are required to implement.
4. Student achievement data demonstrates that in some areas of math and LAL we need to change. Whether it is changing the curriculum, the instruction, or our beliefs we have to do it. It is our job to foster a community successful learners.
*Note - It is important to say that it is not just teachers that need to change but all those involved in education.

How do we make changes without stakeholders feeling frustrated? We have to do it, right, so what do we do to make everyone more comfortable with it? Lets face it, none of us are that comfortable with change. How can we begin to see change in a positive light instead of a groundhog light?

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My personal frustration has been that there have been so many changes and I don't feel as though I have internalized the ones that have occured and I am being asked to make more changes. I need time to digest one thing before I jump into something else. I also feel that we need to give a change time before we abandon it and change just for the sake of change is pointless. We have an incredibly talented staff and I know that they have great ideas. I think ideas for change that come from us need to be considered seriously and tried. I have seen some wonderful ideas that really helped kids over the years. That's all I have to say now but I know myself well enough to know I will have more to add after I read what others have to say.
Hopefully through our PLCs and various committees we are able to tap into teachers' ideas. I am always eager to hear new ideas. I think many ideas that teachers shared have generated change, for example,the science program, after school skill booster, Fundations program, curriculum mapping, activities, and assessment....
I agree with Pat. We need time to reflect on what we do and what changes are good changes to be made. I think that is what many of us do over the summer months. I think one area we all must watch is our population of students. As they change the needs change and therefore what we do in school must change. It sounds like an uphill battle but I believe it's a small incline that we climb and we can handle it as long as we all stay on top of it.
I think change is not only necessary but inevitable. As long as scholarly research supports proponents for change, then it is imperrative that we implement changes. My concern is that often these changes cause anxiety and it trickles down. If a teacher feels stress over implementing multiple changes at once.... the students aren't getting much from the change.
I think that is why classroom teachers get burned out. Once we feel like we have a handle or something ( a particular curriculum) then it changes. It tends to get frustrating. I am not sure if there is a simple fix for this ....
Hi All.... hope this finds you well.

Some thoughts on change.........

TYPES OF CHANGE

FIRST ORDER CHANGE- first order change is “incremental”. It can be thought of as the next most obvious step to take a school or district.

SECOND ORDER CHANGE- second order change involves a dramatic departure from the expected, both in defining the problem and in finding solutions.
Second order change is “deep change”.

THE SUCCESS OF SECOND ORDER CHANGE.... LEADERSHIP

Research: School Leadership

Leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school.

Leadership effects are usually largest where and when they are needed the most.
(Leithwood, Louis, Anderson,& Wahlstrom, 2004)

Marzano(2003 & 2004)
Leadership could be considered the single most important aspect of effective school reform.

Leadership is a necessary condition for effective reform relative to the school level, the teacher level, and the student level factors.


CHARACTERISTICS OF FIRST-ORDER CHANGE AND SECOND ORDER CHANGE

First Order Change
Perceived as extension of past practice
Fits with existing paradigms
Can be implemented with existing knowledge and skills
Requires resources that are currently available
Accepted because of common agreement that the change is necessary.

Second Order Change

Perceived as a break with the past
Lies outside existing paradigms
Requires the acquisition of new skills and knowledge
May require resources to be reallocated
May be resisted because only those who have a broad perspective of the school see the innovation as necessary

LEADING 2ND ORDER CHANGE

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” (Arthur C. Clark)

Second order change will impact the entire school community and if not approached proactively by the leadership will result in broad based resistance.


It’s People, Not Programs

“ In our rush to reform education, we have forgotten a simple truth:
reform will never be achieved by appropriations, restructuring schools, rewriting curricula, and revising texts if we continue to demean and dishearten the human resource called the teacher on whom so much depends.” (Parker Palmer)


“Education is always a vocation rooted in hopefulness.” (B. Hooks)

Wondering what type of change you are playing with?

be well... mike
We are the educational role models not only for our students, but for our parents, as well. Change is difficult and fraught with anxiety. However, life is all about change. Most times change happens gradually and we forget what it was like to live in a world without computers, email, cell phones, answering machines etc. Other times, change is purposeful and occurs because there is a need or demand. The changes we are making in our curriuclar decisions fall into this category. These changes are driven by the need to increase the reading and math proficency levels of our students. Far too many of our students are reading below grade level. How many times do we have a conversation about a struggling student and wonder how can we help this child succeed? We are trying to find the answers to the complex problem of why some children find the reading process so difficult. As educators, we read to discover, to learn. We go to workshops or graduate school to learn. We confer with our colleagues to clarify ideas and re-energize. I concur with Pat Carson's statement that we have a smart, talented staff who are committed educational professionals. I know we will be able to help these kids so they can pursue fulfilling, and purposeful lives.

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