The CASDA Leadership and Management Functional Service Team is a group of experienced educators and administrators focusing on helping schools develop effective practices in the areas of administration and leadership. As schools continue to face daunting challenges, the insights offered by the Leadership and Management Team can help teachers and administrators develop the necessary perspective to guide their communities towards positive and meaningful change.
The team is capable of providing schools with assistance on any scale, from one-on-one coaching sessions with teachers and principals to broad management studies that investigate the administrative structure of an entire district. Instructional coaching sessions are designed to help teachers and teacher leaders develop their pedagogy by utilizing current research-driven best practices in curriculum development – particularly in common core implementation, English Language Arts and literacy.
Sessions begin with a team member conducting classroom observations, identifying an instructor’s strengths and weaknesses. Feedback from these observations is shared in direct dialogs with teachers and teacher leaders. These highly personal interactions offer a level of insight and clarity into an individual’s practice that large professional development seminars simply cannot achieve. By reflecting on their pedagogy with the guidance of an experienced member of the Leadership Team, teachers gain the knowledge and confidence to present curriculum to students in stimulating, challenging and meaningful ways.
Administrative coaching utilizes a similarly personal approach. Coaching sessions encourage administrators, most often building principals, to think broadly about the goals of their school community and specifically about building relationships to achieve these ends. The Management and Leadership Team emphasizes in all of its work that “no leadership occurs without collaboration.” This guiding principle is central to administrative coaching.
Principals are encouraged to reflect upon the responsibilities of leadership and understand that only through relationship building will the goals of the school community be realized. An action plan that is centered on collaboration is developed to improve the functioning of the entire school community. A central component of these strategies is establishing a framework to gauge progress. These references allow administrators to use feedback from teachers, staff members, students and parents to understand what aspects of their action plans are working and what needs to be re-evaluated and improved. This open dialog ensures that all parties involved are represented and invested in the process of positive change. By focusing on open communication and collaboration rather than hierarchical authority, administrators can open new possibilities that benefit educators and students alike.
The Leadership and Management team also possesses the experience and resources to conduct detailed administrative studies on a district scale. These inquiries often focus on administrative structure and resource allocation. These projects ask “are administrative resources being optimally deployed to achieve the goals of the school community?” In an era of severe fiscal austerity and stringent testing requirements, these difficult questions must be confronted proactively, honestly and transparently. The Leadership and Management team strives to promote an environment in which administrators and boards of education can communicate openly and effectively to address these difficult questions and ensure that students receive the best possible education.
Whether offering teacher leaders the space to critically reflect upon and develop their classroom practice or conducting a broad inquiry into district finances alongside administrators and board members, CASDA’s Leadership and Management Functional Service Team empowers educators to enact positive change in their schools. Regardless of a project’s scale, the Leadership and Management Team will offer clear, thoughtful and objective insights that can guide teachers, administrators and board members as they navigate the many challenges of today’s educational environment.