Role of the Site Leader
The role of the site leader in the system is to champion the work and provide the support, alignment, and organizational commitment necessary to allow pathway teams to implement college and career readiness grounded programs of study. This is done by establishing a site leadership team that regularly checks in with pathway leaders to learn about the challenges and successes of program implementation and refining policy, practices, and processes to better support the work. It also requires committing resources, time, and attention to building cross-campus coherence around best-practices.
Site Leader Domains and Resources
It is important to have clarity about the outcome you are aiming for at the onset. It is the site leader’s responsibility to articulate and transparently communicate the student success goals the school site is striving for and holding itself accountable to. Clearly defined outcomes also allow the leader to construct an effective support structure and productively evaluate services. The definition of success is not static. As education and industry standards change, so should student success outcomes.
Domain Resources 1-4
Inequitable outcomes are often predicated by inequitable opportunities. To increase the number of achieving students, site leaders must examine who has access to the resources and learning that makes a difference. College and career readiness depends upon students being able to select pathways of their interests, partake of work-based learning (WBL) opportunities, and receive targeted support and academic preparation aligned with surfaced needs. Monitoring who receives access, support, and preparation will help close the opportunity gap and increase college and career readiness for all.
One of the major shifts in college and career readiness-driven education is in the type of instruction and learning that takes place. The idea of what defines the classroom is expanded, and fidelity to process becomes less important than learning outcomes and student performance. Teachers are encouraged to engage in continuous improvement cycles to refine their practice and revise lessons when student outcome results fall below what was expected. Students are expected to demonstrate their understanding of what was learned and reflect on what led to their growth. All of this requires site leaders to invest in capacity building for educators and provide them with the time and space to educate differently.
College and career readiness, by definition, is dependent upon community engagement. This marks a distinct transition from traditional education processes. There are three types of leadership opportunities within this
approach: the positioning of teachers to take on pathway lead roles, engaging community partners to lead their respective organizations in a cross-organization collaboration with individual pathways and inviting individual teachers to take ownership of their individual learning and participate in communities of practice. Distributed leadership leads to exponential growth, innovation, and ownership of the work, which must be taken up by the entire team to reach all the aspects of the educational experience it will need to impact.
Site leaders, teachers, and even students can easily become overwhelmed by the large number of projects, programs, and initiatives taken up by districts every year. Each of these important directives comes with a set of goals, funding guidelines, timelines, and action items which can be very difficult to navigate. Initiative overload and fatigue can hinder a promising practice. It is then up to the site leaders to find a way to reduce teacher overload by creating a cross-initiative Venn diagram, looking for the points of connection and alignment to reduce action items, streamline work, consolidate conversations and funding, and increase clarity and engagement. Integrating initiatives strives to make the work easier to manage and easier to undertake because it helps make it possible to do it in conjunction with other expectations in a way that advances multiple items at once.