District Management Journal
Creating clarity around roles and decision-making authority is a big step in building and perhaps shifting the culture of an organization, including public school districts. The Spring 2013 issue of District Management Journal explores the importance of clear roles and responsibilities in cultivating a culture that promotes student success, operational efficiency, and preparedness for potential crises, and why this can be a no-cost, high-impact lever for raising student achievement.
Also in this issue:
Interview: KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg shares the philosophies that have guided KIPP’s efforts to build a culture of modeling good character in its schools. KIPP schools focus on preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life and believe that rigorous academics and character development are equally important in reaching that goal. Feinberg discusses the importance of school leaders recruiting staff and teachers who go beyond lesson plans to model behavior that builds good character in order to support the KIPP mission.
Case Study: Superintendent of Aurora Public Schools (CO) John Barry raised the bar with his Crisis Management Plan. After the movie theater tragedy in Aurora, the plan guided immediate response and long-term recovery in a systemic, organized process. His plan has become the gold standard for districts, demonstrating how being proactive, building and strengthening relationships in the community, and opening up discussions about the hard issues can create a communicative, controlled environment during crises and facilitate recovery thereafter.
Commentary: Managing the budget during tight times is never easy, and making bold, student-centered resource allocation decisions can be even more challenging. By emphasizing student-centered values and managing incentives, district leaders can minimize pushback from staff members, create an open environment for sharing ideas, and put limited resources to their best use.