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Leading School Teams
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Leading School Teams
Building Trust to Promote Student Learning



October 2016 | 200 pages | Corwin

The busy administrator’s guide to creating strong teams, changing culture, and improving performance

How effective is your team? Research shows that “teacher collective efficacy”—when all teachers are collectively engaged and focused on improvement—can do more to increase student learning than any other strategy. In fact, using powerhouse teams can achieve four years of student growth in a single calendar year. Horton’s practical guide will help you form your own dream team through:

  • Short activities that require little to no preparation that you can use to deepen conversation at your very next meeting
  • Step-by-step tools that will help your team move from identifying its biggest challenges to choosing and implementing successful reforms
  • Strategies to enhance teamwork, trust, and collaboration so that your team becomes as effective as possible

Horton will help you connect people, build trust, discover strengths, and clear barriers to reach greater teacher and program effectiveness—and ultimately raise student achievement.

This book provides leaders and teams with a blueprint of how to work through a problem to find possible solutions while valuing each member of the team. This is not an easy task at any level and to have a resource to provide guidance for those tough situations is always welcomed.
Nicky Kemp, Assistant Superintendent
North Callaway R-1 School District

Leading School Teams allowed our team to address the lack of processes and the finger pointing and tension that went along with it. It was surprising how quickly the activities and discussion brought out the meat of the issues within our team.  Because of the natural manner in which the issues were approached, team members felt respected and accomplished after each session.
Eric Dahlstrom
Principal, Dartmouth Middle School


 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Introduction
Sustained Improvement Requires Teams  
What This Book Is—What This Book Isn’t  
Quick-Start Diagnostic  
Making a Selection  
Putting It All Together  
Activity Guidelines  
Components of Team Activities  
 
PART I. EXAMINATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF THE PROBLEM
 
Chapter 1. Learning Leadership
Leaders and Teams  
The Realities in the Leadership of Learning  
Application Activity 1.1—Assessing Your Organizational, Team, and Personal Strengths  
Application Activity 1.2—Effective Learning Leaders  
Application Activity 1.3—Strong Learning Teams Exhibit Common Characteristics  
Conclusion  
 
Chapter 2. A Problem Worth Solving and the Ideas to Solve It (the Filters)
Introduction  
Ideas Are Fragile—Ideas Are Delicate  
The Fosbury Flop, Ski Jumping, and Newton  
Application Activity 2.1—Treating Ideas in a Learning Organization  
Application Activity 2.2—Ideas That Don’t Work: Part of the Process  
Application Activity 2.3—It Takes Other People Sooner or Later  
Application Activity 2.4—Who and What You Have Around You  
Deeper Use of This Chapter (Deeper Dive)  
Conclusion  
 
Chapter 3. Why Solve the Problem That Needs Solving (the Filters)
Introduction  
Application Activity 3.1—What the Result of a Great Decision Looks Like  
Application Activity 3.2— Reasons to Have the Idea in the First Place  
Application Activity 3.3—The Problem That Needs Solving: Clear, Concise  
Application Activity 3.4—The Role of the Leader in Developing Ideas  
Application Activity 3.5—Harnessing the Forces Around You  
Deeper Use of This Chapter: Deeper Dives  
Conclusion  
 
PART II—INTROSPECTION, BEHAVIORS, TYPES: THE HOW AND WHO TO SOLVE PROBLEMS
 
Chapter 4. How the Problem Is Solved
Introduction  
Application Activity 4.1— Importance of a Process  
Application Activity 4.2—Trust  
Application Activity 4.3—Fear of Conflict  
Application Activity 4.4—Commitment  
Application Activity 4.5—Accountability  
Application Activity 4.6—Attention to Results  
Application Activity 4.7—Generating Ideas and Action Steps  
Deeper Use of This Chapter: Reusable Prompts  
Deeper Use of This Chapter: Deeper Dives  
Conclusion  
 
Chapter 5. The People Who Will Solve the Problem
Introduction  
Application Activity 5.1—Know How to Build and Use People  
Application Activity 5.2—The Chemistry of the Team  
Application Activity 5.3—Managing the Creative Team  
Application Activity 5.4—Handling Conflict in the Ideas From the Team  
Deeper Use of This Chapter: Deeper Dives  
Conclusion  
 
Chapter 6. The People in the Room (the Types)
Introduction  
The Assessment  
The Basics  
Application Activity 6.1—Part 1/Type 1: The Idea  
Application Activity 6.2—Part 2/Type 2: Organization and Execution  
Application Activity 6.3—Part 3/Type 3: Forces of Community  
Application Activity 6.4—Part 4/Type 4: Leadership Capacity  
Using the Four Types  
Conclusion  
 
PART III. FUNCTIONALITY OF THE TEAM
 
Chapter 7. People, Leadership, Support (the Fuel Sources)
Introduction  
Fuel Source A: The People  
Application Activity 7.1—Who  
Application Activity 7.2—What  
Application Activity 7.3—How (Coaching)  
Deeper Use of This Chapter: Deeper Dives  
Fuel Source B: The Resource of Leadership  
Application Activity 7.4—Keep Things Moving (Management Leadership)  
Application Activity 7.5—Keep People Moving (Leadership Management)  
Deeper Use of This Chapter: Deeper Dives  
Fuel Source C: The Supports  
Application Activity 7.6—Gather, Collect, Assess  
Application Activity 7.7—Feedback  
Application Activity 7.8—Systems and Barriers  
Application Activity 7.9—Performance  
Deeper Use of This Chapter: Deeper Dives  
Conclusion  
 
Chapter 8. Team Dynamics, Blunders, Traps, Directions, and Connecting Dots (the Pink Elephants)
Introduction  
Application Activity 8.1—Pink Elephants  
Application Activity 8.2—Team Dynamics  
Application Activity 8.3—The Blunders  
Application Activity 8.4—The Traps  
Application Activity 8.5—Ideas as Direction  
Application Activity 8.6—Connect the Dots  
Deeper Use of This Chapter: Deeper Dives  
Conclusion  
 
Chapter 9. Performance, Feedback, and Other Ways to Support, Maim, or Kill a Team (the Good, the Dangerous, and the Lethal)
Introduction  
Application Activity 9.1—The Good: Selling the Idea: A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words  
Application Activity 9.2—The Good: Communication and Frequency  
Application Activity 9.3—The Good: Ingredients of the High-Performing Team  
Application Activity 9.4—The Dangerous: Planning Mistakes  
Application Activity 9.5—The Lethal: Lack of Feedback, Feedback, Feedback  
Application Activity 9.6—The Lethal: Mistaken Assumptions of People and Meetings  
Conclusion  
 
Chapter 10. Leadership, Support, Structure, and Conclusion
Leadership  
Support  
Structure—The Overall Structure: The First 15 Minutes, the Next 45 Minutes  
Conclusion  
 
References
 
Index

"This book provides leaders and teams with a blueprint of how to work through a problem to find possible solutions while valuing each member of the team. This is not an easy task at any level and to have a resource to provide guidance for those tough situations is always welcomed."

Nicky Kemp, Assistant Superintendent
North Callaway R-1 School District

“If you are a school or district administrator with the time, energy, and courage to take on the major concerns of your school/district and are willing to implement a plan with possible systemic change then this book is for you.”

Jim Anderson, Principal
Andersen Jr. High School

"Chapter 4 of Leading School Teams allowed our team to address the lack of processes and the finger pointing and tension that went along with it. It was surprising how quickly the activities and discussion brought out the meat of the issues within our team.  It happened in a natural way that it snuck up on the team and we were in the middle of addressing the real issues before we realized what was happening.  Additionally, because of the natural manner in which the issues were approached, team members felt respected and accomplished after each session."

Eric Dahlstrom, Principal
Dartmouth Middle School

"Building effective teams at all levels of an organization is critical for long-term success. Nowhere is this more evidenced than in the principal coaching I do where building vital relationships and high-performing teams transcends traditional content and data and get to the heart of what we value in one another and our collective work. Dr. Horton has laid out a comprehensive–and palatable–approach to teaming that values the individual strengths of each stakeholder and lays the foundation for teacher enthusiasm and learner engagement."

Dr. Michael Roe, Principal
Riverside Poly High School

"This year I was faced with the challenge of starting a brand new community day school, changing the paradigm of how we educate expelled and at risk youth, and implementing curriculum and procedures that are truly new and innovative choices for our teachers. As I read through Leading School Teams I saw a few specific topics that I felt were key discussions to have as a fledgling staff, but sometimes folks can be hesitant in truly being honest about difficult topics. One of the best discussions we were able to have was in regard to the following prompt from Chapter 7 of Leading School Teams: 'Do we have a system to collect data on the program or initiative?  Is it simple to use and simple to understand?  Have results targets been determined before the program launch?' This prompt was able to facilitate a powerful discussion on how we are evaluating our progress, and how effectively we are meeting targets that we set at the outset of the year. As a staff we are looking forward to continuing these discussions using the same format and seeing the growth that will come from vibrant and honest discussions."

Cristian Miley, Principal
ASPIRE Community Day School

"The strategies within Leading School Teams allowed our leadership team to develop a deeper understanding between our members. This enabled our team to create more effective connections with each other, improved our levels of communication, and strengthened our team's bond."

Jeff Franks, Principal
Acacia Middle School

"Whether you are a new leader of a team, an established team in need of trust or a culture shift, a team where not everyone’s voice is heard, or a team without established systems, Leading School Teams provides the tools needed to create a highly effective team. This book provides powerful insight to practical activities that can be easily implemented with any team, at any stage, with an end result of productive change. Diagnose your team, engage in the activities and dialogue and watch your team transform."

Leah C. Davis, Executive Director
Riverside County SELPA

"In order for any team or change effort to be successful, relational trust is key. In Leading School Teams, Dave Horton offers practical strategies to enhance relational trust in order to transform adult-centered systems into systems that put students at the center!"

Paul Bloomberg, Chief Learning Officer
The Core Collaborative

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ISBN: 9781506344928
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