How do we strive to lead schools in a good direction, from whatever starting point?  That is the central question of school change, and it’s a complicated one!  

 

School change is cultural change.  It is challenging work; work, which includes the following elements (Tompkins, 2014):

  • Compelling, shared, positive vision

  • Supportive and distributed leadership

  • Goals focused on teaching and learning

  • Involvement of learners (teachers)

  • Cultivating professional community

  • Formal and informal training

  • Practice, coaching, and feedback

  • Models and exemplars

  • Aligned incentives

  • Sustained over time

  • Evaluation

Although there is no one right way to go about fostering school change, district partnerships can be a vehicle for this work.

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Spring is our admissions season at UVEI, and during this time I get a glimpse into the lives of educators. Just like the new growth I see outdoors, our applicants fascinate me. They encourage me. They are a hopeful new beginning.

Here at the admissions desk, I receive and file each piece of each application to our UVEI and UVGSE programs -- resumes of educational interests and experience; essays describing risk-taking and determination; letters of recommendation from supervisors, colleagues, professors, even from students; notes from an interview with our program faculty. The pieces of an application fit together so that I start to know each applicant even without meeting them in person.

The next step after the application and interview is the admissions review, when the Admissions Committee convenes to discuss our applicants. Not just the strengths and weaknesses they will bring to the program, but also how they will best be served. What type of mentor and placement will help them grow? What additional supports might they need? Are there any special prerequisites that should be met before participation? The admissions decision that results is personalized for each applicant -- a personalization that carries through during the entire time of a their participation with us, and even beyond that.

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