Hope is more than just a strategy

Alan Blankstein states in his book Failure is Not an Option, “Hope may not be a strategy, but a strategy without hope is going nowhere fast”. SAMS has a yearlong hope to have 100% of teachers have 100% of their students achieve mastery of at least one essential standard. This is our hope and we are in the midst of figuring out our strategy to get there.

Although I know the principal is important to a school dedicated to ensuring learning for all students and the actions and beliefs of the principal matter. I also know it is only second to the role teachers play in student learning. By knowing this, it is clear to me that here at SAMS what matters the most is not the leader, but the leadership that is most crucial.

My essential standard for SAMS is simple in statement, but difficult in practice. If we have a vision to create a school committed to authentic learning in a caring environment, then my two objectives are to provide an environment at SAMS where every staff member can 1. Identify the vision and 2. Apply the vision. It looks a little like this:

Essential Standard: SAMS is a school committed to authentic learning and caring environment.
Benchmarks (outcomes):
1. SAMS staff can identify and define the vision – authentic learning in a caring environment.
2. SAMS staff can apply the vision in practice and decisions.

My role at SAMS is to be the keeper and the promoter of the vision and belief. I must provide the resources, time, and motivation to move this vision into reality. But I’m not alone, everyone at SAMS is responsible for leading this charge, because it is not about the leader – it is all about leadership.

I continue to appreciate the efforts made by designated teacher leaders on both the Authentic Learning and Caring Environment teams. Their staff development work allows for all staff to learn and contribute as the adult learners at SAMS. This growth mindset, by the adult learners, will model for students the type of thinking and courage it takes to be a learner.