Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Illusion of Collaboration

The Leadership Team

Before Dr. Johnson’s arrival, the teachers at Garvey School District schools decided who they would like to represent them on their school site leadership team. That all changed with the arrival of Superintendent Johnson.

o       Leadership teams were slipped in during the summer.
o       The Leadership Teams are now chosen by administration and are essentially an arm of administration. They do as they are told and at some schools, teams have been chastised for leaking information to other teachers.
o       Teachers have no say as to what topics are to be discussed because they are simply carrying out the agenda of administration.
o       The leadership teams are perfect examples of the appearance of teacher input, but the bottom line is administration gets what they want, one way or another. Administration knows what their end objectives are and if the work the leadership team doesn’t fit the objective, it is thrown out. If it does fit, the team is congratulated for their hard work.

Two examples from Garvey Intermediate. 

1. Garvey teachers spent a couple of Wednesdays working on master schedule ideas at the behest or the school’s leadership team via administration. In the end, these ideas were not used and the parameters were set by administration.

2. Early in the leadership team process, Garvey teachers considered having the leadership team lead Wednesday Collaboration Sessions. The principal said it would be inappropriate for the leadership team to run the collaboration meetings because she runs the leadership team and she would therefore have to lead the Wednesday meetings. The leadership team does not exist without her.

 As hard working as all the teachers serving on leadership teams are, their function is essentially "assistant to the principal." No collaboration here, just working administration's agenda, through chosen teachers.

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