IN our Principal and Assistant Principal Academies this month, we are focusing on “Building A Community of Care and Support for Students.” It’s Standard Five of the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (see below).
We’ll be sharing more about the topic throughout the coming days, but as we begin the conversation our focus is on these three essential questions:
1) To what degree are the adults at your school committed to creating a community of care and support for your students?
2) What students at your school have needs of care and support that may be going unrecognized?
3) What is the connection between a safe, caring environment and challenging academic success? What can you do to lead a school that achieves a balance between both?
As school leaders we have both an obligation and an opportunity. Our obligation is to each and every student. They all deserve to be cared for and supported in a manner that meets their “academic, social, emotional, and physical needs.” That’s a lot to ensure! It means that the actions of adults in the building should contribute to supporting each student and her/his needs. The most effective school leaders work diligently to build a climate and culture that provides this type of landscape.
The opportunity comes in being able to design and build this sort of place. While it’s one of the most challenging parts of being a school leader, it’s also one of the most rewarding. You visualize what your school looks like when it meets the needs of every student, and then you go about making it so. It’s great work, but it’s steady! Your goal is to build and maintain such an environment.
To fulfill your obligation and take advantage of your opportunity, you will need another word beginning with ‘O’: others. Regardless of your skills and knowledge, you can’t do this alone. Your part in this dance is to lead; you have to figure out how to do so effectively, getting others on your campus to value this work at such a level that they’ll make a daily commitment to making it so.
We’ll take more about building a community of care and support for students here in the coming days.
You can see the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders here: (http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2015/ProfessionalStandardsforEducationalLeaders2015forNPBEAFINAL.pdf)