My Intention To Become A Leader In Education
Dear Aaron,I wanted to take a moment and write a letter to you, myself, in the event that you need to remember what you promised to yourself in the closing moments of the Curriculum Leadership class. Remember, Aaron, that you vowed to be a leader of 21st Century vision. The vision means many things to different leaders in education, from the setting of specific goals on a broad scale to the more introspective self-reflection, cultivated in the serenity of one’s office on a daily basis. I believe vision, for us as educational leaders, is drawn in the spirit of the ancient Seneca words rýthmisi paní-which is the manner or process of setting sail—of a school district’s trajectory.
2018 was one of the most brutal, yet wonderful, years of our life to date. We experienced great excitement, unmentionable difficulties and the beginnings (and endings) of some significant intellectual and personal growth (well done on those two Masters, by the way). It was nothing short of spectacular. On top of it all, we dreamed, we worked, and we developed meaning for vision – and this is the place from which I write to you. We learned in Curriculum class that “developing a strong vision statements can help stakeholders in your school reach such a common understanding.” (Gabriel, Farmer & NetLibrary, 2009).
The vision must be clear and focused because it is your compass for district leadership, to point where the ship is sailing. Additionally, a solid vision allows you, as a leader, to look forward and see all of the endless possibilities for the future. I know that, at times, vision development in a school district as diversified as our own seems like a dance over hot Onödowa’ga:’ charcoals of Seneca fire. This first year as an administrator, we learned that you’ll want to listen, hear, learn and uphold the status quo, and that is wise. But after that you’ll find yourself yearning to take our school district in a bold and new direction that cultivating pillars of 21st Century Learning for collaboration, innovation and problem solving, I hope you will find this letter helpful in the long but rewarding process.
I cannot contain the depths of excitement I feel knowing that someday we will be using what we learned in class to change the educational world of our staff, faculty and students. And to get there, we will need to be an advocate and model maker of teamwork, collaboration and servant leadership. Remember Aaron, to implement the ARCS framework as a tool to collaboratively develop a vision for our school. Alignment examines connections, direction and sequence of alignment, connecting school and individual vision. Representation is a catalyst for activity involving students, administrators, teachers, parents, community and business partners in activity questioning and planning. Culture gives acknowledgement to the norms, values and behaviors of day-to-day life and examines their influence on the improvement of a school or district community.
Sustainability explores the structures of thinking that find meaning beyond the present moment or immediate importance. Each of these letters serves as catalyst, through which we can examine our program and practices and structures and cultivate ongoing and sustainable improvement through a vision development process (McTighe & Martin-Kniep, 2015). It’s funny how we can be so aware of ARCS and yet, when we get into the emotional trenches of day-to-day monotony, we experience a type of amnesia that seems to render us regressive and unmotivated to be collaborative and reflective leaders. During this time remember to STOP, take yourself outside the situation and keep your eye on the vision for the school district, that you coauthored with your team.
As Uebbing and Ford (2011) state, “Schools that focus too much on day-to-day issues and leaders who rarely move out of survival mode might be thought of as organizationally nearsighted.” (p.107). Before this happens, develop a data-informed action plan that will support the vision of your school district using research-based practices and professional development for faculty. Keep engaging all stakeholders, reminding them of their collective vision for where the school will be and reflect on the vision, hold your team accountable for the direction you want to see your district go.
In conclusion, I’m hoping and believe that as you read this letter you will remember that you vowed to be an educational leader with a vision for change, a vision for 21st century collaboration vision development process. A solid vision allows you, as a leader, to look forward and see all of the endless possibilities for the future. My intention is to bolster you with all the support and faith you will need for the next chapter of your life. I hope you feel like you’ve weathered the storm in ways you didn’t think possible and you will continue to do so as you implement this ARCS Model for the vision development process. If you master the ARCS process for vision development, develop a data and research information action plan, and hold your team accountable to its implementation in all parcels of your school community, I firmly believe your team will permeate the school culture, community and educational rigor of the generations to come. Yours Truly,Aaron.
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