I saw The Greatest Showman while it was in the movie theater when it was first released. After the movie, I had a new-found desire to join the circus.
What was it that made me all of a sudden want to join the circus?
There is a song in the movie titled A Million Dreams and people who know me well know I have a million dreams. One of those dreams is to be part of the team at the best school in the world!
What does the best school in the world look like?
In 2010, researchers Michael Barber, Chinezi Chijioke, and Mona Mourshed published their report titled How the World’s Most Improved School Systems Keep Getting Better. This report shares research from schools in 20 different countries. Their research revealed 8 highlights that these schools did to continue to improve and one theme that ran strong through the majority of these highlights was teamwork to identify and respond to problems. In the report’s introduction, Michael Fullan wrote,
The power of collective capacity is that it enables ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things – for two reasons. One is that knowledge about effective practice becomes more widely available and accessible on a daily basis. The second reason is more powerful still – working together generates commitment. (p.72)
Similarly, The University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research conducted surveys of stakeholders in more than 400 elementary schools. Their findings revealed that “relational-trust” among administrators, teachers, and parents was the most crucial finding to the most effective schools.
Below are five questions to ask yourself to determine if you are part of the best school in the world:
- Do you involve principals, academic deans, and teachers when determining curriculum, study materials, and instructional strategies at your school? If so, how?
- Does your school encourage open doors from classroom to classroom where teachers are able to observe each other, give feedback and engage in collaborative work? If so, how?
- Does your school maintain a strong parent community who are supporters of student learning? If so, how?
- Is your school community learner-centered? How does that work?
- Do the leaders of the school choose to invest in developing people for the growth of the school? If so, how?
As I was processing these questions, I had many moments where I was reminded of how my school did that well, and other moments where I thought about the growth that could happen if we chose to embrace this concept more fully. This is most likely true for all of us.
When I think back to what made me want to join the circus after seeing The Greatest Showman I believe it was the comradery of the participants to make the circus an engaging and excellent show for the audience.
I don’t plan to join the circus, but I do plan to work/seek to work at “the best school in the world.”
Might you join me?
And, might you consider making your school the best in the world by committing to authentic collaboration and teamwork??