Everyone in education is asking the same question:
Are we on the right track?
Like most fundamental questions, it’s elegantly simple and devilishly hard to answer. You want to know your plans will lead to increased success in serving your students, but do you know what you mean by “success”?
When I ask school leaders “what is success to you?” I typically hear two kinds of responses:
And, and, and…
College-ready graduates. Low drop-out rates. Positive school climate. Well-rounded students. High levels of community engagement.
These are all laudable, worthy goals. However, an essential truism of leading any team is that everyone needs to know and agree on both the destination and path to reach it. Vision matters.
Deciding that success is “Mushville Middle School Graduates Independent Learners” doesn’t mean that having a welcoming school isn’t important. It simply means that you know the primary objective of your educational institution and all other choices will flow from that objective.
Honing down on a crisp, clear definition of success is very hard work. There are multiple questions you will need to explore. But if you have too many definitions of success, your team will not be aligned, your energy will dissipate, and you will have little control over your outcomes.