PART 1: Where have we been? Where are we now? Where are we going next?
My personal leadership journey has been inspired by the image of a car traveling down the road. A leader, just like the driver of a car, has to know where she wants to go, where she is now, and where she has been. After three years as the Head of Lower School, I think it is a critical time for me and the entire Lower School to reflect on where we have been, where we are now, and where we want to go next.
The driver of the car must have a good sense of direction and be focused on the road ahead to get herself and the passengers to the desired destination. A leader must have a clear vision for the future and a strategic plan for helping her team reach the goals that have been established.
The driver of the car has to check her rear view mirror at certain times on the journey so she are aware of what is behind her. A leader has to take time to reflect on the past and learn from both her successes and failures while also respecting and appreciating how much the team has grown in the process.
The driver of the car has to slow down at times and take rest stops to ensure everyone in the car enjoys the journey and sees some of the glorious sights along the way. A leader cannot become so focused on the future vision that she overlooks the successes and accomplishments that occur along the way; the team must take time to enjoy the present. (I need to be reminded of this often because I think some might say I have a “lead foot” and can be too focused on getting to the final destination quicker than some of the people in the car with me would like!)
The driver of the car will have a more successful and enjoyable journey if there are other passengers in the car who all want to get to the same destination and are committed to doing their part to help get them there. A leader is most effective when she works collaboratively with a team that shares the same vision and is committed to working together to achieve the established goals.
At Ravenscroft, we have a unique process that allows us to engage in this type of intentional reflection through what we call Departmental Visitations. The visitations are consistent with Ravenscroft’s Strategic Plan and directly connect to the goal of educational excellence and programmatic distinction. These visitations take place every year for different departments across the institution. Our physical education and science departments had their visitations earlier this year, and the Lower School is preparing to have our Lower School Department Visitation on May 1-2.
The two main purposes of the visitation are:
Create Direction, Alignment, and Commitment (DAC*) within our Lower School program.
Engage faculty members and a team of outside professionals in collaborative visioning and goal setting process that is aligned with our mission.
The three main areas of focus for the visit include:
Differentiation in curriculum and instruction with a focus on meeting the needs of advanced learners
Mathematics curriculum and instruction
Effective use of time and talent (schedule and staffing models)
The essential questions the members of the visiting team and Lower School faculty will be asking are:
Direction: What is the vision for the Lower School in the next five years related to the areas of curriculum and instruction, scheduling, and staffing models?
Alignment: What are the roles, resources, systems and structures needed to achieve this vision for Lower School?
Commitment: How do we effectively involve all constituents to establish and sustain the ownership, responsibility, and positive energy needed to achieve this vision for the Lower School?
We have a team of exceptional professionals that will be part of our visiting team and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to this important process.
Educational Consultant and Author
Lead Developer for Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resource Project, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Mathematics Research Associate at Meredith College
Educational Consultant and Partner at 2Revolutions
Former CEO at North Carolina Virtual Public School
Lower School Director
Greensboro Day School
We want to ensure all constituents have a voice in this collaborative visioning for the Lower School and would love to provide the visiting team with feedback and questions from our parent body. If you have specific questions or comments that you would like us to share with the team next week for them to consider, please include them on the following Google document: Parent Feedback and Questions
We are committed to nurturing the individual potential of our youngest learners and believe this collaborative process will help ensure that we continue to successfully prepare our citizen leaders to thrive in a complex and interdependent world.
*Direction, Alignment, Commitment (DAC) is a tool that the Center for Creative Leadership has shared with our faculty and helps guide our Lead From Here initiative.