|Anthony Muhammad, PhD, presenting to Colstrip faculty and staff.|
Creating a healthy school culture was the focus of the PIR. His prescription for a healthy school culture is based on 1) Commitment, 2) Refection and 3) Prescription (see table). Muhammad's presentation provided additional clarity for many of the details that are currently in place in our District.
Muhammad said that it is a hard fact that "You can't hold people accountable for what hasn't been made clear and explicit. To this end he said change in a healthy culture requires Transformational Leaders. He asked our staff and participants to identify ten leadership qualities that are essential for good leaders?
After identifying and reviewing the ten qualities he suggested that these are also the qualities that should be expected of teachers and staff alike, adding that no person can meet all of the identified expectations, but all people can be transformational leaders and collectively provide the stated qualities. He said that "instead of looking out the window at others, the transformational leader must look in the mirror."
Muhammad went on to identify Transformational Leader Essentials:
- Model integrity and fairness
- Set clear goals
- High expectations
- Encourage others
- Provide support and recognition
- Stir people's emotion
- Encourage people to look beyond their self-interest
- Inspire people to reach for the improbable: Bass (1985).
He suggested that healthy school cultures should limit "Adult Drama;" saying "Adult Drama" should be avoided as it results in dysfunctional social interactions between adult professionals within a school environment and interfere with the proper implementation of important policies, practices, and procedures that support the proper education of students.
Muhammad then referenced his book Transforming School Culture (2009) that outlines his study of 34 schools and their culture. From his research he was able to categorize the teaching culture into four types of professionals.
His concern was that "Fundamentalist" pose the biggest and critical challenge for schools to create a healthy culture, and that education is too critical to our society for leaders to allow a group of individuals who refuse to embrace substantive change to hijack it. His book says the "Fundamentalist might not have malicious intent, but their actions threaten to stunt the growth of the schools that serve our most needy students" (2009, p. 97).
The implications of the training aligned with Muhammad's study of school culture in his book Transforming School Culture, in so much as, the schools studied that were able to create and maintain a healthy school culture were also able to eliminate the human distractions and focus on a collective purpose (p. 119).
Colstrip Public Schools has a Core Purpose. Perhaps it may serve as a systematic and school wide focus on learning for collaboration needed to maintain a healthy school culture. A Core Purpose is vital to a healthy school culture (p. 121).
Core Purpose of the Colstrip School District is to effectively focus on learning and growth for all students in a safe, healthy, caring and collaborative environment that ensures each student achieves intellectual and personal excellence and is well prepared for college and career pathways.
In review of the day's activities and information shared, our District is extremely thankful for Dr Muhammad and the time he spent with our educators. He was able to cover so much information in a short amount of time. Point of fact, the information included in this post represents a fraction of the that of which was covered in Dr. Muhammad's presentation. With that said, I was very proud of our staff and their participation and focus during this training. A number of compliments were shared and even though I have had the privilege of listening to Dr. Muhammad in other national venues, I was even more impressed with his direct impact on our staff.
Thank you Anthony Muhammad, PhD, for "Making Dust" with our educators here in Rosebud County. Our professional development was superb.
GO COLTS! GO FILLIES!
MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!
"Get out in front and stay there!"