Great schools, and there are plenty of them, focus on several things:
- Great schools have leadership with a vision and they share that with their faculty. Administrators that are actively involved in the daily fabric and decision-making of a school create a team spirit that is contagious. They not only lead but they serve their employees.
- Great schools hire and support teachers who are passionate about the joy of learning which permeates everything they do. Teachers teach and work in their strengths. In the words of Jim Collins, they have the right people on the bus AND they get them in the right seats.
- Great schools care about every student, no matter their ability, and are devoted to finding the best teaching method to reach them. They see the student as a whole person and support them not only academically but socially and emotionally as well.
- Great schools create an environment of self-discipline AND creativity. Students and teachers alike are expected to meet standards but it is recognized that there are many paths to follow and teachers have leeway in how to accomplish goals.
- Great schools involve parents and the community in their day to day operations. They recognize the system that the child is a part of and work to support and strengthen it.
What makes a great school? Servant Leadership. Administrators leading and serving teachers and teachers leading and serving students. Let's stop focusing on what is wrong with schools. Let's focus instead on what schools are doing that is not only right but Great. There are plenty of schools out there that aren't stuck in a "factory model". I work in one of them.