School Leadership is the process of enlisting and guiding the talents and energies of the teachers, students and parents towards achieving the common vision of the school. A good leader is aware of how to utilise given resources to the fullest potential in order to cater to the needs of the school. Common goals set each year are derived from a vision, a foresight of what the school would look like in the near future. The vision is a dream that a School Leader along with the stakeholders’ plans to achieve and when achieved, gives a picture of an exemplary school.
Our vision is that the students would be prepared for tomorrow’s world like the future is here. Our students are getting ready for the future by assimilating 21st-century skills. We strongly believe that these skills are essential learning that would set an individual to be successful. Our yearly goals revolve around imparting these skills to the students. We have collectively decided to focus on ‘communication’ as a key skillset to be tackled this year. We plan to master all the 21st-century skills as we progress.
To achieve this dream, a School Leader ought to possess a certain level of knowledge, skills and most importantly an open mindset. Some of the necessary qualities of an effective leader are:
- possess positive / ‘can do’ attitude with an innovative approach to challenges,
- assigning sufficient time for reflection processes,
- being organised and be better at time management,
- being supportive and considerate (empathetic) towards people in his/her circle of influence;
- exude confidence, trust and fairness
Being a School Leader is not a cakewalk. It is probably the single most challenging role in the education system. The challenges range on a wide spectrum – it could be as basic as infrastructure, utilities and maintenance to raising funds, ensuing affiliation and recognition, certifications (for building safety, health, fire etc.) from respective authorities are in place, admissions and enrolment, adolescence issues, teacher and parent engagement and more. There might be many qualities that one needs to possess in order to be able to be effective in such a multifaceted role.
Yet what is most significant is that the qualities of an effective leader must be imbibed consciously and consistently and only that would help a school leader sustain in his/her role.
As it is commonly known ‘Rome was not built in a day and neither can a school’. This is especially true if one wants to build a school of their dreams. It needs a lot of patience, dedication and determination to develop it into an ideal place of learning. It also requires constant networking and relation-building, collecting and analysing relevant school data, taking tough decisions, giving constructive feedback to teachers and support staff, strategically planning the way forward, implementing the plan and monitoring them to check progress or deviations.
To mitigate most of the challenges elucidated above and improve the functioning of the school, we formed and leveraged a second line of leadership, or as per ISLI nomenclature - the School Leadership Team (SLT).
Shared Leadership is the practice of governing a school by expanding the number of people involved in making important decisions related to the school’s organisation, operation, and academics. We broadly distributed and delegated important tasks and responsibilities to people who are willing and capable of taking up ownership. They, in turn, help us in taking relevant decisions and ultimately improve the quality of the school. People with adequate amount of skill and will, be it teachers/staff or students (Student Leadership), become a part of the team.
Our SLT comprises of members from different areas of expertise and includes the manager, the teacher coordinators, the parent coordinator and a few students. The size of the SLT typically depends on the size of the school in terms of infrastructure and human capital. We also have a student council to support the SLT.
We have observed that when the responsibilities are shared, we grow faster and achieve better outcomes. The SLT is also a way to motivate the teachers, students and parents to work together towards the common goal of improving student learning outcomes. It is a way to get the stakeholders invested in the process of achieving the goals and work progressively towards the vision of the school.