As I gear up for the 2019-2020 school year, I can't help but think about 2020, not just as the beginning of another decade, but also in terms of 20/20 vision. When I hear 20/20 vision, a few words that come to mind are: clarity, distance, and screenings.
School districts, leaders, and teachers have visions for their organization, it’s the "why" that drives their work and provides direction. This vision allows everyone to focus on what matters most - the students being served. Chances are your vision includes something related to students achieving at high levels, professional learning communities, or teacher collaboration, but how clear is your vision? Is it 20/20?
Steps to Refining Your Vision
Clarity: By clarity, I refer to having a clear understanding of where you and your organization are going. A professor I had in both my undergraduate and graduate programs frequently reminded us of the adage, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will lead you there.” This statement has guided my work and reminded me to pause and ensure my work, path, and end goals are aligned. An activity to try with staff tied to clarity and consensus is the One Word Challenge. Also, check out #oneword for examples and to connect with others.
Distance: Are you on track to go the distance? Have you set goals, established an action plan, and implemented systems and structures (including personnel) to ensure success? To whom have you communicated your vision? Like teaching, leadership is a team sport, and as such you need a team who understand and are committed to the vision. Consider creating an infographic identifying your goals and post it around the building, school website, and on social media. The more eyes you have on your goals and vision, the more people there are to join in and support you on the journey.
Screenings: What screenings, or checkpoints, do you have in place? How will you know when you’ve achieved your vision? Writing SMART goals, going on learning walks, utilizing Instructional Rounds, or using PLC protocols to discuss data can help inform your work throughout the year. Recognizing how quickly schedules fill up, push-notification services such as Calendar reminders or scheduled emails what can be a way to keep the screening frequencies at the forefront of your mind.
No matter how your vision is phrased, if we truly want to make 2020 the best year of teaching and learning for our students, then we owe it to them to have 20/20 (or better) vision.
So again, I'll ask: What's your vision, and more importantly, is it 20/20?