"Voice and Choice"

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by ppodorsek
Last updated 6 years ago

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"Voice and Choice"

Style & Standards

In the spirit of "exceptional education" that is part of ISKL's mission, a committee was called during the 2014-15 school year to investigate innovative curriculum directions that might be considered for future development. A subcommittee identified the need for students in the high school to have more "voice and choice" in their learning programs. Initial research was completed about such self-directed learning as project-based learning, AP Capstone, and the Global Citizen Diploma. If I were a high school principal, these are the steps I would take to continue this investigation further. Note: approximately 60% of juniors and seniors are IB diploma candidates.

"Voice and Choice"A new ISKL initiative

1. Informal data collection - conversations with individual teachers and small groups of students to get a sense of whether they agree with the subcommittee's assumption that more voice and choice are needed and to solicit ideas of how to poll the wider community.2. Short surveys to teachers and students, <5 multiple choice questions about the level of inquiry and independence in classes.3. Conversations with the counseling staff to get "the word on the street" about current programs, classes and teachers.4. Administrative data about flexibility and variety for non-IB students.

Gathering Data

A New Direction

Sammamish HS Project-based learning

Enlisting Help

1. Faculty meeting - show video of Sammamish High School to spark creative thinking. Then present context and findings of informal data gathering to full faculty. Finish with short handouts about AP Capstone and Global Citizen Diploma. 2. "Anything interesting here?" Use a guided protocol to have teachers discuss the data and resources in small groups and then facilitate a full group discussion.3. Enlist faculty volunteers to form a yearlong committee that will conduct further research and make recommendations to the school.

Time & Process

Leading the Committee1. Year One would be set aside forfor research and exploration. The committee would be expected to read further about options, meet regularly for discussions, solicit input from students, and make recommendations to the full faculty in May.2. Assuming a positive response, Year Two would be a planning year for any pilots to establish a clear articulation of goals and processes. Appropriate staff development would occur.3. Year Three would be implementation, with ongoing and year-end evaluations. Positive results would ideally spark further interest and trials in subsequent years.

Transformative LeadershipFacilitative LeadershipProfessional Learning CommunityStandard 1: VisionStandard 2: ProgramStandard 4: Collaboration


Resistance to changeInsufficient resources for staff developmentMiscommunications regarding purpose, process, and outcomePerception of administrative autocracyIntragroup conflict over divergent views

"The school leaders might use several strategies in leading with a facilitative style, but the critical one is collective inquiry."- R. Green. (2013). Practicing the Art of Leadership, p.105


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