Last week, we brought together 26 teachers and 14 administrators from Facing History Partnership Schools in Los Angeles to share ideas and learn more about what deepens students' learning. (Read more about the day by clicking here.) All 40 of these educators expressed passion and vision - true leadership. We were inspired by the many ways they work collaboratively to create engaging learning environments for students.
Through the course of the day, we heard a number of ways principals in particular show their support for students and teachers as they explore the complex ideas of Facing History and Ourselves.
Principals show their support when they...
- Show up. Spending time in a classroom with students shows administrators care about what students are learning.
- "Read the 'all-school' book with us, visibly." At one school, everybody on campus stops to read every Thursday morning. Office staff, administrators, guests...everybody grabs a book and goes to a classroom to read together.
- Provide space and time for teachers to collaborate in planning. Facing History interdisciplinary units have been created with more depth when the teachers were subbed out to plan together.
- Do more than "supervise." It isn't enough just to sit in on a class, the administrators who truly showed their support actively participated by asking questions of students and sharing their own stories.
- Think about how content is relevant to their students' lives. During the Symposium, we shared new Facing History resources for teaching To Kill a Mockingbird and the Nanjing Atrocities. Administrators actively engaged in those conversations, thinking about how the themes of Mockingbird or the lessons around violence and human nature would relate to their students' own lives.
What else shows a principal's support? Share your thoughts below.