Harmony in Purpose: Uniting Voices for a Common Goal

During the past three years in education, we have encountered and overcome many challenges and obstacles. When we think back to 2020, we faced the challenge of developing a new method of teaching students. From virtual classrooms to reopening schools we had to become pioneers. While working with limited supplies and barriers beyond our control, we became our own version of Apollo 13’s mission control team. However, during that period, we were very clear about our goal, which was to resume educating our students both in person and virtually. With this new learning environment, all district teams were required to find ways to support campus administrators, teachers, and students. Despite the challenges we faced during this period, we were forced to problem solve and reach our goal as a team.

We are essentially back to “normal” with some new tools and instructional strategies in our toolbox, but are we as united as we were three years ago?

Question 1: Do we have a shared purpose, direction, set of behaviors and goals?
What if we sat down and asked our team to write down the district vision, mission, a district value and goal, could everyone, including your campus principals, accomplish this? How well does your district team know the visions of each campus? Author John Maxwell states, “When people work together toward a common goal, extraordinary things can happen.” However, we must ensure that our district team understands our mission (purpose), vision (direction), values (set of behaviors) and objectives (goals) from the beginning of the school year onward. In failing to take this vital step, we leave ourselves open to frustration, multiple initiatives, campus and teacher overload, and staff spinning in circles instead of moving forward.

Question 2: Do our district initiatives align with our shared mission and vision? 
The authors of Leading PLCs at Work: Districtwide Leadership Strategies for Building Learning Communities wrote, “Leadership is about creating conditions that support and value people while empowering them to accomplish their best.” The best way to empower our staff is to provide them with the training, tools and support they need to accomplish the tasks they have been assigned by:

  • Planning and discussing training and initiatives in advance.
  • Providing support for the staff in understanding the connection between initiatives and district’s goals and how to best implement.
  • Discussing with campus leaders look-fors to monitor implementation, provide feedback and determine support needed for staff to be successful
  • Ensuring that the number of initiatives is doable. Attempting to do many things will result in nothing being accomplished. To achieve better results, focus on improving a few things at a time.

Question 3: Is our communication clear?
At the district level, each of us has a specific area of responsibility. Regardless of the size of your district, if our communication is not aligned, we may cause more stress on our campuses. Implementing consistent district collaboration time is essential in creating a culture of one voice. In support of each other, we can show campuses how we are moving in the same direction.

Serving public education for 20 years, longtime TEPSA member Danieli Parker is the Director of Innovation and Instructional Technology in Hallsville ISD.

Proud product of Texas public education and longtime TEPSA member, Cristi Parsons, a former Texas National Distinguished Principal, is a Solution Tree Associate supporting educators nationwide with 30 years experience.

Together, Danieli and Cristi worked as an administrative team leading schools to Solution Tree model PLC status. Through their work as Solution Tree Associates they support campus leaders on their journey to excellence.

Learn more from Danieli and Cristi this fall during the “Leadership Edge” PD modules available on-demand.

The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), whose hallmark is educational leaders learning with and from each other, has served Texas PK-8 school leaders since 1917. Member owned and member governed, TEPSA has more than 6000 members who direct the activities of 3 million PK-8 school children. TEPSA is an affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

© Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association

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