Systems & Operations (3)

Enriching School Systems and Operations With Advocacy

Dr Phil Cummins argues that schools should and can enrich school systems and operations with advocacy for the other.


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The Advocacy of Team Creators

When we build systems and operations that are enriched with advocacy for the other, we refine the knowledge engine of a school so that it becomes a community of inquiry and practice focused on improved outcomes for learners who collaborate with each other as team creators.

Schools are not created with an innate understanding of “the way we do things here”. An ongoing process of building and testing a model of education requires layers of purposeful, deliberate and iterative work by the advocacy of team creators who build relationships of mutually dependent support. Thus, this enrichment of systems and operations is the patient work of years:

The standards of a high-performance school cannot be attained overnight. The reality is that schools experience the ebb and flow of normal daily life. It is unfeasible to expect perfection of any culture and the institution which it sustains. At a School For Tomorrow, we believe it is healthier instead to consider the organisational maturity of a school on its learning journey towards becoming a great 21C school, a school for character.

CIRCLE Global Educational Research Program Finding*

Part of this organisational maturity and the advocacy for the other that is inherent within it, comes with the transfer of agency from the top of a school community to those within the network of relationships and systems. In particular, if the system of teacher professional development is key to the capacity of a school to improve student outcomes, then the learning from this key system must also be put into practice by teachers who have the confidence and capacity to take the big step forward and up:

The act of leadership, when you're really looking to build teacher agency and thinking about learning is hard; because you have to let go and say to people, 'I trust you to do this as long as the drivers are right.’

Nathan Chisholm | Game Changers insight**

Locating Advocacy In School Systems and Operations

Systems and operations which are enriched with the advocacy of team creators bring people together into a community of inquiry and practice that seeks better outcomes for more learners. What does it look like to embed advocacy within school systems and operations?

Advocacy + Systems & Operations (1)  (1)

Leading School Systems and Operations Through Advocacy

Adriano and I describe the foundations of leadership as team creators that enriches school systems and operations through advocacy for the other like this in our book***:

As we look around the world and talk with students, teachers, leaders and school teams in our global a School for tomorrow. network, we can see that the very best schools are built on positive and collaborative relationships as well as the trust and confidence that emerge from them.

Ref: Game Changers: Leading Today's Learning for Tomorrow's World (Amba Press 2023) p.13

A checklist for the work of advocacy as a team leader building systems and operations might look like the following:

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A checklist for the work of advocacy as an organisational leader building systems and operations might look like the following:

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How do you rate your work as a leader who enriches school systems and operations with advocacy for the other?

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* You can learn more about leading a commu nity of inquiry and practice towards greater organisational maturity here:

** You can listen to Nathan Chisholm’s Game Changers Episode here:

*** You can purchase your copy of Game Changers: Leading Today’s Learning For Tomorrow’s World (now published by Amba Press) through Amazon here, Barnes and Noble here, and Booktopia here.

Dr Phil Cummins FRSA FACEL FIML is the Managing Partner of a School for tomorrow, Managing Director at CIRCLE – The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity & Leadership in Education, Associate Professor of Education & Enterprise at Alphacrucis University College, and co-host of the Game Changers podcast series.

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