Keynote speakers and “presenters” at conferences and other events can provide a sense of direction and sometimes even inspire change. On occasion they may stimulate breakthrough thinking or model an effective teaching strategy.
But they cannot do the hardest work of real change, what I call “the final 2%” — solve challenging problems within the unique context of the school, deepen understanding of new practices, teach skills, engage in dialogue to examine assumptions, and have difficult and even courageous conversations.
The final 2% is the day-to-day demanding work of principals and teacher leaders in shaping school culture, meeting by meeting and conversation by conversation.
Keynoters and presenters cannot do that work, although they may inform and motivate it. Everything else is up to the principals and teachers leaders who are closest to both the problems and to their solutions.
Question: What leadership actions have you observed in schools or district offices that truly engage the school community in solving complex problems, promote deep professional learning, and/or engage the community in crucial conversations?