The Top 3 Foundational Components of an Effective School
What are the foundational components of an effective school? I am sure educators could come up with dozens of very important examples ranging from vision and mission, to extracurricular opportunities, to staff morale. However, as I start to prioritize that long list, for now, I am settling on these as my top 3:
- The Principal is visible and present during unstructured time. In the morning, the principal is greeting parents and students near the front entrance. At breaks and lunch they are out and about mingling with students and staff. During dismissal, they are once again at or near the front of the school – saying farewell to students and connecting with parents.
- The Secretary is pleasant and welcoming. Quite often the secretary is the first person that anyone sees as they enter the school or talks to when they contact the school. A secretary who is friendly and welcoming sets an important tone for the entire school.
- Teachers provide Students opportunity to experience at least one thoughtfully planned lesson per day (ideally more). What I mean here is a lesson that really engages the students in a deep and transformational fashion. Ideally this lesson follows a version of a “Connect, Process, Transform, Reflect” lesson design. This lesson can take place in any of the curricular areas and it needs to connect to the students in an authentic way.
Where these foundational pieces are in place, I believe you are likely to find a highly effective school.
What are your top priorities? Am I over generalizing? I look forward to your thoughts.