Describing teacher-run schools in a Teacher Magazine interview

This blog post originally appeared on the Education Innovating blog run by Education Evolving from 2010 to 2011. It has now been merged into our main blog.

Teacher-run schools continue to appear in the news, such as a recent article by the Associated Press.

In this article by EdWeek’s Teacher Magazine EE partners Ted Kolderie and Joe Graba describe characteristics that begin to emerge in schools that are run by teachers.

They discuss the structure of management, whether or not there is a main office, and the title—‘advisor’—that is given to teachers.

They describe the way the role of teacher tends to change, when they move toward project-based learning:

“When you’re an advisor and you’ve offloaded much of the responsibility for learning onto the students, you can multitask—you can answer phone calls, you can talk to somebody else who has a question they want you to answer.”

And, how the relationship to central management must evolve if such schools are to work inside districts:

The districts have to switch how they oversee these schools. Almost every school in the country is run through process control—the central office tells schools what the processes are that they need to follow.
Going to site-governed requires [the district to] go over to performance management [as opposed to control]. You build into the performance measures the outcomes you expect a school to provide. And you say to the school, "We’re not going to tell you how to get there, we’re just going to agree on what the outcomes are going to be. You figure out how to get there."

Check out the full article on the Education Week website.

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