Lessons from the Innovators
The following eight Discussion Starters are designed for teacher teams who are working through creating or improving a teacher-powered school. Offering lessons learned and tips from the innovators of existing teacher-powered schools, these starters are interactive resources featuring sets of discussion questions for teacher teams to take up as a group.
We suggest you work through the guides in the order they are presented below. We have also integrated them into the Steps to Creating a Teacher-Powered School Guide, at the stages and steps when they will be most useful to teams. Together, the Steps Guide and the Discussion Starters help teacher teams discover the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and processes they will need in order to successfully design and run their teacher-powered schools.
Use this discussion starter to explore how to define a team’s shared purpose, ensure team cohesion around the purpose, and evolve the purpose as the school matures.
Securing and Sustaining Autonomy
Use this discussion starter to explore about securing and sustaining autonomy, including existing autonomy arrangements teams could propose, which areas of autonomy are “musts,” navigating politics, and resisting the pull to concede established autonomy.
Use this discussion starter to explore how to cultivate efficient, democratic decision-making practices as well as how teams delegate authority to leaders among leaders.
Use this discussion starter to explore how to collegially manage the teaching and learning program in a school and resist the pressure to conform to traditional school structures and instructional practices
Use this discussion starter to explore how to define and measure success and then readjust for greater success.
Selection and Hiring
Use this discussion starter to explore how to design a process for selecting and deselecting colleagues, including leaders.
Use this discussion starter to explore how to clarify responsibilities of new team members and provide mentorship and support to new personnel.
Use this discussion starter to explore how to design an evaluation process that considers teachers’ instructional practice as well as their other abilities. It also includes tips for training teachers to conduct evaluations.