Easy ways to Build Leadership at the Campus Level

by Donna Kearley
Summer is flying by and many of us are beginning to think how to begin the new year from a position of strength. Donna Kearley to the rescue with Part 3 of her thoughts on advocacy. In Part 2, she discussed using Social Media to build leadership skills through your PLN.  This week, in the last of this series, she discusses ways to build your leadership with your administrators and district level administrators. 
Try something new on your campus:
     Give teachers a written statement of your objective for the day’s lesson and what TEKS were covered.  Make sure to place a copy in the principal’s box. 
     Post your objective, in student friendly language, somewhere in the classroom section of the library.  Ideally, you want the objective to be visible throughout the lesson such as on a chart or sign rather than a PowerPoint slide.  Remember, slides may not be visible when an administrator walks through – and the poster reminds students what they’ve been learning, even suggests to other students what might be a useful approach. Build the display over the year - what a great bulletin board! Maximize your teaching! 
     Submit a list of objectives taught that week to your administrator.
       Back those up with lesson plans especially if you aren’t required to.  This shows the principal you are a teacher and behave like a teacher.
     Make sure you assess student learning.  Teachers assess and reteach as needed; we need to model the same professional behavior and level of exemplary teaching. 
       Have students assess their proficiency with the skill being taught. Then combine your professional assessment of their proficiency and share both with the teacher. Work with the teacher to reteach if necessary.  
       I ask students to share a Stair (something to strive for) and a Star (something they do really well). (*Chappius) This doesn’t mean a formal test.  It can be simple tools such as an exit ticket or using a Web 2.0 tool such as Socrativ or Kahoot to determine what students learned. 
       Not sure how to start?  Try the free TRAILS  assessment to determine what students know.  You can pre- and post-test student progress.
     Market your program to all stakeholders: not just teachers, but students, parents, and  administrators.
       Talk about the skills you bring to the table such as the stages of the research process, digital citizenship, website evaluation, reading genres.  Matching the right book or skill to the right student at the right time is just one strategy we use so make sure we share multiple ways students benefit from librarians.  
     Use several methods to deliver your message including social media, newsletters, your website elevator speeches AND EVEN library displays around campus.
     Lead workshops on campus, in departments, grade level meetings or PLC’s.  Once you begin your reputation will precede you.  One year, my principal said to me, “What are you presenting this year at campus staff development?”  Um, I’ll get right on that. And I did.
     When someone asks you to do something, find a way to say yes.  If it is something you absolutely can’t do such as a violation of copyright, find an alternative solution.  But make sure they leave with a solution.  If a sub has no lesson plans, they don’t care that showing a movie is a violation of copyright.  They just need something for the class to do.  A digital citizenship or website evaluation lesson would be fine. 
     Ask for time at each faculty meeting.  You probably won’t get time each week but you’ll get some.  If they only give you a couple of minutes, teach one tip to make their lives easier.  Examples:  Techno Tuesday; Build background before a biography research unit by showing a short video clip asking what makes someone great? (Show the first two minutes of “On Getting Up Again”). This sets the tone for the entire research project.  Explain that now instead of copy and paste answers you have activated the thinking of students about what makes someone great.
     Use Social Media or even email to reach teachers.  One librarian in my district said she started a library Facebook page and she is amazed how many parents are reading it.  She said it has generated more positive feedback for her program than anything else she has ever done. 
Throughout the three articles on leadership we have tried to offer ideas you can implement to enhance or build your district’s knowledge of your leadership skills. Look back at the previous posts for the ideas you may have forgotten over the summer; with a rested brain, you might see how to adapt a few to your particular situation. Not all of these activities will work for every campus, but hopefully everyone can pick up one (or a few) new idea(s) to implement.  

While we might be uncomfortable “tooting our own horn,” we can and should proclaim loudly the skills and processes librarians bring to our students.   Our students need us to be the town criers helping them with the digital skills and processes needed to be successful digital citizens.

Now that we have “talked”, please share what you are doing to build your leadership skills so we can highlight them in a future TASL Talks.  Sharing ideas of what works helps all of us become better leaders.

*Chappius, Jan. Seven Steps to Assessment for Learning.  Pearson Corporation. c2009.