IU's Kelley School of Business and School of Education join forces for Effective Leaders Academy
Thursday, February 7, 2013Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and School of Education are teaming up to assist three Indiana schools that are seeking to improve academic performance through long-term action plans.
The pilot cohort for the first Effective Leaders Academy met for the first time Jan. 27 to 30 to begin a program that will provide teams from Indiana K-12 schools with best practices from both business and education to enable change in their programs.
The academy includes three sessions on the IU Bloomington campus, concluding with a formal presentation of action plans April 16, then ongoing meetings and support from IU faculty and staff to help the schools execute the plans.
"They'll complete an action plan very specific to how they can raise their school to a high-performing school," said Gary Crow, professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the School of Education.
The costs for school participation are covered through a grant from the IU Bloomington Provost.
"This is a great example of how an Indiana University partnership can work to produce dividends for all Hoosiers," said Idalene Kesner, interim dean of the Kelley School of Business and Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. "Our faculty will share some of the best business practices for leading organizations and implementing organizational change, which are more common in business circles. We think this is an ideal way to help school improvement projects succeed through strategic management."
"Federal and state leaders have often called upon educators to broaden the scope of their practices to ensure success in implementing school change," said Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the IU School of Education. "The School of Education and the Kelley School have taken the proactive step of coming together to find the best ways to do so. We're doing more than simply presenting these ideas; we're working in partnership with the schools and their supporters to carry out their plans."
Last week, teams from South Central Elementary School in Elizabeth, Harrison Hill Elementary School of Lawrence Township in Indianapolis and Fairview Elementary School in Bloomington took part as the pilot cohort. In the fall, a full cohort of 10 teams will participate. The teams include a teacher, the school principal, a community member and a district office representative.
"The team will lead the rest of the school in this," Crow said. "We felt like it can't just be the principal. It has to be leadership within the school and the community, so that's why there's a teacher, community person and district office person."
Kelley School faculty presented several sessions focused on business topics such as leadership effectiveness, strategic management, strategic thinking, project management and change execution.
"I think we have a lot to offer," said Tim Baldwin, Eveleigh Professor of Business Leadership at the Kelley School, who focuses particularly on organizational change. "I think it's sometimes inaccessible to the education community because a lot of the organizations we work with are often better-funded. This is an opportunity to access some of the training and education the people in schools would otherwise not be able to get."
Baldwin said that while there are a few key differences to bear in mind between the business world and education such as teacher contracts, both business and education are struggling in an age of resource constraints, escalating demands and technology development.
"I think educators may have a preconception and say, 'But we don't have the money and resources these business people do.' I think they're surprised to hear that the business people tell us they're struggling with some of the same things," Baldwin added.
On Sunday, Feb. 10, the teams return to campus for four days working with School of Education faculty on literacy, math and community engagement concepts. The teams will develop their action plans with coaching from the Kelley School and School of Education faculty.
"Then in April they come back for a two-day session where they refine those plans, present them to their superintendents and put the final touches on them," Crow said. After this step, the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration at the IU School of Education continues to pair coaches with the schools and identify IU resources that can help in successfully carrying out the plan. "These will be continuing wrap-around services that include coaching, virtual support groups and other services," he said.
The goal of the Effective Leaders Academy is to move all participating schools into the high-performing category permanently. Crow said the Kelley School and School of Education partnership allows for continued support that short-term strategies with "quick fix" programs can't produce.
"We're after sustainable change," he said. "It's something that is going to make a difference for the long haul."