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Working to Transform Schools
A Call for
Who We Are and How We Work Together
The AASA Collaborative for Innovation and Transformational Leadership is a small, national network of like-minded educational leaders
established by AASA, the lead professional superintendents' organization in the
United States. Members of the Collaborative learn together, support one another, take action in districts,
document communities of practice, and advocate for legislation
and policies that transform school systems. The Collaborative challenges what
might be outdated traditions and practices.
Our methods are based on the
concepts of "critical friends" and systems thinking, with a commitment to
continuous improvement and external review. We are prepared to be constructively
direct and honest with our critique because we are friends of one another's
“I had found it to be an exciting opportunity to work with
colleagues around critical topics and issues that we’re all faced with in our
work.” - Stacy Scott, superintendent, Framingham (Mass.) Public Schools
The Collaborative really provides that professional learning
network for me as a superintendent because I’m speaking (through the
Collaborative) with superintendents from around the nation. I feel like I have
colleagues on call.” - Jill Gildea, superintendent, Fremont (Ill.) School
AASA Welcomes Superintendents to Become Members of the Collaborative Who Commit To:
What It Means To Make a Commitment to the Collaborative
- Attend at least two face-to-face meetings
- Conferences (we will also work on an edcamp approach)
- Participate in either a study group or a consultation (virtual with possible
face-to-face at conferences)
- As a team member to consult
- To offer a consultancy for school districts
- To name a topic for study and to facilitate
- To join a topic for study and to participate
- Reflect/write about actions either for the purpose of blogs, social media
and/or the beginning of a case study to be published in:
- AASA website
- School Administrator
- Other publications using AASA as leverage for getting the attention of
publishers and editors
- Offering support and editorial feedback from AASA appointed members with
possible sources such as:
- Twitter chats
- Todays meet
- Eduplanet21 discussions
Recognition For Participation in the Collaborative
Members of the
Collaborative receive a plaque recognizing participation in the work of
transforming schools. In addition, AASA publicizes the work in its national
The recognition plaque will signify actions and results
in transforming schools:
- The superintendent as a thought leader.
- The superintendent's focus and courage to be bold, effective and
responsible as a district leader.
Program Plans for 2016-17
All programs are tied to the following essential questions:
- In what ways am I interested in transforming my district, and why?
- In what ways do these ideas or programs change, modify or enhance my
efforts to transform my district?
- In what ways will this work necessitate transforming my work as
superintendent? What about the rest of my leadership team?
- How might my desire to take action on these ideas leverage my transformative
goals for my school district?
- In what ways do these ideas or programs change, modify, or enhance my
efforts to transform my school district?
- What might my school district look like if I'm successful?
- Collaborative conferences
- Under consideration:
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C. (personalization)
- South Fayette, PA (makers movement)
These groups are topic centered and still maintain a focus
on our essential questions.
- Assessment and Accountability: Challenging the System (facilitated by Jill
Gildea, superintendent in Illinois with video from Chris Tienken, from Seton
Hall). The focus will be on why we need alternatives to our present system and
what some of our districts are doing to use performance assessments as a tool
for entering the transformational change process.
- Design Thinking and Innovation (facilitated by Jill Gildea with interviews
and participation from thought leaders in the field) The focus will be on the
work that is being done by some of our districts to leverage design thinking as
a way to transform the use of time, space, personnel, and grouping structures.
- External peer review as another more comprehensive lens through which to
look at school district quality. In light of the White House's announcement
about backing off testing a bit, districts are going to be looking at other
accountability processes, and external review. This study group will be
facilitated by Marty Brooks, executive director of the Tri State Consortium.
- Policy Study in which the group will focus on how to effectively influence
policy makers including interviews with legislators and other White House
Topics to be determined by Collaborative members. We are
seeking small teams of Collaborative members to work together virtually, with
the possibility of some on site visits.
We encourage you to join this
small group of superintendents who, collaboratively, intend to make a dent in