The rigid structures of hierarchy throughout education are beginning to relax as more schools see school leadership less as a managerial task and more as a community-building approach. Increasingly, principals are guide school-wide collaboration, considering community-wide data focused on improving learning and teaching for all students.
Teacher leaders facilitate connections between their peers in order to promote more effective curricula and teaching methods. The roles of student leadership is transforming, too. (Kaba, 2000; Joselowsky, 2007; Brasof, 2011 & 2015)
Goals of School Leadership
Working together across different perspectives, attitudes, cultures, beliefs, ideologies and outcomes, school leaders on all levels strive to do several things, including support the culture of schools, ensure school safety, plan with data, align curriculum, improve instruction, manage resources, engage communities, and closing the achievement gap among students. (Kipp, Quinn, Lancaster, et al, 2014)
School leadership can also work on an informal level by building conscious and unconscious efforts to grow, change, transform and reflect on schools and the education system. As partners in school leadership, students can be meaningfully involved throughout the process.
Creating Real and Appropriate Opportunities for Students
Rather than just placing students into traditional student leadership roles, Student/Adult Partnerships recognize roles for students as key stakeholders throughout the education system. Acknowledging the increased ownership and ability they have through technology and other tools, Meaningful Student Involvement provides schools with opportunities to engage students in substantive ways that promote real leadership for them as individuals, and as student bodies.
Long Lasting Example
Participants in the Washington Association of Student Leaders (WASL) have been partnering with adult school leaders, including principals and superintendents, for more than 50 years. The Washington State Legislature mandated in 1951 that students be in control of specific funds to promote student leadership in schools in schools across the state. WASL has provided training and programs for schools to use this funding effectively for more than 20 years. The impact of their activities has led to inclusion in a new process devised to improve school leadership across the state, and more. (Kipp, Quinn, Lancaster, & et al, 2014; Fortin, 2014)
Students should understand different levels of leadership throughout the education system. Whether they are examining the role of the federal, state, or local government, or the roles of advocates and education boosters, students have been the absent partners throughout the entirety of the education reform movement. With a grasp on classroom management, school climate, school boards and more, students can truly become meaningfully involved.
- Parts of the Education System
- Understanding Schools
- Meaningful Student Involvement Toolbox
- Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook