Creating a Vision of Success
The case “who should create the school’s vision” establishes an understanding of school policing as the sole responsibility of the school principal, teaching staff, and the community at large (Theodore, 2011). As the new principal of Light-Ville Junior-Senior School, Susan Potter is charged with three key responsibilities: making final staff decisions, organizing the school’s programs, and completing the school’s schedule or make it more inclusive. Susan Potter is driven by the desires to make the Light-Ville School grow despite the challenges the previous principal was facing (Theodore, 2011). Susan potter decides to use teaming in areas of decision making and block scheduling, but realizes that the school does not have an actual instructional planning. Her first task, therefore, is to create a visioning committee comprising of four teachers and four parents to facilitated planning and decision-making.
In her first meeting with the visioning and planning committee, Susan Potter outlines what she believes in (philosophy) and important objectives regarding the responsibilities of the committee. Among the many responsibilities, the committee under its chair Helen Burke was charged with the first task of developing a vision statement (Theodore, 2011). The vision statement would later provide specific directions for the various planning stages so that the decisions would be within their right context. As far as the case is concerned, there is conflict about who should create the vision statement. While Susan is opposed to the idea of suggesting a vision statement, which the committee would discuss to improve on, majority of the committee members including Helen (the committee chairperson) feel that Susan stood a better chance to suggest a vision statement based on her philosophy for the middle school (Theodore, 2011). The unanimous support given to Helen’s initial idea leaves Susan dissatisfied since she feels that the entire committee should discuss and give different suggestions for the vision statement. In her view, Susan feels that a strong vision statement is that which incorporates the views and desires of the overall community rather than the views of an individual.
Provide your justification for the actions you have taken and what you believe you could have been done differently in promoting a school vision?
A school vision statement should reflect the views and interests of the wider community. Teaming and strategic planning as far as school functions are concerned are important techniques in decision-making and instructional development. A visionary leaders should always give others an opportunity to present their views for the purposes of policing and therefore (Hodgson, Chuck, European Council of International Schools & Council of International Schools, 2003). The action taken by Susan is justified because it could provide appropriate measure towards eliminating biasness in decision-making. As a new principal to the school, Susan needed to give her leaderships a participatory approach so that the different opinions of committee members could be used to learn the behaviours and true feelings of the entire community, faculty and the school culture. As a matter of fact, Susan could only learn more about the school, community, people and their practices based on how the individuals related in the school meetings and functions. Rationality can only be measured by the individuals’ ability to reach a consensus, especially, for a discussion that brings various views together; and this was probably what Susan Potter wanted test.
As the new principal, is it an advantage or disadvantage to adhere to the suggestions of the committee regarding the procedures? Why or why not?
It is true that school leaders face challenges when it comes to decision-making, and the level of opposition rises depending on the interest of the committee and the community. As a new leader, adhering to the suggestions made by the committee about the procedures could be advantageous and disadvantageous in equal measures. From the perspectives of teamwork, adhering to the suggestions of the committee could be advantageous based on the possibility of gaining control over the vision statement (Sara, 2005). Every leader would be willing to work according to his or her own philosophies and therefore, the information generated by the leader could be used for quality management and control. The suggestions made by the school committee also reflects the kind of believe the community and the school have on the Susan and as benchmark for personal performance, the new principle can use the opportunity to convince the committee about her philosophy and desires to move the school to the next level (Sara, 2005). The principal stands a chance of influencing the entire committee through accurate decisions to engage in collaborate responsibility and to ensure that activity is performed at the right time and according to the outlined objectives. In other words, the suggestion to incorporate the new principal’s philosophy in the vision statement is an important approach towards recognizing and familiarizing with the school culture as mentioned by Helen.
On the contrary, adhering to the suggestions made by the school committee about the procedures to be followed in the creating of the school vision could be disadvantageous especially if the intention of the committee is to bring the new principal down. Relying on personal philosophy as the foundation for the vision statement is known to limit the opinions of other member of the committee (Sara, 2005). The main idea behind the formation of the committee is to ensure that any new policy is discussed and evaluated before final implementation. By presenting a vision statement, which the committee would finally adopt, the new principal would only implementing her ideas and not the ideas the committee. Any failure from such ideas can be used to pin down her leadership and approach to decision-making. By accepting the suggestions made by the committee, the new principal would miss the opportunity to interact and study the committee members based on their views and contribution during meetings.
How would you approach the committee’s suggestions?
The committee’s suggestions about the procedures to be follow in the creation a vision statement can be approached from the participant’s side of argument. In this line of thinking, the new principle should explain to the members of the committee that she is just a participant like them and therefore her opinions may not be the best for visioning (Sara, 2005). Since the committee is eager to hear the principal’s opinion, it would be better to make a contribution like any other member of the committee, but in a way that will trigger discussions among members of the committee. Through the discussions, the committee members will have their direction, which may exclude the suggestions made by the principal.
Would you intervene between Helen and Susan? Why or why not?
I would intervene between Helen and Susan because their opinions and arguments are important as far as visioning and instructional development is concerned. While Helen is thinking from the perspective of a leader who is able to command and give directions, Susan’s argument is more of a leader who create space for every person’s view to be heard and incorporated (Sara, 2005). It is also true that even though the two parties have different opinions concerning the procedures of creating the school’s vision, they have one thing in common; producing the best vision statement within the time available. The objective of producing the best vision for the school can only be met if the two parties are able to work together as a team.
Using a conflict resolution approach, how would you approach the situation?
From the case scenario, there were limited chances that the two individuals would reach a consensus about the procedures to be followed in the development of the school vision. Laying the issue before the school committee was the best option because the individuals would have acted in a way to either please the new principle or reduce the amount of time that they would have spent developing a vision (Sanchez, 2003). Mediation would have been the best approach since in addition to allowing the two parties to reach a consensus, it offers a platform for rational decisions. For example, the situation as presented in the case does not require an individual’s decision, but rather collective opinions facilitated by questions and discussions.
Barnett, B. G., Shoho, A. R. & Bowers, A. J. (2013). School and district leadership in an era of accountability. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Press.
Hodgson, A., Chuck, M., European Council of International Schools & Council of International Schools. (2003). Strategic planning for international schools. Saxmundham, Suffolk: Peridot.
Sanchez, A. P. (2003). The relationship between the superintendent’s perceptions of the utilization of technology to increase student achievement and actual district student achievement. Kingsville: Texas A&M University. Press.
Sara, D. A. (2005). “Superintendent Evaluation and other influences on the school board and superintendent relationship: Measuring strength of relationship.” Michigan: Eastern Michigan University. Press.
Theodore, K. J. (2011). Case Studies on Educational Administration. Let the Committee Decide. Boston: Pearson. Press. http://blupapers.com/download/3417/