Department Chairs Program (SF)
The role of the department chair is often one of the most complex in a school. The chair must negotiate the responsibilities of leadership within the department as a teaching colleague while at the same time work with the administrative team in addressing the larger issues of the entire school. The goal of the Department Chairs Program is to provide the opportunity for exploring the multilayered challenges of this unique position and to support its participants in becoming more effective and satisfied in their work.
With the help of readings, activities, and group work, participants will learn new skills and processes, support each other around challenges they face, and establish a strong “leadership learning community” amongst themselves. The program explores educational leadership and what it means to lead as a teacher while advancing the professional and departmental goals they have identified.
Some of the specific topics and issues we will explore are:
- Forging a common and compelling vision/direction amongst independent-minded colleagues;
- Meeting design and facilitation;
- Building professional community so that teachers can discuss their practice, learn together, and support one another’s growth – including the use of structured protocols to share our teaching practice and student work;
- Leading and managing change over time.
Central questions we will explore are:
- How can I support the design and facilitation of key department work?
- How can I support my department to collaborate and develop as a professional learning community?
- How can I help the department contribute to the development of the school as a whole?
Four sessions: two full day (9:00-3:30) and two half day (9:00-12:30).
This a team-based program: much work happens in school-based teams. Schools are encouraged to send their whole department chair team if possible.
The program includes a school leadership consultation strand. A key part of truly effective department chair leadership is support from school leadership. This includes how department chair roles are structured, messaged and supported – as well as how department chairs are involved in school-wide leadership and change management. Accordingly, the Department Chairs program includes a strand of support for school leadership (e.g. Head, Academic Dean). This includes:
- A pre-program meeting/call where leaders can share school context, instructional directions, and hopes for department chair capacity-building in service of the above.
- A mid-program call with a school leader to check in on progress.
- A post-program meeting with department chairs and school leadership, facilitated by Tom, to share department chair learning and how this might inform a) support of the department chair role going forward, and b) department chair contribution to school change efforts.
The Department Chair program also supports elementary school leaders (either in administrative or teacher leader roles) who support teachers.
To take full advantage of this program’s new component, we strongly encourage teams to attend.