mod 2 discussion 2


As you review the contributions of your colleagues representing members of Mayor Keller’s task force in Module 2 Discussion 1, reflect on their perspectives and relevant data. Through this process, you will learn about the concerns of task force team members who have expertise in other educational specializations.

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Discussion 2: Building a Collaborative Team

Collaboration leverages diverse perspectives and skills and can promote creativity and productivity.
(Morel, 2014, p. 36)

As you review the contributions of your colleagues representing members of Mayor Keller’s task force in Module 2 Discussion 1, reflect on their perspectives and relevant data. Through this process, you will learn about the concerns of task force team members who have expertise in other educational specializations.

An essential element of change is collaboration among those working to initiate and implement that change. Taking in varying perspectives contributes to a fuller understanding of the issues facing Grand City and helps to address them more effectively. How might you build a collaborative team to promote creativity and productivity in the changes you are suggesting for your specialization and Grand City?

For this Discussion, you will develop a hypothetical, cross-specialization team to support you in initiating the changes you outlined in your action plan for this module’s Discussion 1.

To prepare:

· Read the Morel (2014) article on collaboration and review Chenoweth’s (2015) thoughts on collaboration and change. Consider the benefits of collaboration in an educator’s professional life. Reflect on the individuals you currently collaborate with inside and outside of your professional field. What specific strategies work well to keep this collaboration positive and forward moving?

· In the City Hall location in Grand City, revisit the task force’s opening meeting where individual members discuss their goals for change in Grand City.

· Read Chapter 3 in the Fullan (2016) text, and review the action plan you outlined for Module 2 Discussion 1. If you were a member of the task force representing your specialization area, and based on the factors that affect initiation in the resources, who would you select as a member of a cross-specialization team to initiate and implement your plans for change?

Note: The members of your hypothetical team may be represented by individuals already on the Grand City task force and/or representatives from a different specialization area in your own district or locale.

· Research evidence-based strategies for working collaboratively with colleagues when enacting change and for establishing buy-in from other professionals during the change process.

· Read the Marsh & Farrell (2015) and Sterett & Irizarry (2015) articles regarding data-driven decision making. Consider how you might work collaboratively with the members of your cross-specialization team to use the data to guide decisions to address the issues outlined in your action plan.


Fullan, M. (2016).
The new meaning of educational change (5th ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

· Chapter 3, “Insights into the Change Process” (pp. 39–53)

· Chapter 4, “Initiation, Implementation, and Continuation” (pp. 54–81)


68 Educational Leadership / Summer 2022

Teaching through the pandemic has been traumatic.
Schools must now prioritize organizational


Mona M. Johnson

For more than two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken education leaders,
teachers, and school systems on a professional roller coaster ride. With very
little notice, educators across the United States had to shutter school doors,
move into isolation and quarantine, establish universal approaches to virtual
learning, and devise innovative ways students could continue to access meals

the school usually provides. They’ve had to learn and implement unparalleled public

Is Not Enough!


ASCD / 69

health mitigation strategies, and continuously
reinvent day-to-day operational practices. Many
districts closed and reopened classrooms several
times and erected hybrid learning structures
in the interest of reducing student and staff
exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

During these years, K–12 educators worked
tirelessly and were challenged in countless
ways while living the frontline experience of
responding to the global pandemic. Each has
felt—and may continue to feel—wounded and
weary. And leaders and teachers ran this gamut
while navigating changing circumstances in their
personal lives, too, which were often  difficult.

Trauma—For Individuals and Systems
The reality is the pandemic affected many school
leaders, teachers, and other professionals within
the K–12 landscape in ways that can be considered
traumatic. Trauma is defined as, “an event,
series of events, or set of circumstances that is
experienced by an individual as physically or
emotionally harmful or life-threatening and that
has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s
functioning and mental, physical, social, emo-
tional, or spiritual well-being” (Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration,
2022). By this definition, coping with this global
pandemic has been traumatic for many people,
most certainly including educators. And just
like individuals, organizational systems can be
affected by prolonged harmful or threatening
circumstances—and the experience of COVID-19
has been traumatic to schools and districts
throughout our country (and across the world).
Two-and-a-half years in, the effects of this
pandemic are taking a heavy toll on educators
and on the schools they work in.

The prolonged stress of constant pandemic-
driven changes in school systems has manifested
for educators in three ways: burnout, moral
injury, and compassion fatigue.

Burnout is “chronic workplace stress that has
not been successfully managed” (World Health
Organization, n.d.). Burnout is often revealed

in comments and conversations in school
hallways, lunchrooms, and staff meetings in
which educators articulate their experiences of
energy depletion, feelings of emotional distance,
pervasive negative or cynical thoughts, and fears
of diminished effectiveness.

Emotions of moral injury are “strong feelings
of guilt, shame, and anger about the frustration
that comes from not being able to give the kind
of care or service an employee wants and expects
to provide” (Washington State Department of
Health, 2020). Teachers have conveyed such
feelings about enforcing isolation and social dis-
tancing on students as virtual learning shuttered
schools and curtailed face-to-face engagement.
Students lost out, and educators lost the direct
engagement that is the cornerstone of effective
instructional practice and, for many teachers,
a source of great satisfaction. Educators at all
levels felt helpless, too, when unable to comfort
students who experienced pandemic-related
family illness, trauma, and loss.

Compassion fatigue is the “natural conse-
quent behaviors and emotions resulting from
knowledge of a traumatizing event experienced
by another and from wanting to help a suffering
or traumatized person” (Beaton & Murphy, 1995).
It’s a weariness that comes from caring so much
for someone who is suffering. Especially as it
relates to the pandemic experience, compassion
fatigue can manifest itself among K–12 educators
as a sense of overwhelm, severe exhaustion, sleep
disturbances, emotional dysregulation, boundary
mismanagement, and physical and mental health-
related concerns.

Toward Post-Traumatic Growth
Realizing that this pandemic has taken a toll on
K–12 systems and educators, school leaders must
take time now to reframe their perspectives
and begin to move forward in the spirit of post-
traumatic growth. Leaders need to acknowledge
the wounding impacts of the pandemic while
simultaneously finding and embracing any useful
changes that could come from going through

70 Educational Leadership / Summer 2022

pandemic-related challenges. Now is the time to
reflect on our experiences and make constructive
adjustments, individually and systemically.

In this sense, school leaders have an oppor-
tunity, right now, to draw from educators’ recent
experiences to strengthen the effectiveness of K–12
organizational practices in ways we may never
have imagined before the pandemic. As the pan-
demic starts to wane, we need to move away from
believing that individual efforts toward wellness
will be sufficient, that educator self-care practices,
in and of themselves, can propel schools forward
and out of this crisis of well-being. Individual self-
care, albeit essential, isn’t enough on its own. It’s

simply impossible for educators, as individuals,
to self-care their way through the individual
and systemic impacts of burnout, moral injury,
and compassion fatigue. Education leaders must
reaffirm their commitment to whole-organization
wellness and shift their focus toward embedding
well-being strategies within their organization to
systemically support educators’ well-being.

Organizational wellness implies that employees
perceive that the relationships, policies, and social
norms across their workplace support optimal
wellness for everyone (Reynolds & Bennett, 2019).
When individuals in an organization experience a
commitment to systemic wellness, the operations,

School leaders
must begin to move

forward in the
spirit of post-

traumatic growth.


ASCD / 71

strategies, and culture of the organization fit
together, make sense, and (most important) are
healthy. There is minimal “politics” and confusion
and high morale and productivity—and there is
lower turnover (Lencioni, 2012).

As the director of a districtwide wellness and
student support program, over the past few years
I’ve seen a tremendous need for K–12 schools to
implement more systemic well-being strategies.
Today the need for institutional shifts is more
evident than ever—and must begin as soon as pos-
sible to ease the pandemic-related impacts on K–12
districts and school cultures. Here are four places
to start—three true shifts in practice schools
should make and one area to invest in wisely:

n Start or rekindle an organizational
sense of belonging for everyone in
the school.

n Strengthen social-emotional
competence in adult professionals.

n Promote an active under-
standing and practice of workplace
self-regulation strategies.

n Invest in workplace well-being

Until we make these institutional shifts to
develop and reinforce whole educator well-
being, our school systems can’t move forward
in  constructive and healthy ways.

Toward Organizational Wellness
Creating a Sense of Belonging for All
Strengthening a sense of organizational
belonging, the collective experience of fitting in,
is the first institutional shift necessary to foster a
wellness transformation in the workplace. Shawn
Ginwright, professor at San Francisco University
and author of The Four Pivots, has described
belonging as “a mutual exchange of care, com-
passion, and courage that binds people together
in a way that says you matter” (2022, p. 94). A
sense of belonging in relationships and workplace
communities is essential to both individual and
systemwide well-being (Brown, 2021).

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, during
the most active phases of the virus, the public

health strategies of isolation, social distancing,
and masking posed a significant, if unintended,
barrier to belonging. The individual connections
educators had had with one another and with their
students were blocked. When social closeness
is barred, and we’re cut off from the power of
human connections, systemic fractures and divi-
sions begin to tear away at workplace belonging.
This shows itself in the workplace as extreme
impatience, overt irritability, emotional blunting,
blaming, inadequate communication with one
another, and even hostile behavior.

Institutional strategies that can rekindle a sense
of belonging include:

n Doubling down on relationship-based
leadership, which looks like giving indi-

viduals or groups undivided attention
when meeting; intentionally asking
colleagues/staff “how are you doing”
and making time to listen closely to
and offer real support specific to their

response; and approaching staff behavior
challenges with an empathetic perspective

before reacting.
n Revisiting—as a whole school or in small

groups—your school’s mission statement and any
statements of key behaviors and expectations for
the school community.

n Doing strategic team-building with key
leadership groups (such as department heads or
the administrative team) through activities like
reviewing strengths and weakness of existing day-
to-day operational processes; engaging in data-
driven goal and objective setting; and ongoing,
applicable action planning. Team building
strengthens relationships and trust and increases
a sense of belonging.

Phyliss Fagell (2021) has said that since we’ve no
manual for helping children thrive in the wake
of a pandemic, “We can start by ensuring that
everyone feels seen, nurtured, and valued.” There
is no manual for helping adults during these dif-
ficult times, either. But schools can start by pri-
oritizing belonging, so all educators and staff feel
seen, heard, and valued. We need to agree again to
cooperate with one another, rebuild meaningful

connections, and make meaning
together in the shared purpose and
pursuit of K–12 education.

Strengthening Social-Emotional
Social-emotional competence is
the process by which individuals
apply knowledge, attitudes, and
skills to understand and manage
emotions, set goals, feel and show
empathy for others, maintain
positive relationships, and make
responsible decisions (CASEL, 2022a).
Key elements of adult professional
social-emotional competence are
the ability to practice self-awareness
and self-management, make respon-
sible decisions, maintain and grow
relationships, and practice social
awareness (CASEL, 2022b).

The first step in practicing social-
emotional competence in the work-
place is having self-awareness, the
ability to understand your emotions
and thoughts and their influence
on your behavior. At the core of
self-awareness is the ability to suc-
cessfully navigate emotions. Most of
us think of work as being driven by
skill sets, information, brainpower,
experience, achievement, and accom-
plishment. However, emotions are
the most powerful force inside the
workplace, influencing everything
from leadership effectiveness to
innovation to customer relations.
(Brackett, 2019). As we move forward
in the post-pandemic journey, system-
wide professional development
focused on reinforcement of adult
social-emotional practices, espe-
cially professional self-awareness
and skillful emotion identification,
is  paramount.

Developing Self-Regulation
Awareness, acknowledgment, and
practice of self-regulation strategies
in the workplace is the third shift
necessary to usher K–12 organizations
forward in the pursuit of organiza-
tional wellness—and it’s a crucial
one. Bruce Perry, an author, teacher,
clinician, and researcher in children’s
mental health and neuroscience,
confirmed this insight, stating, “The
single most helpful thing educational
systems can do is to embed organi-
zational care strategies into their
systems, so educators are regulated”
(Perry, 2022).

Dr. Perry is right. Since the
beginning of the pandemic, the
emotional brains (limbic systems) of
K–12 leaders have been functioning
on maximum alert, fight-or-flight,
and survival mode. We have had
to rapidly create and implement
countless new day-to-day operational
practices under great stress. No
wonder many educators still often feel
dysregulated—unable to adequately
manage overwhelming emotions they

experience at school, such as frus-
tration or sadness. A teacher who’s
dysregulated during the day might

have difficulty focusing and remem-
bering details of assigned tasks
or burst into tears in a collegial

The Neurosequential
Engagement Model of Therapeutics

(National Council for Adoption,
2022) integrates the principles of neu-
rodevelopment and traumatology.
This developmentally sensitive,
neurobiology-informed approach
holds that individuals cannot fully
relate to or reason with others in their
environments, including co-workers,
until they can identify their own
neurological dysregulation. Once
they recognize any dysregulation,
they can actively regulate themselves
and establish neurological control
from within.

Effective self-regulation practices
are relational, relevant, repetitive,
rewarding, rhythmic, and respectful
(National Council for Adoption, 2022).
Regulation strategies that work well
in K–12 workplaces include breathing
exercises; creative expression like
drawing or writing; rhythmic
movement, including singing and
dancing; mindfulness and meditative
breaks; reflective time-out prac-
tices; positive self-talk; and laughter.
Schools should familiarize adults
with these healthy coping strategies
and set up systematic ways they can
practice them when they begin to feel
dysregulated or flooded with tension
or emotion.

When educators become skilled
at self-regulating in the workplace,
they gain the ability to coregulate and
help others soothe and manage their

72 Educational Leadership / Summer 2022

Institutional shifts
that allow educators to

responsibly self-regulate
can transform school

cultures and contribute
to organizational


ASCD / 73

distress. Practicing self-regulation, and in turn
coregulation with students and colleagues, leads
to an increased sense of safety, calm, and support
during times of distress. Institutional shifts that
allow educators to responsibly self-regulate can
transform school cultures and contribute greatly
to overall organizational well-being.

Providing Practical Supports
In addition to the institutional shifts indicated
here, K–12 systems should invest in practical
workplace supports for whole-educator well-
being, including:

n Employee Assistance Programs to help
educators access mental health, financial, legal,
and other related services.

n Access to quiet, calming spaces in which
educators can practice mindfulness and remain
self-regulated, and a system through which they
can go to such a space briefly as needed.

n Expertly facilitated educator well-being
support groups to focus on professional
well-being and shared experiences and learn
professional and personal wellness skills.
Repurposing district budget allocations aimed
at supporting educator professional devel-
opment or partnering with community mental
health providers are two creative ways districts
can fund innovative educator well-being
support groups.

The Power of Leaders
As school systems make shifts like these that
support educator wellness, it’s important to
remember the power and responsibility edu-
cation leaders have to model healthy profes-
sional well-being. By transparently engaging in
practices to support their own physical, emo-
tional, social, occupational, and spiritual
wellness—and letting their vulnerability
show—leaders can set an example for others,
foster a culture of belonging, and contribute to
the positive sense of well-being urgently needed
in K–12 classrooms, schools, and districts

Beaton, R. D., & Murphy, S. A. (1995). Sensory-based

therapy for crisis counselors. In C. R. Figley
(Ed.) Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary
traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the
traumatized. Brunner Mazel Publishers.

Brackett, M., (2019). Permission to feel: The power of
emotional intelligence to achieve well-being and
success. Celadon Books.

Brown, B. (2021). Atlas of the heart: Mapping
meaningful connection and the language of human
experience. Random House.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional
Learning (CASEL). (2022a). Fundamentals of SEL.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional
Learning (CASEL). (2022b). What is the
CASEL framework?

Fagell, P. L. (2021). Fostering hope,
healing, and well-being. Educational
Leadership, 79(1), 50–55.

Ginwright, S. (2022). The four pivots:
Reimagining justice, reimagining
ourselves. North Atlantic Books.

Lencioni, P., (2012). The advantage: Why
organizational health trumps everything
else in the business. Jossey-Bass.

National Council for Adoption. (2022). Meeting
children where they are: The neurosequential
model of therapeutics.

Perry, B. (2022, February 21). Trauma, resiliency
and healing in educational environments.
[Virtual conference session]. Kansas Educational
Service Center.

Reynolds, G., & Bennett, J. (2019). A brief measure of
organizational wellness climate. Journal of Occupa-
tional Environmental Medicine, 61(12), 1052–1064.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration. (2022). Trauma and violence.

Washington State Department of Health. (2020).
Statewide high-level analysis of forecasted
behavioral health impacts from COVID-19.

World Health Organization. (n.d.). Burn-out an
“occupational phenomenon.” International
Classification of Diseases.

Mona M. Johnson is the executive director
of wellness and support in the South Kitsap
School District in Port Orchard, Washington. She
manages programs that ensure students and
staff are healthy, safe, engaged, and supported
in their pursuit of social-emotional wellness and
academic success.,physical%2C%20social%2C%20emotional%2C%20or,related%20to%20one’s%20job%3B%20and,related%20to%20one’s%20job%3B%20and

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Curriculum Development and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or
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may print, download, or email articles for individual use.


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    Setting the Stage for Collaboration: An Essential Skill for Professional Growth.


    Morel, Nina J.1,2


    Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin. Fall2014, Vol. 81 Issue 1, p36-39. 4p.

    Document Type:


    Subject Terms:

    JOB skills
    CAREER development
    TWENTY-first century

    NAICS/Industry Codes:

    611430 Professional and Management Development Training
    624310 Vocational Rehabilitation Services


    Collaboration is identified as an essential twenty-first-century skill, and research supports that professional learning is enhanced by collaboration among teachers. Nevertheless, many American schools have little time built into the day for collaborative professional interactions such as coaching, peer observation, modeling, or professional-learning-community work. Administrators and teacher leaders can take a few essential steps to promote and enhance their own collaboration among colleagues and promote the collaborative practices of professionals in their schools.



    Copyright of Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin is the property of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.

    This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

    Author Affiliations:

    1Associate A dean of the College of Professional Studies, Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee
    2Member and officer of Beta Chapter, Xi State Organization (TN)

    Full Text Word Count:




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    1. Conclusion
    2. References

    Full Text


    Collaboration is identified as an essential twenty-first-century skill, and research supports that professional learning is enhanced by collaboration among teachers. Nevertheless, many American schools have little time built into the day for collaborative professional interactions such as coaching, peer observation, modeling, or professional-learning-community work. Administrators and teacher leaders can take a few essential steps to promote and enhance their own collaboration among colleagues and promote the collaborative practices of professionals in their schools.

    A few years ago, I met Kum Fong, an administrator from the Singapore Ministry of Education, who was visiting Nashville, Tennessee, as a Fulbright Scholar to share her research on professional collaboration among teachers. At the time, I was working to develop collaborative professional-learning practices in my school district, and I asked her to comment on her impressions of American teachers and their collaborative professional learning. Without hesitation, she answered, “Teachers are so lonely here.” Her observation backed up my own sense that the professional isolation of the American teacher must be addressed in order to improve teaching and learning in the twenty-first century. In this article, I explore why collaboration is so important at this juncture in education.

    Why is Collaboration So Important Now?

    Collaboration, according to Rubin (2009), is a “means of aligning people’s actions to get something done” (p. 16). Collaboration leverages diverse perspectives and skills and can promote creativity and productivity. In addition, collaboration is a skill that is valued by employers as well as civic and social organizations. It is tied to greater job satisfaction, and it is an effective learning practice, especially for adult learners. Practicing collaboration models its importance for the students who will be called upon to collaborate in an increasingly complex economy and society.

    Collaboration is necessary in a complex, global society. One hundred years ago, a teacher might live her whole life collaborating with only a few hundred people whom she knew and developed relationships with over a lifetime. Today, through technology, educators come in contact with hundreds of people from around the globe every day. Fifty years ago, teaching required an individual to get along in his or her geographic community; today, teachers are expected to communicate instantaneously with parents, leaders, and colleagues at home and around the globe. Information about best practices in the classroom is instantly available to all stakeholders, and community members expect their teachers to stay up to date with current research and to implement innovations in their own classrooms almost immediately. The increasing complexity of teaching students to develop skills for a future society that one can barely imagine requires teachers to be learners every day–not just in the summer when professional learning opportunities have been traditionally offered.

    Collaboration increases teachers’ job satisfaction. The MetLife Foundation has conducted an annual Survey of the American Teacher every year since 1984. In 2012, the survey indicated that teachers’ job satisfaction had dropped to the lowest level in 25 years. Only 39% of the 1000 public school teachers surveyed reported job satisfaction–a drop of 23% since 2008, when 62% of teachers reported being satisfied with their jobs. Compared to the most-satisfied teachers, the least-satisfied teachers in the 2012 survey were more likely to work in schools that, during the previous 12 months, had experienced cuts in professional development and decreases in time for professional collaboration. Satisfied teachers tended to work in places with adequate professional development and time for collaboration with peers. The 2012 survey indicated that teacher stress was also much greater than it had been in the past, with 51% reporting significant stress in their jobs–up from 36% of teachers reporting job stress in 1985. Not surprisingly, teachers who experienced more stress also reported lower job satisfaction. These data suggest greater teacher satisfaction exists when teachers are free to reflect, collaborate, and create their own professional growth. In a time when attracting and retaining excellent teachers is becoming more and more difficult, providing collaborative professional learning can go far to increase teacher satisfaction.

    Collaboration is an effective learning practice. Working with others to share ideas, take a point of view, defend a position, give and accept feedback, achieve consensus, and apply knowledge to a common goal leads to improved teaching and learning. Working with others can enhance creativity, improve reflection, increase respect for others, promote team celebration, and enhance self-efficacy. Just as children are no longer expected to learn information passively, teachers cannot be expected to depend entirely on workshops and lectures to develop their practice. According to Materna (2007), “Group collaboration especially is essential in adult education, since adults want to share their experiences and interact with others both academically and professionally” (p. 42).

    Collaboration is an important example to students. If educators expect students to excel in twenty-first-century skills, then teachers must model these skills. Students notice and emulate teachers’ use of technology, collaborative practices with colleagues, and development of problem-finding and problem-solving skills. When teachers fail to model collaboration and the other competencies that support higher level thinking and creativity, students may assume that a right answer exists to all problems and that taking an intellectual risk is inappropriate. Teachers who work collaboratively contribute to an environment in which students can grow and learn their own relationship skills. According to Joyce and Calhoun (2010), “When teachers live in healthy schools, they create an elevating environment for their students” (p. 30).

    What Skills Do Teachers Need to Collaborate?

    Collaboration both builds interpersonal skills and requires certain skills. These skills do not always come naturally, and school leaders and professional developers may need to teach and reinforce the use of such skills explicitly with faculty members to help them collaborate more successfully with their peers. Based on my experience leading collaborative groups, requisite collaboration skills include the ability to

    * read the emotional climate of a situation and improve emotional safety for others;

    * apologize;

    * focus on the project and not on individual personalities;

    * listen;

    * express and advocate for one’s own point of view;

    * take the other person’s perspective; and

    * define mutual goals.

    A variety of resources is available to help individuals self-assess their abilities in these areas and then hone them to greater effectiveness. Individual or group coaching can go a long way to help leaders excel in these skills.

    What Kind of Environment is Required for Effective Collaboration?

    Collaboration thrives in an environment in which the school leader has developed a climate conducive to collaboration. Three essential elements are necessary for that climate: involvement in significant work, trust, and consistent processes.

    Involvement in significant work. When pairs or teams work together, the goal must be worthwhile and the expectations must be high. Busy work, work that is not taken seriously by leaders, does not lead to effective collaboration. Rock (2008) explained that when individuals interact with others, their brains are looking for status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness. Status is how one thinks others value him or her and is one of the most important needs of human brains. All individuals want to believe that the person with whom they are interacting has respect for them and their work, and humans are very adept at identifying the regard others have for an individual. Being given significant work related to the goals of the organization and being provided a protected time to do this work increases the status and motivation of teachers. In schools, the most significant work is, of course, the achievement of students. Tying organizational goals and collaborative work to student outcomes underscores the significance of any project.

    Trust. Trust is the most important component of collaboration (Tschannen-Moran, 2001). High-stakes, highly competitive structures, over-direction or micromanagement, secrecy, and lack of transparency undermine trust among faculty members. Principals must work to create a climate of respect and trust. This does not happen overnight, and it starts with a positive example set by the leadership. Teachers, administrators, and coaches should identify and commit to a communication model that they will follow with fidelity as they work together. Some school personnel agree to an open communication model, where all collaborative professional information is shared among teachers, coaches, and administrators. Others decide on a model where only positive information is shared, and still others agree that communication among teachers and coaches is open, but principals will not ask for or receive information about areas of concern except from an individual teacher about his or her own practice. Whatever the model, the key is that all the professionals in the school agree to and adhere to it consistently (Morel & Cushman, 2012).

    Consistent processes. When trust has not yet been developed, a tight process for working together provides a safe emotional environment in which to take risks. Consistent team processes provide identified roles, discussion protocols, and agreed-upon norms that lead to productive dialogue. The use of consistent protocols in meetings supports the needs of the brain identified by Rock (2008). Protocols balance status among participants because they provide a process for everyone’s voice to be heard. Effective meeting or learning protocols begin by reviewing norms or agreements for interaction, setting a time to begin and end, and making personal connections. This process shows mutual concern for everyone’s needs and emphasizes the importance of the relationship. Specific protocols also provide certainty because everyone knows the rules, and there is a definite outcome for every interaction. Meeting protocols protect autonomy because each participant is invited and not forced or micromanaged to participate. Relatedness and fairness are further enhanced because the norms for safe interaction provide a voice for everyone.


    I hope someday to visit Kum Fong in Singapore and witness firsthand the levels of collaboration that teachers there enjoy. I also hope, when I go, that I will be able to take many examples of how teachers in the United States have worked together to decrease isolation and increase professional collaboration for the benefit of our students.


    Joyce, B., & Calhoun, E. (2010). Models of professional development: A celebration of educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    Materna, L. (2007). Jump start the adult learner: How to engage and motivate adults using brain-compatible strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    MetLife, Inc. (2012). MetLife survey of the American teacher: Challenges for school leadership. Retrieved from ERIC database (ED542202).

    Morel, N., & Cushman, C. (2012). How to develop an instructional coaching program for maximum capacity. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    Rock, D. (2008). SCARF: A brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others. NeuroLeadership Journal, 1, 1-9. Retrieved from

    Rubin, H. (2009). Collaborative leadership: Developing effective partnerships for communities and schools (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    Tsahnnen-Moran, M. (2001). Collaboration and the need for trust. Journal of Educational Administration, 39(4), 308-331. doi:10.1108/EUM0000000005493


    By Nina J. Morel

    Nina J. Morel, EdD, is associate A dean of the College of Professional Studies at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an active member and officer of Beta Chapter in Xi State Organization (TN).

    Copyright of Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin is the property of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.

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    Kendall Pankake: Initial Discussion Post


    Top of Form

    Specialization and Overview of Action Plan

    I currently serve in the role of an assistant principal. As we were asked to choose the role of someone on Grand City’s task force, I chose to focus on the role of the district superintendent. 

    In last week’s discussion post, I mentioned the following action steps:

    1. Overcrowding in schools – after conducting a thorough assessment of populations and student need, I would reference state standards related to adult to student ratios. If they were not currently appropriate, I would compile research and data to present to the school board to petition for more adults, and potentially more space for students.

    2. Teachers being open to change – I would work with school principals to assist them in developing schedules that allow for teacher collaboration and professional development as a regular practice.

    3. Decreased test scores – I would begin by ensuring curricula is rigorous and relevant to the student population, especially in tested areas.

    4. Unmanageable requests for student services – I would begin by working with student services teams to ensure a functioning MTSS process was in place in each school building.

    5. Staggering graduation rates – I would ensure that all schools are providing a positive, supportive, and safe environment.

    Selected Team Members

    By looking at my identified action steps, I am able to identify the individuals that would support the completion of each action. As I go through these steps, I plan to look from the kens of the district in which I work. This is a small district, with an administrative team of 14. The first action step would require school board members, a human resources director, a business manager, and the appropriate personnel should the need be determined for additional staffing. For the second action step, I would need school principals, the assistant to the superintendent, and director of pupil services. For the third action step, I would need school principals, lead teachers, and the assistant to the superintendent. For action step number four, I would need an assistant principal, school counselors, lead teachers, and the home and school visitor. For action step number five, all stakeholders are needed.

    Evidence-Based Strategies for Working Collaboratively

    Morel (2014) suggested that the most effective collaboration occurs when the goal is worthwhile and the expectations are high. Furthermore, trust is necessary (Morel, 2014). I believe that an effective leader can foster an environment that allows for the aforementioned items when they focus on providing structures for staff without micromanaging. If I were the leader striving to create this environment, I would facilitate a team that created a goal together. I would have the team create a meeting structure and be there to work alongside them. Sterrett et al. (2015) referenced a principal who strived to foster collaborative time and teacher leadership. Sometimes, time is the largest obstacle.

    Use of Ongoing Data

    Abdul-Majied et al. (2018) suggested that in order for data to be effective, a school must have a robust culture of data use and professional development opportunities related to data use. Not only is it crucial for the leadership team to be competent in data-driven decision-making, but also to build the capacity of the team to have the same skills. As a leader, I would strive to create a robust culture of data use for my staff. Looking at Grand City’s data, it is clear that they are competent in looking at the correct data. I would continue to pull reports of the same data regularly that relate to my action steps in order to identify trends and deficits. By doing so, further action steps could be identified and carried out.


    Abdul-Majied, S., Figaro-Henry, S., & Suepaul, N. (2018). A multiple case study of data use

    practice in eight early childhood centres in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Early Child Development and Care, 188(9), 1287–1301.

    Morel, N. (2014). Setting the stage for collaboration: An essential skill for professional growth.

    Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 81(1), 36-39. doi: 1080/00228958.2005.10532081

    Sterrett, W., & Irizarry, E. (2015). Beyond “autopsy data”: Bolstering teacher leadership, morale,

    and school improvement. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 18(1), 3-13. doi:10.1177/1555458914551828


    Ashlee Robinson 

    RE: Discussion 2 – Module 2


    Top of Form

    Specialization and Over of Action Plan 


    I currently work in a 5-8 middle school as a Title 1 English Interventionist. I served this role for almost 10 years now. When choosing a role for the Grand City task force, I ended up choosing to stay this role as an intervention specialist. Over the last decade, the way students learn and fill achievement gaps have changed drastically. It is essential that our current stakeholders immerse themselves in what is the new 21st century and the skills students desperately need to be college and career ready. 

    In the last discussion,I pulled some of the worrisome data from Grand City around attendance, decreased test scores, graduation rates, and overcrowding. Just as Chenoweth (2014) states, “We know what works to improve schools. Now, let’s focus on using the most effective practices.” As an interventionist, I think that is exactly what Grand City needs. The data needs to be analyzed, and an action plan needs to be set into place. From the action steps listed last week I discussed: 

    · Overcrowding 

    · There would need to be an accurate count of students/teachers in each class, each period, or grade level. From there, it would be important to determine what the actually suggested ratio is.

    · Decreased test scores

    · All academic data that is collected would need to be examined to see where students are struggling. From there, if the data shows a trend of where students are struggling, or where the gap is then intervention needs to be targeted as soon as possible. 

    · Student Services 

    · To help with this, implementing a concrete guideline and team to support MTSS will help determine students who truly need more support. 

    · Low Graduation 

    · There news to be a sense of connection to one’s community, providing family engagement to ensure that students have the support they need as they work toward graduation, or even looking into adding a  mentorship program,  where students can build relationships with community role models, explore career paths, and even volunteer (Wireman, 2022). 

    Team members will need to be diligently selected by the areas that are of greatest concern from the list above. The superintendent of Grand City will need to be the first member on the team as her opinion and leadership are essential for reform to happen. Furthermore, we will need the Grand City principal as he discussed the lack of financial support for hiring additional staff members to aid in interventions (Walden University, 2016b). His ideas and creativity will also be important to find alternate solutions to ratify the reading programs to be more effective at start before Kindergarten. From there, we will need both curriculum director and student services administration, as they will be able to help with the reading curriculum and find ways to lower and or support the overwhelming number of students applying for special services. Lastly, we will need the board and the community stakeholders to aid in mentoring partnerships, and community outreach to increase our graduation rates. This will be a big team effort. 

    Chenoweth (2014) usus the idea of collaboration to build effective practices, and focuses on what matters most. This looks like collaborating on how to teach content by unpacking standards and using a more standards based approach. It also looks like using assessments to make data driven decisions, and building personal relationships amongst all stakeholders. 

    The use of ongoing data is crucial in education. Providing evidence of students’ learning is the best practice for both acceleration and remediation. Teachers must be trained on how to appropriately read and analyze data, to make decisions that greatly impact a student’s learning. “An increased availability of technology, financial support from policymakers, and greater accountability for student outcomes have all contributed to the increased focus on data use for educational improvement globally” (Marsh & Farrel, 2015).


    Chenoweth, K. (2015). How do we get there from here? Educational Leadership, 72(5), 16-20.


    Marsh, J. & Farrell, C. (2015). How leaders can support teachers with data-driven decision making: A framework for understanding capacity building. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 43(2), 269-289. doi:10.1177/1741143214537229


    Walden University (2016). Grand City education and demographic files [PDF}. Author.

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