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The lack of shared ownership is often a root cause for a significant achievement gap. How does a district forge a united faculty that envisions itself as a team of educators working on behalf of all students? Begin by reminding every faculty member of these three points:
- Every student is a general education student and a full member of the school community.
- Some students just need additional support!
- Having a united faculty is EVERY educator’s responsibility!
Leaders must provide visible and verbal support for shared ownership. Here are some creative ideas to establish a sense of shared ownership.
- Allocate time during back-to-school staff development sessions or faculty meetings to clearly express your expectations for embracing all students.
- Devote a single-purpose faculty meeting to discuss ways in which the school can demonstrate shared responsibility to the students and to the community. Require purposeful actions and evaluate results.
- Conduct a related book study for the entire faculty or small groups.
- Place special populations teachers on grade level or department teams.
- Arrange opportunities for a Teacher Exchange Day in which teachers switch teaching roles for a day on a voluntary basis. Conduct a debriefing session at the end of the day.
- Meet with teachers on an individual basis to question practices or comments that are not compatible with the philosophy of shared ownership.
- Provide opportunities for teachers to examine their own “cultural competence” with individuals of a different race or culture.
Tools to Support Your Leadership
This tool provides district leaders with a list of questions to evaluate progress toward achieving a philosophy of shared ownership, acceptance and shared responsibility for all learners. This document also includes a description of data and tools to review, indicators of success, and action steps to improve your practice in this area.
Perhaps the most critical role in successful inclusive schools is the role of the principal. The school principal’s active participation is the single most important predictor of success in implementing change, improving services, or setting a new course. The school principal is central to facilitating systemic change and leading faculty to adopt new attitudes and new practices. Use this school-level planning guide to determine priorities for change and identify action steps to improve shared ownership in your school.
This small group discussion tool allows you to self-assess your commitment to promoting shared ownership for all students. Begin by answering each question on your own. Share your responses within your small group.