"Wholed" Me Accountable
ASCD 2015 Annual Conference
This content was presented by ASCD 2013 Emerging Leader Allison Rodman as part of an Ignite series on accountability at the ASCD 2015 Annual Conference in Houston, Texas. The series is part of a larger ASCD Forum on accountability.
Regardless of whether we are pro-test or anti-test, most individuals will agree that tests are only one measure of what a child has learned and the degree to which he/she has grown from the previous year.
"Accountability" has been thrown around lately like a dirty word.
At the end of the day though, as a school leader, I should be held accountable... for more than just test scores.
Like teachers, most school leaders are not trying to avoid accountability - they welcome it.
However, they know that much more is going on within the four walls of their school than a week of bubble sheets.
So, what should we be held accountable for?
"Wholed" me accountable for #HEALTHY students.
Hold me accountable for noticing that a student is sneaking extra cereal into his backpack at breakfast. He didn't have dinner last night, and this will most likely be his dinner tonight.
Hold me accountable for modeling a healthy lifestyle for my students and staff by walking around the track on my lunch break, putting a treadmill in the staff lounge, and starting a "Read and Ride" program where students with extra wiggles can ride stationary bikes while they read.
Hold me accountable for making a space for mindfulness - both in the classroom and our professional development schedule - and supporting staff/student yoga.
Hold me accountable for providing recovery time for students that allows them to reflect on their choices, including identifying their own logical consequences.
"Wholed" me accountable for #SAFE students.
Hold me accountable for working with the local police department and community leaders to maintain a safe corridor for our students.
Hold me accountable for creating a welcoming school environment where students feel safe, warm, and loved... a place that many do not want to leave at the end of the day.
Hold me accountable for keeping drugs, weapons, and bullying on the corner rather than in the classroom.
Hold me accountable for working with teachers to create safe learning spaces where students are not afraid to take risks, debate, and challenge the status quo.
Hold me accountable for designing and maintaining a safety net for students - one that allows failure to be a First Attempt In Learning (FAIL) and not a life-altering mistake.
Hold me accountable for promoting a grading policy that does not just encourage - but requires - opportunities for retake and revision.
"Wholed" me accountable for #ENGAGED students.
- Ones who work in teams rather than silos.
- Who don't just answer questions but ask them as well.
- Students who connect beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Hold me accountable for keeping it real with teachers.
- For providing tangible resources and examples of play in the classroom.
- For putting the three-letter "F" word - FUN - back into school.
Hold me accountable for encouraging loud and messy classrooms.
Controlled chaos is a good thing. It means that students are engaged in their learning rather than passive recipients of facts.
"Wholed" me accountable for #SUPPORTED students.
- For having one-on-one meetings with kids to understand why they are tired or bored in class, why they are late, and why they are struggling.
Hold me accountable for engaging teachers and community partners to support students in reaching their fullest potential through extracurricular activities, mentorships, community service, and internships.
Hold me accountable for real support - not the "push button" kind but the kind that weighs on your heart and keeps you up at night.
- For holding a student's hand as he approaches the casket of a former classmate because his parents needed to work, but he still wanted to come to the viewing and show his respects.
"Wholed" me accountable for #CHALLENGED students.
Hold me accountable for developing a curriculum that prepares students for the test while not teaching to it - a curriculum that is rigorous enough to challenge the most advanced learners, scaffolded enough to support struggling ones, and authentic enough to engage all students.
Hold me accountable for pushing students beyond their comfort zone to try a new skill, explore a new idea, or maybe just sit somewhere new in the cafeteria.
Hold me accountable for igniting a spark in students such that they want to become lifelong learners.
- For modeling constant learning and continuous improvement.
- For sharing what I don't know, and more importantly, my plan for finding the answers.
"Wholed" me accountale for the #WHOLECHILD - not just his/her head.
Kids don't come to school with just their minds. They come with their bodies and their hearts, and often, a lot of baggage too.
Yes, hold me accountable for the test, but only as one measure of the learning that takes place both within and beyond the four walls of our school.
Our children are so much more.
"Wholed" me accountable for all of it - not just the number.