Leadership at the Center is written primarily by Center executive director Richard Lemons. Through this
blog, Richard will share resources, tools, and research relevant to leading organizations, prompting
large-scale instructional improvement, and disrupting inequity. Leading at the Center will also share
updates on the work of the CT Center for School Change and provide vignettes of leading practice across
the state and nation.
Before the holidays I posted a blog about the importance of academic tasks within classrooms. Drawing from both learning theory and research on improving instruction, I argued that there tends to be wide variation in the cognitive demand asked of students in the tasks provided by their teachers. To quote that blog: “The single most consistent pattern I observe in classrooms is variation—wide variation—in the cognitive demand expected of students.” To read the earlier blog in its […]
I live a privileged professional life.
Each year, I am invited to visit dozens of school districts and spend time in hundreds of classrooms kneeling next to students aged 4 to 20. Whether through the formal process of Instructional Rounds or more casually dropping into classrooms, I am typically working with teachers and administrators who puzzle over how to improve student learning.
I count my blessings. The conversations are intellectually challenging and they are anchored in a deep sense of […]
Over the last few years, the Center has cherished the opportunity to bring various educational leaders—superintendents, school administrators, students, teachers, community members, elected officials–into conversations and professional learning experiences about equitable leadership.
In these sessions, we regularly create moments where leaders can distill for themselves the most salient ideas. Over the last month, in three different settings, I’ve invited leaders to share a “Principle for Equitable Leadership” as an exit slip. On one occasion the exit slip followed an […]
Admittedly, I have come to be a bit—perhaps more than just a bit—skeptical about the prospect of federal or state policy significantly and positively influencing student learning and outcomes. Of course, policy matters—it shapes the authorizing conditions within which schools and districts operate, offering supports and sometimes creating rather significant barriers. Yet my years in schools and districts suggest that the grand aspirations of educational policy makers, on average, fail to fundamentally alter patterns of teaching and learning. […]
Last week a long-time colleague dropped this gem on me: “Most superintendents and principals who lose their jobs do so not because of their instructional leadership (or lack thereof).” Let’s refer to this as Rule 1. His point, I inferred, was that my intensity around helping educators become stronger instructional leaders was a bit misplaced.
This was not the first time I’ve heard this quip regarding why leaders lose their jobs. Other colleagues have expressed similar ideas. What these […]
Join our Reading for Leading Book Club
We at the Center like to discuss books. This summer, if you had dropped by our office during the lunch hour, you may have overheard discussions of works by Edgar Schein, Michael Lewis, Ta-Nehasi Coates, J.D. Vance, Tara Westover, Michelle Alexander, or Peter Block. It is within these works, along with novels and poems, that we find both inspiration for action and context for making meaning.
More enjoyable than our office book discussions […]
Over two decades ago, the Graustein Memorial Fund founded the Connecticut Center for School Change to help spearhead efforts to support K12 education across the state.
The Connecticut Center for School Change is an educational non-profit that exists to ensure (1) each and every student experiences intellectually engaging and cognitively challenging learning and reaches a level of efficacy and competence aligned to the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to support a rewarding and productive life in a dynamic and […]