Last week, the Bush Institute hosted four school districts in Dallas for the School Leadership Initiative convening. Michael Douglas, School Leadership and Improvement Services Director at Granite School District, shares positive changes he's seen in his school district since working with the Bush Institute's School Leadership team.
Through 2020, the Bush Institute’s School Leadership Initiative is working hand-in-hand with four school districts across the country to help them find, support, and retain effective principals. Last week, the Bush Institute hosted district teams from Fort Worth ISD, Austin ISD, Chesterfield County Public Schools, and Granite School District in Dallas for the School Leadership Initiative convening.
During the meeting, Michael Douglas, School Leadership and Improvement Services Director at Granite School District, reflected on his experience working with the Bush Institute’s School Leadership Initiative team so far:
Tell us about the positive changes you’ve seen since being a part of the Bush Institute’s School Leadership Initiative.
There have been a lot of positive changes [since we started working with the Bush Institute]. I really like that we changed our school director title, so now we’re not School Accountability Directors. The acronym for that was SAD, so we’re grateful that we’re now School Leadership and Improvement Directors. It was hard for me to introduce myself to teachers and to parents as an Accountability Director. That was one little change, but it has had a big effect. One of my favorite things about changing from an accountability model to a coaching model has been that principals are being coached. I’m being coached as the principal supervisor, and it really opens the door for teachers to be more willing to be coached as well. That’s really starting to have a ripple effect throughout the whole district.
What has the coaching been able to do for the school, for the students?
We are changing the culture and inevitably it’s going to increase student achievement, [which] is the ultimate goal. Every student in our district deserves a quality education. We feel strongly that if we can improve the capacity of our principals, they’ll be able to coach and be the instructional leader in their building. Moving from a reactive to proactive, and allowing them to be the school instructional leader instead of just a school manager. I think this is going be one of the biggest changes in our district. We have a pretty challenging demographic, and our students walk in the door with a lot of challenges. The better our principals are at meeting the needs of those students and helping their teachers meet those needs, the better off our students will be.