Faculty collaboration is a source of Green Vale's strength as a school. Following many successes last year in terms of teachers finding new ways to work together across grade levels and across disciplines, it is clear that they desire more of it. Head of School Jesse Dougherty and the administrative team have responded by arranging new forums for the exchange of ideas. "It's exactly the right dynamic where the faculty and the academic leadership are pressing for the same type of dialogue and teaching environment," says Dr Dougherty.
Green Vale's partnership with author and educator Grant Lichtman continued over the summer with a three-day "Summer Institute" where over 30 teachers volunteered a portion of their summer break to participate in intensive workshops devised to inspire creative ways to collaborate as well as begin to formulate concrete plans to innovate in small ways that inspire the peak learning experiences that characterize Green Vale.
As reiterated by Associate Head of School Narinder Bhalla and Dean of Academics Pam Velastegui during opening week for faculty, teachers are encouraged and empowered to explore elements of deeper learning: increasing curiosity, student-centered learning, and projects designed to lead students toward making connections in addition to skills and topical mastery.
With the addition of several new faces to the senior administrative team, collaboration is a priority within this group as well. An all-day retreat at Black Rock Forest Consortium (that included catching frogs and newts in a stream) focused on how the administration can best work together to support faculty and guide the school.
Additional time during the school week has been allocated specifically for faculty collaboration.
In his opening remarks to faculty, Dougherty also noted that collaboration is most successful in a distributed leadership model, or a flat organization where “Leadership no longer involves only a few people who hold formal positions steering the company. Rather, leadership is a social process occurring within a team, department, or organization that results in those collectives creating direction, alignment, and commitment for a shared goal."
Kristin Cullen-Lester, Center for Creative Leadership
“What Is the Nature of Leadership in Flat Organizations?” (November 3, 2016)