Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement

By Linda Lambert | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Student Learning and Leading

In discussing high leadership capacity at Belvedere school, Jennifer described the many successes the school had seen in student learning: scores on state administered tests rose every year, writing samples revealed creative and technical improvements and a strong sense of student voice, public exhibitions displayed high-quality products and performances, and focus group data told of substantial opportunities for participation and leadership. Jennifer noted that such successes were the main reason for building leadership capacity

Leadership has been defined as [reciprocal, purposeful learning in community.] As we have already seen, learning and leading are firmly linked: a school with high leadership capacity develops students who both learn and lead. The schools described in this book enjoy high or steadily improving student performance and development, regardless of ethnic makeup or socioeconomic levels. This is not surprising: schools in which staff members discuss student learning outcomes during continuing professional dialogues tend to reflect upon and improve practice as a result.

Students develop and learn in environments where adults do the same. There are at least three reasons for this. When adults have opportunities to skillfully participate in leadership, their perspectives about the world around them—including judgments as to who can learn and who can lead—expand; they achieve higher levels of moral development and can successfully grapple with challenging issues, such as equity; and they extend to others the opportunity to encounter similar experiences and learning. Adult leaders who build the leadership capacity of their schools create learning

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