School administrators play vital roles in the smooth functioning of every school. Most people have come to associate how they do their jobs with the workings of the heart, vitally responsible for just about everything that gives your body life.
With that analogy, you get a sense of how school administrators need to work around the clock to keep the rest of the school alive in all aspects and help create and foster an environment in which pupils can learn most effectively.
The Science of School Administration: Who is answerable?
In most schools, Principals and Vice principals constitute the fragment of school administration. Working at every level of education, they are directly responsible for making policies and procedures, maintaining high levels of quality assurance, in addition to managing school budgets and training and supervising staff.
Seasoned school administrators go a step further to define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that measure school quality and drive improvement. To actually get this done, it requires a level of commitment, discipline and ownership of what they are responsible for-accountability is the appropriate term to use here. That is the only way setting an example for others to follow can work.
If the concept of accountability is so easy to describe and comprehend, why is it something that school leaders still struggle with when without question, every item on a school’s list represent an accountability compromise? Systems missing or not followed. Rules broken. Commitments broken. Responsibilities avoided. Budgets not adhered to. Problems ignored. Someone will ALWAYS be answerable.
Many say that with so many responsibilities to uphold, accountability expected of school administrators during their managerial function has become more of lip service rather than action-most school leaders just don’t spend enough time monitoring and evaluating staff and communicating the standards to which their schools must perform.
7 Ways to Ensure Accountability and Get Your School to Higher Standards
Of course, developing a culture of accountability to drive change at different levels takes time, dedication and consistency, but with these 7 strategies, your School can be well on its way:
- Start from within
The most common reaction to accountability you hear is “They need to change..”.When the change should begin with the School leaders. Principals need to evaluate themesleves, improve on their work ethics, immediately resolve any issues and set a prime example for other staff to follow.
- Develop “Accountability” as a core value In order for teachers and other staff to adopt accountability for desired outcomes, these outcomes must be clearly defined and put into writing. As a School Administrator, you can create an “accountability code of conduct” that bullet-points what high accountability thinking and behavior looks like which includes goals and the level of performance that is expected of each staff in order to meet the highest level of quality assurance and the consequences that come with not achieving those goals.
- Don’t compromise on teaching quality
Answer this: “Do your teachers strive for quality and drive student achievement in the best possible way?”.If your answer is no, then you need to stop accepting mediocrity.
School administrators are held accountable for all aspects of the students’ learning. Provisions must be made to deliver educational content of the highest quality which often means hiring committed and competent teachers to replace teachers that do not meet the standard criteria of teaching.
Although, teachers are held accountable for monitoring student progress and adjusting instructions for students to better grasp knowledge, it’s the school administrators’ task to ensure that teachers are empowered with the right skills in order to do just that.
- Adopt good performance management principles
These are helpful and progressive methods of assigning and completing work. For example, school administrators who involve teachers in setting goals and expectations find that those teachers understand expectations better, are more confident that they can achieve those expectations, and perform at a higher level.
You can also establish performance appraisal programs to monitor progress towards goals, define expectations in staff performance plans, provide feedback and use formal awards programs as a means of recognition.
- Empower through training and professional development This goes with strategy #3. Arranging for staff development to better meet learner needs, is essential in ensuring accountability commitment. If teachers know they are held responsible for how each of their assigned student performs, they would want to develop their skills to enhance their teaching/assessment methods.
- Parental contribution is vital
Parents need the requisite skills to help their children succeed in school; the chances of children being successful increase when their parents are fully vested in the school community- they can help identify resources to help with social, emotional health issues and other impediments to school success.
Ideally, school administrators should take it upon themselves to provide these skills through parent education workshops, parent involvement meetings, adult education classes and engagement in volunteer-ism.
- Listen, your Students’ input matter too School administrators also need to teach students to be responsible and take ownership for their education. Personalized learning environments are significant when establishing schools where students can discuss with teachers one-on-one on any learning challenges they may be facing and how teachers can adjust their instruction accordingly to allow students to thrive and be successful.
Which direction is your Accountability Meter leaning to?
That question is left for you and other School administrators to really think about and dig deep to find out. Of course, accountability is a massive and complex topic with many twists and turns for most school administration but in the end, it all comes down to the thinking and behaviour choices you make as a school leader- school administrators must have commensurate authority to ensure the best and most effective methods are used to increase School quality, meet School goals and remain consistent in the long run.