Home arrow COSA Blogs arrow Live from Salishan, Day One: It's the Winter Conference
Live from Salishan, Day One: It's the Winter Conference Print E-mail

by Craig Hawkins, Communications Director

I'll be blogging periodically over the next couple of days from the OASE/OACOA Winter Conference at Salishan.  As the event goes along, I'll share my thoughts and impressions, and I will post materials.

First up this morning is Michael Fullan.  A world-renowned author, researcher, lecturer and consultant, Fullan will be focusing on his latest book, The Six Secrets of Change: What the Best Leaders Do to Help Their Organizations Survive and Thrive.  Sponsored by the Chalkboard Project, Fullan will be talking about a change in the culture of schools and a change in the culture of teaching. 

micheal fullan.jpg"We know that when we think about change we have to get ownership, participation, and a sense of meaning on the part of the vast majority of teachers," Fullan says.  "You can't get ownership through technical means; you have to get it through interaction, through developing people, through attention to what students are learning.  The strategies that have provided some initial success in areas such as literacy and numeracy are not the strategies, though, that will take us to a deeper transformation that will enact the cognitive science agenda of problem solving and thinking skills, reculture schools, and close the gap between high- and low-performing students.  To achieve these ends, we must tap the energy that comes from moral purpose. We are now just at the very early stages of a qualitative transformation that is a revolution in the teaching profession."

Thursday - 9:16 a.m.

Here is Fullan's presentation. And you can get a lot more Fullan materials at his website.

He poses the question, "How do you make change when a whole lot of people don't want it to happen?"  The problem of change, he says, is that "it's a process of re-doing and re-thinking -- and even if just one person wants to do it, it's hard."  He discusses the "Implementation Dip," which shows that change is hard and the road is "bumpy." To acknowledge the difficulty, and to recognize that you often take a step or two backward before you make progress, is often helpful.  Leaders who are attempting to effect real change, he says, should understand that they often won't be very popular, at least not initially.

Thursday - 9:24 a.m.

Fullan shared some "Change Insights":

  • The implementation dip is normal
  • Behaviors change before beliefs
  • The size and prettiness of the planning document is inversely related to the quality of action and student learning
  • Shared vision or ownership is more an outcome of a quality process than it is a precondition
  • Feelings are more influential than thoughts

Thursday - 9:33 a.m.

Change-savvy leadership, Fullan said, involves:

  • Careful entry into the new setting ("too fast" vs. too slow")
  • Listening to and learning from those who have been there longer
  • Engage in fact finding and joint problem solving
  • Carefully (rather than rashly) diagnosing the situation
  • Forthrightly addressing people's concerns
  • Being enthusiastic, genuine and sincere about the change circumstances
  • Obtaining buy-in for what needs fixing
  • Developing a credible plan for making that fix

In many ways, Fullan said, these are the kinds of things President Barrack Obama is trying to do.

And this nugget, from Fullan: "You are more likely to behave your way into new ways of thinking that you are to think your way into new ways of behaving."

Thursday - 10:05 a.m.

Fullan's Six Secrets of Change are:

Secret 1: Love Your Employees

Secret 2: Connect Peers with Purpose

Secret 3: Capacity Building Prevails

Secret 4: Learning is the Work

Secret 5: Transparency Rules

Secret 6: Systems Learn

Fullan started with Secret 2: Connect Peers with Purpose.  Knowledge flows, he said, as people together pursue and continuously learn what works best.  When they connect, peers commit to each other, and work for each other.  They establish an identity with an entity larger than themselves and that results in powerful consequences for change.

Thursday - 10:54 a.m.

In discussing Secret 3: Capacity Building Prevails, Fullan posed this question: "Is it possible to perceive something as ineffective and not be judgmental about it?"  Non-judgmentalism, he said, focuses on improvement in the face of ineffective performance rather than labeling or categorizing weaknesses."

Thursday - 11:04 a.m.

Just a quick observation: It's a beautiful, sunny, windless day here at the beach, but it looks like every conference attendee has crowded into the main Salishan conference area to see Fullan.  Right now, as he talks about Secret 4: Learning is the Work and Secret 5: Tranparency Rules, the entire room is fully engaged -- listening intently, taking notes.  Fullan is providing lots of good, deep-yet-practical stuff about the hard work of change.

Thursday - 11:11 a.m.

Under what conditions will classroom instruction improve?  Here's Fullan's remedy:

Transparency + Non-Judgmentalism + Good Help = Classroom Improvement

Transparency rules because system improvement can't happen without transparency.

Schools should compare themselves with themselves, with other schools similar to them (statistical neighors), and with the bigger picture (such as international benchmarks).  State and district leaders should explicitly disavow showing school performance without context, never take one year's results as seriously as as three years' worth, and invest in capacity building, Fullan said.

Thursday - 1:15 p.m.

I had the honor of sitting next to Michael Fullan at lunch.  No suprise -- he travels a lot.  Recently, he made presentations in Hawaii, Boston and Edmonton in the span of three days.  From the beginning of his Hawaii presentation until he arrived in Edmonton at 3 a.m. a couple of days later, he saw only the inside of airplances and conference halls -- not a hotel room.  Talk about having a passion about his work...

dichiro-r2-6_jpg.jpgAlso at lunch, Ashland Superintendent Juli DiChiro was honored as the 2009 Oregon Superintendent of the Year, and Northwest Regional ESD Director of Instructional Services Art Anderson received the 2009 OACOA Achievement of Excellence Award.

Thursday - 1:49 p.m.

Fullan's Secret 1: Love Your Employees, is, much like Sisodia, Wolfe and Sheths "Firms of Endearment," a commitment to not just teachers and staff, but also students and the communiity.  Stakeholders develop an emotional connection with the organization.

McGregor's Theory Y Assumptions apply here:

  • If a job is satisfying, then the result will be commitment to the organization.
  • The average person learns under proper conditions to not only accept but to seek responsibility.
  • Imagination, creativity and ingenuity can be used to solve work problems by a large number of employees.

Thursday - 2:25 p.m.

Fullan's Secret 6: Systems Learn, depends on developing many leaders in the school in order to enhance continuity.  It also depends on schools being confident in the face of complexity, and open to new ideas, Fullan said.

Fullan said the leaders should have confidence but not certitude in the face of complexity.  He advised attendees to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

As you do the work, he said, leaders get more confident because you and your group know more -- much more -- as you go.  You actually know more to be more confident about, but never dead certain.

First Round of Breakout Sessions

Thursday - 3:20 p.m.

The afternoon breakout sessions are underway.  Conference attendees are choosing from among the following sessions:

Connecting the Dots: Framing a Clearer Picture for Student Learning, which is discussing the state's effortsto develop an integrated statewide education data system, including the KIDS Project, regional data warehouses, the Teaching Learning Connection, the Oregon DATA Project and the new Growth Model for assessment. Presenters include ODE staff members Doug Kosty, Baron Rodriguez, Tony Alpert and Theresa Levy, and OEESC school improvement director Mickey Garrison.

Leading for Results in a Culture of Change, presented by Eugene Superintendent George Russell and Eugene Chief of Staff Barb Bellamy. The session is sharing and exploring some of the key concepts and tools that can be used by leaders in working with staff and boards to focus on achieving results.

Practical Application of Lean in Education, presented by Lincoln County Operations Administrator Joe Novello and consultant Roger Jones.  Novello and Jones are focusing on applying business concepts that look at ways to eliminate waste and be more efficient with resources.

Warning: A data warehouse in more than just a financial investment, presented by Linn Benton Lincoln ESD Director Tom Luba and Project Manager Sandee Hawkins. The session discusses the TetraData data warehouse and analysis tool, and how to ensure a successful implementation of a data warehouse for a school district. Handout.

The Politics and Strategies of Developing a Budget in Times of Declining Revenue and Declining Enrollment, a discussion that is being led by Newberg Superintendent Paula Radich, Gladstone Superintendent Bob Stewart and COSA superintendent development specialist Deborah Sommer.

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 30, 2009 .