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InnovateK12’s Toolkit Promotes Accountability for Education Leaders: Organizational Effectiveness

One of the most important duties of a leader is to clearly articulate an organization’s “Why.” More specifically to InnovateK12 members, why do we value stakeholder engagement and solution ownership in the continuous improvement process? Why is it important to bring a creative and innovative spirit to our daily work? And why do we value things like crowd-sourcing of ideas, design thinking, and lean prototyping?

When searching for the words that will inspire organizational action, it is often helpful to step back and study the bigger picture. For InnovateK12 members, there is often a deeply-felt commitment to improvement that is grounded in a basic search for excellence and a genuine feeling of accountability to our communities - a commitment to deliver the best possible learning environment for students, and a collective effort inspired by creativity and innovation to overcome the barriers that stand in our way.

In the recent white paper produced by Dr. John Tanner, The Critical Need for a True Educational Accountability - A Call to Action, Tanner encourages educators to pivot away from the punitive, “feet to the fire” definition of accountability that has consumed education for decades. Tanner encourages educators to embrace a new, healthier version of accountability grounded in continuous improvement cycles and a focus on organizational effectiveness.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Dr. Tanner speak to an audience of superintendents at an Education and Research Development Institute (ERDI) event in Austin TX, and it struck me how closely aligned his message is to the work that our InnovateK12 members are leading. Tanner believes there is an opportunity for education leaders to reframe the conversation around accountability - and to offer organizational effectiveness as a preferred approach.

The InnovateK12 toolkit is an excellent way to act on Dr. Tanner’s vision, providing a clear on-ramp for education leaders who are ready to redefine accountability with their communities. Surfacing problems in conversation with frontline employees and stakeholders is a very effective way to demonstrate accountability, and co-designing solutions in a lean environment shows fiscal responsibility instead of “throwing money” at untested and poorly vetted solutions.

In his conclusion, Tanner writes, “This is why True Accountability is different. It is not anti-anything, nor is it about beating up on the past to achieve some sort of temporary catharsis. And it is certainly not an opportunity for a school to award itself a participation trophy and call it accountability. Rather, it is a deeply positive effort, one that will reveal more about a school to its community than ever before, empower the profession, support all students, and finally allow for an environment where continuous improvement is actually possible.”

Empower the profession? Allow for an environment where continuous improvement is actually possible? These goals are at the heart of the InnovateK12 experience!

As you read Tanner’s research (and I hope you do!), you’re likely to recognize additional parallels with our network’s core values of frontline engagement, distributed leadership, and stakeholder ownership of solutions. Bottom line, InnovateK12 is the perfect way to show a bias toward action in Tanner’s new educational accountability.

Let’s hope Dr. Tanner’s efforts are successful (click here for his website), and let’s hope that our network of effective organizations continues to grow and thrive!