Posted on: May 02, 2002 at 2:20 PM
As part of last year's virtual conference on Sustainability, we administered a questionnaire to the 20 projects that presented posters. We asked what were the obstacles that projects encountered in achieving and sustaining goals. We are in the midst of writing this paper up, but the top eight obstacles reported by last year's "graduating" LSCs were lack of time for teacher collaboration, insufficient number of years to deeply implement vision, lack of teacher and teacher leader content knowldege, lack of continued funding, competing reform agendas, and turnover in teachers and turnover in administrators. I was particularly interested to see that lack of time for teacher collaboration was top on the list since setting up collaborative structures for teacher collaboration was not as high a priority for the LSCs compared to developing lead teachers,providing professional development ,
providing material support. We are exploring why this was the case, but it seems like providing structures for collaboration often felt outside the realm of the LSC. Some barriers including teacher contract time, time for release time, and logistical problems arranging for collaboration across grade levels.
As to administrative support and turnover, it was also interesting to note that there was a relatively low emphasis on providing professional development to administrators.
As your post points out, it is not a given that superintendent share in the vision, and this is especially true when there is turnover in the middle of the project.
These findings are all quite preliminary and only based on twenty LSCs, but I thought them worth noting.