Just what does it mean to be the Leading Learning Organization in the Nation? Let’s begin to answer that question in this blog.
A good start to answering the question is to begin with a definition of a learning organization. A learning organization is, “An [organization] where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire …” (Schlechty, 2009, Leading for Learning, p. 41).
For Midlothian ISD, the “people” in the above quote are “you and me.” In a school that is a learning organization it is the teachers’ and staffs’ opportunity and responsibility to expand their capacity to create the results they desire.
What does it mean to expand our capacity? Capacity is the ability to get things done. It is expanded when people have the knowledge and will to create the results they desire.
Knowledge – we must know what to do. Expanding our knowledge takes on many forms: attendance at conferences, reading, researching, and visiting other schools, to name a few. One of the most important aspects of knowledge is its sharing: creating learning communities* in which we engage in dialogue with our colleagues. That sharing takes place intra-campus and inter-campus.
Will – we must have the strength to do that which we know to be right. It is a choice. That choice is based, in part, in recognizing that we create the results we desire. It’s a choice … our choice.
What are the results that we desire? They are mission oriented and shaped by you. Here’s an example. Let’s say we want to keep the MISD family atmosphere as we grow larger. One step in that direction may be to take that challenge to our campus and district design teams and ask the question, “If it were up to us to ensure that the MISD family atmosphere continues … even grows stronger … as we grow larger, what would we do?”
The idea is that in a learning organization, we take responsibility for the future we desire. We determine the question, problem, or issue that needs to be addressed, and we address it.
Creating the Leading Learning Organization in the Nation is a journey, not a destination. It is an exciting and challenging opportunity and responsibility to create the type of schools and district we desire.
* Learning Community defined: “A group of people who personally interact … and are bound together by the pursuit of common questions, problems, or issues,” (Schlecthy, 2005, The Characteristics of Schools Operating as Learning Communities).