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The School District’s Decision-Making and Action-Taking Culture

Your school district has a culture with many different personalities and traditions that might suggest a label and description. Below are shown some LABELS and DESCRIPTIONS that might apply to your school district. Try to pick one that is closest to yours by rank-ordering the following, with 5 being the closest fit and 1 being the worst fit.

______STATE-DRIVEN DECISION/ACTION CULTURE:

    1. Decisions: based on compliance with state standards and other directives.
    2. Action: continuously make administrators & teachers aware of responsibilities to those decisions.
    3. How: through clearly explained, implemented, and monitored processes.

______AUTHORITY-DRIVEN DECISION/ACTION CULTURE:

    1. Decisions: based on locally determined imperatives created by the board and/or administrative staff, with recognition of state standards and other directives as being important.
    2. Action: continuously make administrators & teachers aware of responsibilities to those decisions.
    3. How: through clearly explained, implemented, and monitored processes.

______CONSENSUS-DRIVEN DECISION/ACTION CULTURE:

    1. Decisions: based on locally determined imperatives created by representatives of all professional entities and patrons in the district, with recognition of state standards and other directives as being important.
    2.  Action: continuously make administrators & teachers aware of responsibilities to those decisions.
    3. How: through clearly explained, implemented, and monitored processes.

______ECLECTICALLY-DRIVEN DECISION/ACTION CULTURE:

    1. Decisions: based on locally developed expressions of intent issued by miscellaneous persons or groups in the district, with recognition of state standards and other directives as being important.
    2. Action: continuously make administrators & teachers aware of responsibilities to those decisions.
    3. How: through clearly explained, implemented, and monitored processes.

______LAISSEZ FAIRE-DRIVEN DECISION/ACTION CULTURE:

    1. Decisions: based on locally developed statements issued by miscellaneous persons or groups in the district, with recognition of state standards and other directives as being important for gaining accreditation and state funding.
    2. Action: periodically make administrators & teachers aware of responsibilities to those decisions.
    3. How: administrators and teachers are made aware of accreditation expectations at occasional staff development activities, with the understanding that each building will meet accreditation standards in its own way.

You may have concluded that your district is someplace in between one of the above labels/ descriptions, or that it is in transition. We’re guessing that most districts are probably in transition due to an ongoing discussion, or a change of board members or administrative staffs. According to research, the consensus-driven culture yields the most positive results, because all professional entities work together to make decisions and take appropriate action — in order to achieve the same ultimate goals. Therefore, as districts work through the transition process, their first goal should be to create a consensus-driven decision/action culture.

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