Sharing Leadership

Benton Heights A+ students exploring angles

A+ Principals: A+ principals play a major role in helping sustain the A+ Network, providing site-based leadership for A+ initiatives and advising program leadership on the use and allocation of network resources. The power of membership in a network of schools committed to school reform is evident as principals gather twice yearly to share ideas and “best practices,” celebrate one another’s successes, support one another through professional and personal challenges, and mentor new principals joining the network.

“A+ Schools has been vital in re-establishing a positive culture of learning at our school. Our kids are smiling! You can’t qualify that with numbers but you feel it the moment you walk into the school.” --Nick Harvey, Former Principal, Rochelle Middle School

A+ Coordinators: Each A+ school designates an A+ Coordinator or A+ coordination team of teacher leaders who maintain a special commitment to support and develop A+ implementation at their school. The role and scope of their work varies greatly from school to school, ranging from “extra duty” of a full-time teacher to a full-time, paid position in some magnet schools. These coordinators and teams are often the “program champions” who keep the school focused on their commitment to arts integration and the A+ Schools Network. Along with the principal, the A+ Coordinators are usually the school-based liaison to the A+ Network.

“A+ has created an energized atmosphere which is exhibited at all time, from instruction to PTA meetings, from collaboration to the classroom. We are art-ergized all day long.” --A+ Coordinator

A+ Teachers: The A+ approach to school reform relies on teachers to also provide leadership for the program within their individual schools. Teachers and staff are responsible for adapting the program to school culture and community context, designing and implementing integrated thematic units that honor the role of the arts and multiple intelligences, and for building connections with parents and the community.

“We are not an island all to ourselves. We have more in-depth communication across grade levels, between grade levels, among specialists and with parents.” --A+ Teacher
“A+ is the hardest work I have ever had the privilege of taking part in for the immediate and long term benefit for my students and myself.” --A+ Teacher

A+ Parents: From attending “informances” to marketing the school’s successes to sharing their own special talents to raising funds for supplies and events, parents at A+ schools have a unique role in shared leadership. The classroom and school community become places where parent voices are important. Dialogue and discussion help to continue positive change and growth. Everyone has ownership for the creative and engaging, arts-based learning that happens for the children.

“My child wants to be at school EVERY day!” --Parent of A+ Student

A+ Community Partners: A+ schools have found that promoting arts-integrated learning experiences forces them to look outside the school walls to draw on the talents and resources of their community, including businesses, higher education, and arts and cultural organizations. Schools have learned that in order to achieve the new instructional vision they need to deepen their idea of “partnerships” beyond the generic notion of supporting the school through donated resources and volunteer labor to one that connects partners to the substance of the curriculum.