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Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

Florida Educational Leadership Standards Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies High Performing Leaders plan effectively, use critical thinking and problem solving techniques, and collect and analyze data for continuous school improvement. Knowledge I have the knowledge and understanding of: Decision making tools and processes of making decisions Theories and models of decision making Information sources, data collection, and data analysis strategies Systems theory Theories and models of organizations and the principles of organizational development

Dispositions I believe in, value and am committed to: Skills Throughout my internship experience and coursework at FGCU I have learned and evidenced through integrated essays and artifacts the following list. As an administrator I will facilitate processes and engage in activities ensuring that: Facilitative leadership, effective group-process and consensus building skills are used in making group decisions A systems approach used in making decisions There is staff buy-in to decisions prior to implementation Collaborative decision making Making management decision to enhance leaning and teaching Accepting responsibility for decisions Involving stakeholders in appropriate decisions The importance of continuing dialogue with other decision makers affecting education Examining and considering the prevailing values of the divers school community

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

A variety of sources of information is used to make decisions Potential problems that require problem-solving are identified Problems are confronted and resolved in a timely manner Effective problem-framing and problem solving skills are used Effective communication skills are used Decisions are communicated to all stakeholders Lines of communication are developed with decision makers outside the school community Decisions are evaluated appropriately and results communicated to stakeholders

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

Culture in an organization, is developed over a period of time in which an organization takes on particular norms, assumptions, and beliefs. The behavior of organizational members is influenced by interaction with the intangible characteristic of the organizations environment. Persons in an organization will approach internal and external problems with a consistent set of solutions that has continually worked for the group. New members are taught the inner workings of the solutions as the right way to perceive and think about problems. The basic assumptions and beliefs are shared by members of the organization, and will direct the way in which problems are approached and decisions are made (Owens & Valesky, 2007). School leaders will take part in two separate types of decision making; individual and organizational. Organizational leaders are expected to be decisive, be able to make decisions in that are well informed and ethically acceptable in a timely manner without delay. However, school administrators are also part of a larger organization which involves working with and

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

through other people to reach the goals of the organization. Therefore, organizational decision making, in which stakeholders are involved in determining the behavior of the organization, are necessary to maintain an organizational culture that is founded on a shared vision for the organization (Owens & Valesky, 2007). Historically, decision making has been believed to be a scientific process that is orderly, rational, logical, and sequential. Western culture has continually supported the perception that large complex systems can be broken down into parts of a whole to explain problems within the organization and systematically organize a solution. Rational decision making models have stemmed from this way of thinking. Two notable contributors to the science of decisionmaking models are Herbert Simon and Peter. F. Drucker. Simon identified three major phases in the process of making decision; intelligence activity, in which a search of the environment reveals circumstances that require a decision; design activity, where alternative courses of action are thought up developed, and analyzed; and choice activity, where a course of action is selected from the options considered. Peter F. Drucker, created a list of five steps to help an administrator organize decision making. Those steps are: (1) define the problem, (2) analyze the problem, (3) develop alternative solutions,(4) decide on the best solution, and (5) convert decisions into effective actions (Owens & Valesky, 2007). In more recent decades it has become more widely understood that large organizations are complex, filled with uncertainty, instability, and uniqueness. This makes the task of applying science to understanding organization, unreliable. Decision making in an organization such as a

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

school may initially follow steps such as Druckers, but the action of the decision will nearly always be followed up with additional decisions. Decisions made within an organization will impact at least one of the four key organizational factors of school climate; ecology, structure, milieu, and culture. Because these factors interact and overlap, a change in one factor will result in a change in each factor. Decision making cannot be approached as a one-time deal. Organizational systems simply dont allow for it (Owens & Valesky, 2007). The human resources development theory of educational practice has taken over as the more widely accepted approach to education in recent years. The theory of human resources development is based on theories and concepts developed by scholars such as McGregor and his Theory X and Theory Y, Maslows concept of motivation, Herzbers maintenance factors, Likerts System 4 management styles, among others. These overlapping and combined theories create a set of assumptions about an organization which place the persons of an organization, their thinking, beliefs, abilities, and socialization to the values and purpose of the organization, at the core of organizations success (Owens & Valesky, 2007). These assumptions of human resource development, paired with the recognition of effective organizations being characteristically disorderly and illogical, create a theory of decision making which involve participative methods. Participation in the group process involves mental and emotional involvement on behalf of individuals, as they are encouraged to contribute to and share responsibility for group goals. Participation gives the individual ownership of the decisions, resulting in a personal commitment to the decision and its goals.

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

Making better decisions and fostering the growth and development of organization members are two potential benefits of implementing participative decision making. Three factors should be kept in mind as a guide for administrators who chose to utilize the participative process. They are: (1) The need for an explicit decision-making process, (2) the nature of the problem to be solved or the issue to be decided, and (3) criteria for including people in the process (Owens & Valesky, 2007). In the course Organizational Development, I created a set of belief statements that applied organizational theory to my own core beliefs and values. In this game plan for administration I discuss my belief in McGregors Theory Y as well as participate decision making. Further

details is recorded as

Artifact 5-1 Game Plan Belief Statements.docx

There are many reasons for needing methods for decision making. A school community has many different interest groups that will be affected by complex organizational decisions, using a process will assist those involved if there are a number of different ways in which the decision could be made. Another reason for using a method of decision making is that often times we will utilize a past solution when faced with a new similar problem, even though that may not be the best approach. Additionally, while effective school organizations are considered flexible, having constantly changing expectations can be damaging to the organization. Standard policies and procedures help to guide our day-to-day operations. Methods for creating and modifying these policies are needed. Furthermore, simple and complex problems often arise in a learning environment because people with diverse goals, objectives, and expectations are

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

involved. Lastly, decision making can take considerable time if not managed effectively. Time which may be better spent by the stakeholders involved completing other tasks (FLDOE, 2006). If not properly organized, participants in the decision making process may not be aware of what their role is. Choosing an explicit method of decision-making that is a publicly known set of processes and is acceptable to participants should be the first step in the participative decision making process (Owens & Valesky, 2007). The Decision Making Methods module on the William Cecil Golden School Leadership Development website, outline several decision making tools that could be considered when choosing an explicit method of decision making. They include Arguments for and Against, Weighted Ranking of Options, Thinking Outside the Box, Prime Advocate/Devils Advocate, Mapping a Process, and Being Prepared/Staying Educated (FLDOE, 2006). In the educational leadership course, Organizational Development, I completed this module and its corresponding


Artifact 5-2 WCG Module Decision Making.docx

is the product of this module.

Identifying the problem to be solved or issue to be decided is the second factor to consider when implementing participative decision making. The nature of the problem or issue will lend itself to a better model of decision making. Discrete problems are characterized as being clearcut, having readily separable elements, requiring a logical sequence of acts to reach the solution that must be performed by one person. These problems are best solved by an expert individual. Emergent problems are quite different. They are characterized as being ambiguous, the elements of the problem are intertwined, the solution requires coordination and

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

interaction of a number of people, and the dimensions and full nature of the problem are not able to be fully known at the time of the decision making but will unfold as the problem is dealt with over time (Owen & Valesky, 2007). Determining who should participate in the participative process is the final guideline. The intent of participative decision making is not to involve everyone in the process. This would be time consuming, impractical, and most likely very unpleasant. Edwin Bridges suggests two rules for identifying decisions in which it would be appropriate to involve stakeholders. The first is a test of relevance, in which the individuals personal stakes in the decision are high. For instance, a teacher would have a high personal stake in decisions relating to teaching methods, classroom management, and curriculum. The second is a test of expertise, in which the stakeholder is then deemed competent to contribute effectively. An example may include a decision on the organization of the related arts schedule, in which a math teacher would not be qualified to contribute. In determining who should participate in this process, it would also be advisable to determine if the participants in the group would have any kind of control or jurisdiction over the problem, if not then their efforts may simply lead to frustration (Owens & Valesky, 2007). In all Florida public schools, the school advisory council (SAC), represents one form of participative decision making. The SAC committee is comprised of administrators, teachers, parents, non-instructional staff, and community member not employed by the school district. The SAC committee makes decisions regarding the school improvement plan and school budget

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

(Beckham & Raiford, 2003). A record of the 2008-2009 SAC committee enrollment is

Artifact 5-3 SAC Committe Data.docx

A paradigm shift in educational practice in recent decades has been the onset of the era of accountability. All education stakeholder groups - taxpayers, parents, community members, politicians, and business leaders - are demanding that schools measure success by whether or not students are learning. To measure student learning, states have adopted a new concept of targeted, accountable results for all students regardless of their diverse backgrounds including gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or ability. These new demands on schools and districts require a change in how we think about the teaching of our children. It has become necessary to manage inputs and processes to obtain targeted results, necessitating personalized in instruction for every student (IBM, 2002). In simple terms, student outcomes will improve if data is gathered about student work. The data is looked at and analyzed for patterns, strengths, and weaknesses. Then, a teaching style or method is adapted as a result of the analysis. Schools that engage in data-driven decision making value data analysis as a critical tool in meeting their instructional goals for student learning. Data analysis is the force that drives instructional and operational decisions, as it is used to improve student learning (IBM, 2002). Using data-driven decision making give schools and districts the power to manage learning results. Managing the learning results is a systemic process, involving the whole school, administrators, teachers, and students. First, the school or district determines a set of student

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies

performance goals based on academic standards and benchmarks. An example of measureable objectives based on data is included in this artifact which was a curriculum writing project. The

measureable objectives were the driving force of curriculum and instruction

Artifact 5-4 Curriculum Writing.doc

Once that is done a school or district must create processes for and assign resources to: hypothesis generation, evaluating the links between instructional and operational inputs and student performance goals; data collection, ensuring that relevant data is available and accessible; data analysis, to develop hypotheses about appropriate interventions; and intervention, choosing those that are deemed appropriate based on an analysis of results. Data-based decision making is certainly at the top of the priority list in Collier County where I completed my educational leadership practicum. At Osceola Elementary, all staff member are a part of two professional learning communities (PLC). Each staff member belongs to their own grade level PLC, and is also a member of a vertical PLC which specializes in one particular content area. Each PLC is required to develop a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goal that is developed through the use of assessment data collected and provided by Collier County. During my educational leadership practicum this summer I compiles school performance report from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, as well as data on Adequate Yearly Progress. I developed and designed a template that could be used to gain a visual representation of areas of progress and challenges for each school and grade

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies


level in the county based on FCAT data. This was an immense project, this artifact is an

example of one schools report

Artifact 5-5 Big Cypress Progress and Challenges Report.xlsx

How a school leader and an organization make decisions is driven by the shared vision organization. The shared norms, beliefs, and values provide the foundation in which decisions are made. Understanding and believing in this theory along with utilization of best practice decision making strategies will ensure that leaders make effective decisions to promote student learning.

Florida Educational Leadership Standard 5: Decision Making Strategies


References Beckham, J.C. & Raiford, S.A. (2003). The Florida school administrators legal guide. Bulverde, TX: Omni Publishers, Inc. Florida Department of Education. (2006). Florida school leaders: The William Cecil Golden school leadership development program. IBM. (2002). Change toolkit.

Owens, R.G. & Valesky, T.C. (2007). Organizational behavior in education: Adaptive leadership and school reform (9th ed). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.