It was 10:45 AM on a Wednesday and I was sitting near the stairs of one of our partner schools with 2 School Transformation Leads (STLs) beside me, discussing “School Leadership Forum” with one of our teachers. Having spoken continuously for over 15 minutes now, they were extremely happy. It was my first introduction to School leadership forum. The energetic vibe and enthusiasm of everyone wouldn’t fail to catch your attention. The efforts they were putting in planning to organize SLF was amazing.
It was my first time in School leadership forum, a quarterly event of Mantra4change which focuses on building the capacity of school leaders in our partner schools. It is a whole day event that majorly focuses on learning from each other and working towards systemic school transformation.
This time it was held at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore in which 27 school leaders from 12 partner schools participated. The whole event was centered around the theme of building relationships. The day started with a visioning activity wherein our school leaders shared about the dreams and larger picture for their respective schools.
The vision ranged from having school as a happy place to making school purposeful and meaningful for students as well as society. The aim of this activity was to align the leaders having the same vision. The school leaders were also asked to tell one highlight from last month and see the value in the practices they are already following.
In continuation with the theme, the next activity focused on realizing common strengths and challenges prevailing in their respective schools. This main objective and learning were to make them understand the power of collaboration. By this, they got to know that most of them are ‘sailing in the same boats’ and can work together to solve a common problem.
We also saw our School leaders immersing in an amazing leadership forum by Ms. Indira Vijayasimha from Azim Premji University on “building relationship with teachers and parental involvement”. This session helped them to explore what it takes for school leadership to build positive relationships with the parent community.
School leadership forum came up as a remedy for school leaders and teachers where they discussed their expectations and wishes from both ends.
This session ended on a positive note by Ms. Vijayasimha, “Teachers efforts cannot be equated with money, I don’t think salary is the main motivation for us”
In the end, we had ‘Milaap’, true to its meaning, where school leaders were exposed to other organizations named Key foundation, Udhayam, Quiz Shala etc. It was organized with the intention of exposing them to a network of other organizations. It was organized to help schools build the relationship with other organizations so that different intervention can be brought into the schools.
For transformation to take shape, we need many hands coming together. This event helped school leaders to collaborate and discuss upon standardized assessments for students. They have also decided to visit other schools and carry back best practices.
“I was really intrigued by the amount of planning, how each session was linked, leaders coming together to share their views. I would like to do the same thing for the teachers with respect to classrooms. I also want to take other people or teachers for the next SLF,” said Mr. Kesari Samachar, Sharada Shri Public School
“I was moved by the teamwork. The culture of supporting each other is something I would like to bring to our school too.” – Ms. Yasmeen, Crescent High school
Looking at enthusiasm and participation from our school leaders, we are happy that our school leaders made the best out of such an enriching experience. Happy, Relationship-building, Intense and engaged describes the successful completion of SLF 2018.
Our event would have never been possible if there wasn’t reciprocation from the other side too. School Leadership Forum with these amazing school leaders was a wonderful journey altogether.