05
Jun
11

in Climate we Trust?

I am reading two books on establishing a climate of trust on a school campus. Both are excellent in their own ways: one focuses on theory, research, and implications for practice; the other is extremely practical from start to finish. Together they are like good champagne – a theoretical backbone of chardonnay and a fragrant yeasty mouthful of bubbles. The pleasure of sipping comes from the grapes and the time that went into cellaring and riddling the wine.
Megan Tschannen Moran’s Trust Matters: Leadership for Successful Schools offers down-to-earth help for any school struggling to improve its climate, and an abundance of examples in an easy-to-read format for any reader who may be a stakeholder – parents, board members, administrators, teachers, staff.
Collective Trust: Why Schools Can’t Improve without It, by Forsyth, Adams, and Hoy offers an review of the role played by trust in organizations, and established a basis for trust standing at the center of any discussion of school climate. It challenges school leaders to think carefully and thoughtfully about the factors at their schools which contribute toward an improved climate as a whole. Although it is more specialized in its vocabulary, its rigorous attention to a variable which too easily has been marginalized as “affect” serves to demonstrate that research in the area of trust is reliable and significant. Anyone in a leadership position at a school campus should have a grasp of the “backbone” as they attempt to assess and improve her/his own school.
I would suggest having both titles on hand – Collective Trust as a resource, including sample instruments for assessing your school, which can be made available to anyone interested in understanding the methods and statistical validity of the research; Trust Matters as a group study book, with Chapters such as “Restoring Trust” [Ch. 8], helping everyone involved to understand her/his role in contributing to school improvement.
Cheers!

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