What would a school look like without a principal? For some of us, this is difficult to imagine because we’ve never seen such a structure before. And yet, it is happening throughout the United States and the world. These models take many shapes, but here are a few of them.
Teacher-led Schools – Imagine a school where teachers don’t simply have influence, but they are in charge of most to all the decisions about how the school functions. There is usually still a board (at least in the US), but pretty much all the site-based decisions reside with the teachers themselves. Administrators or district leaders don’t select, design and/or carry out the curriculum. The teachers do it. The same goes for many of the school policies about conduct, grading/assessment models, teaching strategies, etc. While teacher-led schools take on many forms, in some of these schools, the teachers even make decisions about hiring, evaluating one another, managing the budget, and terminating one another.
- Teachers Should Have the Option of Working in Teacher-led Schools
- Teacher-led Schools Idea Hits the Media and Blogs
- Trusting Teachers with School Success (book)
Parent-led – How about a school where the parents collectively make key decisions in the school? This is happening is the UK. In fact, it may well be the teachers who create the school in the first place. In other instances, as in the case of homeschooling, parents create cooperatives where children gather and parents take the lead for the learning experiences. In still other instances, parents are creating cooperatives to extend, shape, or supplement the learning experiences at virtual schools through local cooperatives…sometimes coming close to being a school within a school.
- Parent-led Schools: Adventures at the Blackboard
- We Will Have Hundreds of Parent-led Schools in the First Year
- Colorado Virtual Community Parent-led Cooperatives
Student-led or Student & Teacher-led – Probably one of the more widely known expressions of this comes from the Sudbury schools, where students select the curriculum, learning, establish polices, lead groups that address conduct, etc. In some, teachers also have a vote, but it is an equal one to the students. More broadly, this student-led focus is present in a variety of democratic schools around the world, with varying forms and levels at which students are responsible for the decision-making.