Systems Management

What is systems management and why is it important? 

Districts, schools, and their surrounding communities are filled with individuals with the knowledge, expertise, and practical know-how needed to dramatically improve learning among adults and students. However, many of the existing norms, patterns of behaviors, ways of communicating, and policies and structures often constrain active learning and sharing of information among adults, between adults and student, and among students.  

Some educational leaders implicitly understand the strategic levers that need to be changed in order to improve the overall functioning of their organization, whether that be bureaus within state education agencies, a district, or a single school. Such leaders have figured out ways to navigate and manage their portion of the education system through various  'work-arounds' and individualized strategies that work in their particular context; however, such strategies are not always scalable or transferable to other settings. 

The dilemma facing educators and educational leaders is how to cultivate the art of systems thinking and systems management among existing leaders and organizations, and to do so in a scalable and efficient manner.

systems management3

What is the focus of systems management? 

We assist district and school leaders in developing a systems approach to educational management and improvement, focusing in particular on the development and use of research-based strategies and systems mechanisms (e.g., communication strategies, committees, networks of school leaders) to support local improvement efforts.  District and school leaders work towards increasing their capacity to analyze system interactions and data in order to identify key leverage points and design innovative systems mechanims to improve system coherence and alignment, leading to sustainable improvement.  

What are the outcomes of this work? What can we expect?

  • Increased Strategic Leadership - The development and implementation of strategies and mechanisms that ensure that innovative and effective strategies are actively used and institutionalized - for instance, by promoting shared accountability for learning and ongoing monitoring and implementation of improvement strategies.
  • Increased Strategic Learning - The development and use of strategies and mechanisms through which internal (to the district or school) expertise and knowledge can be used to generate new and innovative ways to support teaching and learning.  

Capacity building and organizational outcomes include:

  • Increased ability of district and school leaders, including teachers, to collaboratively and strategically problem-solve around identified district and school needs, issues, and challenges.
  • Increased ability of cross-role and multi-level teams to strategically develop and implement instructional, organizational, and networking strategies to address the issues and challenge that are having an impact on student achievement. 
INSTLL BasicLogo
© INSTLL, LLC 2015