World EduLead 2019: Dr. Howie Knoff

Dr. Howie Knoff is an internationally-known innovator and hands-on practitioner in education. He described an evidence-based process that he has implemented in thousands of schools over a 35 year period. It is organised around the 'Seven Sure Solutions to Systematic Success' which are all interdependent.

In summary the sure solutions focus on:

  1. Strategic Planning and Organisational Development - the aim here is to get the data and complete the reviews. Strategic Planning is a science that needs to be applied. Relationship building is the first step. The data will enable schools to plan for the future.

  2. Community and Family Involvement and Outreach -

  3. Staff Cohesion, Consultation, Shared Leadership and Teaming - it was highlighted here the importance of knowing every staff member. Dr. Knoff suggested each staff member write a bio outlining their skills. This would enable colleagues to target the person that can support them best. This is also about utilising the talents of your staff and getting to know them.

  4. Professional Development, Supervision, Coaching, and Accountability - identify, implement and evaluate effective school professional development.

  5. Positive Academic Supports and Services (Effective Academic Curriculum, Instruction and Multi-Tiered Interventions for Behaviourally Challenged Students) - classrooms are dynamic structure environments and need to be aligned to the needs of the students. Are teachers well-matched to their students and curriculum?

  6. Positive Behavioural Support Systems (Effective School Discipline, Classroom Management, Student Self-Management, and Multi-Tiered Interventions for Behaviourally Challenging Students) - focus staff and students on self-management, health, mental health, wellness and safety. Integrating problem solving and conflict resolution is essential. The requirement is to educate and understand where our kids are coming from.

  7. Multi-Tiered Services, Supports, Strategies, and Interventions - look at the symptoms and begin to plan the interventions. Ensure success with the interventions to avoid making students resistant to support. Make sure the whole problem is viewed together.

Comments regarding leadership...

Dr Knoff made some interesting comments around leadership. My favourite was:

'Great leaders take people where they don't necessarily want to be but where they've got to go'.

He also commented on the effects of poverty on our kids. Dr Knoff stated that poverty can influence a child's success but it doesn't predict it. There is an onus on teachers to be careful not to limit against our own expectations for kids. This ties in well with the current research on cultural bias and also John Hattie's meta-analysis.

Ben Ward-Smith


Lytton Street School, Feilding

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