As leaders in education, instruction and curriculum are always critical topics to take on. Assessments and student data are also always at the forefront of our agendas. This information is important to analyze what is happening in our classrooms, how learners are achieving, and because we work in an era of accountability.
While facilities management does not come to the forefront of one’s mind when the term “instructional leadership” comes up in a conversation, school infrastructure matters. As leaders, we must be intentional about make sure that our buildings provide proper space and support for teachers and students to do their work. We focus most of our time where it should be, on what happens inside classrooms, but we must also make time to think about the classrooms themselves.
A clean school is a healthy school. Attendance is critical to the success of a school. While we cannot prevent every absence, paying attention to how clean our facilities are will help reduce staff and student illness. Small things like paying attention to how full hand soap dispensers are, how clean floors are, and that doorhandles are fingerprint free are tasks a leader can pay attention to during a busy week.
In the digital age, we must have computers, tablets, other devices, and strong internet access. Technology does not replace teachers, but it will enhance their practice and allow for students to have an individual learning experience. Knowing how many devices a school has, how they are used, and what, if any, problems exist with access are important facts to know for an instructional leader.
Classrooms that are well lit are shown to be better learning environment. Making sure that classrooms have high quality light bulbs and clean windows to promote natural light will help the learning process.
Infrastructure matters. Make time to sit down with those who manage your facility. Custodians, maintenance workers, members of the technology department, and your district operations manager. Chances are, they are waiting on a call and a chance to collaborate. Meeting with building leaders is a chance for them to see the purpose in their work, and is a side of instructional leadership that is worth your time.