Principals in Reforming and Innovating the School System

Reforms imply change, giving up old ways of doing things; innovation involves new ways or ideas of doing things. In Philippine educational system, K to 12 program is major reform and the Senior High School is one of the innovation.

The driving wheel of K to 12 program is the intellectual effort that includes thinking up new ways. While Senior High School is the fruit of constructive change, the conceptual framework and management of the change process is crucial to the success and impact of innovation.

In the school system, who determines the ideas that can lead to constructive change? And who should lead the change process? Has the personality, competence and vision of the head of institution got anything to do with it?

Indeed, in making the school a culture of excellence and to be effective instructional leaders, the school principals and the faculty must possess a dynamic leadership that can address and cope for systematic change and innovation to pursue ever-higher levels of student achievement as key to a school’s success.

Ash and Persall (2000) stated that “the value systems and the professional training programs are often in conflict with the kind of systemic change that the times demand”. This means that the core values system and the means for acquiring skills do not jibe with the desired change of the institution. This is because some teachers and even school principals who attended various seminars and workshop were found wanting in the manner of applying what they have learned in their respective areas of concern.

It is in the hands of the school principals that the success of the school lies since they are empowered with great responsibilities for ensuring quality student learning; for ensuring teacher practice efficacy, and effective learning culture through their reforms and innovation. The leadership of the principal as an educational leader is stressed in this quotation: “Without sufficient and consistent leadership, the change effort will be put to a halt, the school will go back or retrogress to its old state, and succeeding in a rapidly changing world becomes highly problematic (Kotten International, 2010).”

Change is essential in today’s classrooms. A school that constantly examines changes and adapts to them has higher chance of providing quality education to its students (CHANGeXCELS Module 1, 2011). The efforts to improve public education in this country will not succeed until there is serious effort in strengthening school leadership that focuses on reforms and innovations in the school system. In the speech of Bro. Armin B. Luistro, Secretary of Department of Education, he emphasized the need for reforms in todays’ educational scenario as he clearly pictured what is expected from a Filipino learner: “The impetus for meaningful education reform is clear: the realities of our modern world require a different kind of Filipino. The Filipino must be a lifelong learner. The Filipino must be holistically developed. The Filipino must be globally-oriented and locally-grounded. Ang Bagong Pilipino – higit sa pagiging maka-tao, maka-Diyos, maka-bayan, at maka-kalikasan—ay kailangan magtaglay ng kasanayan at pananaw na angkop sa 21st Century. Ito po ang layunin ng K to 12 Program, na mabigyan ng sapat at pantay na pagkakataon tungo sa isang disente at marangal na buhay ang bawat Pilipino.”

There is a need for new leadership in the system to forge all of the various elements of today’s school reform and innovation efforts into a well-functioning system that makes sense for those working hard to achieve results for students. The schools need new instructional leadership designed to support and enhance the principal and the faculty’s ability to restructure quality learning experiences for all students through reforms and innovation in an organization culturing the formative leadership enhancing not only for student learning but for adults within the school “by working together to solve the problems of Philippine education with cooperation and collective responsibility (Abad, 2004).”

The reforms and innovations to be implemented should be characterized by an organizational structure that can meet the constantly changing needs of the learners; that can encourage change and support organizational learning. School principals must augment in providing quality opportunities to “exercise leadership, negotiate differences and propose solutions to shared problems to increase participation, completion, retention, and achievements of the school (Abad, 2004)” in order to reform and innovate the school system as part of facing the challenge of change of the K to 12 program.

Read: School Principals in Using Data and Information

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