We Need Principals with Principles: How #SAVMP can help

Pioneering Canadian administrator George Corous announced the School Admin Virtual Mentor Program #SAVMP on his blog. It isn't really as much as MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) as it is a MOOM (Massively Open Online
When you build bridges, interesting things happen.
Mentorship Program). One of the biggest challenges for administrators in addition to the incredibly tough, taxing job they have every day is how to move their district forward with vision into an interconnected world.

Our principals and administrators must understand principles of an interconnected world, how to present themselves in social media, and just how these online connections work. IN a world where experience not only counts, but is transformative, I think that George is onto something big. While aligning with Canadian standards for principals, I think that these could be tweaked to align with many other standards out there if someone is creative and jumps in.
Visionary people can spot trends. Visionary people are out front pioneering and experimenting. Visionary people help others learn. When you invest in others, you receive it back, multiplied.  

George has over 100 people signed up. It is open to Administrators all over the world. This is the sort of thing I think is going to be transformative for many. Teachers have had this sort of thing for a long time: webheads, Google Certified Teacher, Discovery Educator programs, Flat Classroom -- while not mentorships - that is what really happens. You end up with friends to mentor and share. 

While I'm sure that George will attract critics, let them suggest an alternative or join in this movement to see what happens when administrators around the world connect. I smell change in the air. I also have watched and know that what George does is quality. He'll be transparent. He'll teach us what they learn. He'll be open as well. If you want to sign up, read below and and pass this on to your principal or your administrator. Now, some "organizations" will likely say "No, we can't have this, let's start our own." That is fine -we need great mentorships. But we also need one in the "MOOC" style so that administrators can actually experience and see what this form of teaching and education is about. They need to experience what is happening when people connect in this type of flattening the classroom experience.  

This is an exciting thing and I'll tell every administrator I can find that is willing to learn and connect to join in. My best wishes, George and #SAVMP pioneers. There are really some great administrators rising up via social media and their blogs to show the world what world class really looks like. I have a feeling that quite a few who may not be active in social media will break out via this experience as well. Good luck administrators, education needs your leadership and vision! #SAVMP -- This intro written by Vicki Davis. The rest is a guest post by George Corous 

School Admin Virtual Mentor Program #SAVMP
Looking to help develop administrators to lead innovative school environments that meet the needs of students today, we have decided to start the “School Administrator Virtual Mentor Program” (#SVAMP). This program is to pair a new administrator with one that has more experience. This is not meant to be the typical “mentor-mentee” relationship, but the hope is that through active sharing, each administrator will be help to learn from each other, and others can learn from all of the shared experiences.

Program Design
This program is meant to last for the 2013-2014 school year (typically August to June) although it is open to administrators from all over the world. Each person that is a “mentor” will be paired with three (maximum) “mentees” that they will be able to connect through virtual means (email, twitter, videochat, etc.) to help them develop their leadership. There will also be an online sessions (once a month) that will help to share ideas for learning and leading with guest speakers. All of these talks will be archived and shared if they do not fit into your regular schedule. This is more than likely to be done through the use of Google Hangout.

All of the standards that we will be focusing on will be based on the Alberta Principal Quality Standard. They are as follows:
1. Fostering Effective Relationships
2. Embodying Visionary Leadership
3. Leading a Learning Community
4. Providing Instructional Leadership
5. Developing and Facilitating Leadership
6. Managing School Operations and Resources
7. Understanding and Responding to the Larger Societal Context
Although these “standards” were created within the province of Alberta, Canada, they are not unique to other areas of the world. The focus will be to continuously look at these standards and how they look in schools currently. The hope, through open group forums and mentoring, is to look at all facets of leadership that take place within schools.

This should NOT replace mentorship within your own organization, but is to give you an outsider perspective to leadership that you may not be receiving. It would be beneficial as a new leader to have mentorship within your own school/district.

Program Requirements
Each “mentee” will be required to keep an open blog to share their learning openly with the world, while also helping to create a digital portfolio of their work. Each “mentor” that takes part in the program should already have a blog to model what we are expecting from the people that they are mentoring. It will also be required that participants have a Twitter account that they will use to actively engage and share their learning with others in the program through the #SAVMP Twitter hashtag.

Since the program is free, the expectation to share through a blog and Twitter is crucial. Mentors should have a minimum of three years in administration. This is not limited to Principals, but we encourage Assistant Principals (Vice, Associate, etc.) to apply as well.

Application Process
To apply for this program, you will need to simply fill out the form below and indicate whether you want to be a “mentor” or “mentee”. Although there is a lot of interest to do both, you will have to choose one role.

Once applications are received, we will be looking to pair people with one another that are in the same continent. The hope is to get an outsider perspective on education and learn from a variety of people and viewpoints. We are hoping to accept all of those that apply, but it is crucial that we keep the “mentor-mentee” ratio no higher than 1:3.

Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Location will also be considered to try to pair up applicants to someone in a relatively close time zone. There are no set limits to the program for numbers, only to honour the 1:3 ratio.

Program Focus
To clarify, this is not focused on the development of leaders to use social media, but to help leaders openly learn and share with others so that we can all improve practice and do what is best for kids. This is also focused on helping to build relationships with a few people that you are able to bounce questions and ideas off of that you have known over time. It is imperative that we promote the use of social media to create strong relationships to enhance leadership.
If you have any questions specifically about the program, please do not hesitate to contact georgecouros@gmail.com.
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