EDU 5200, Building Professional and Community Relationships 1

Course Learning Outcomes for Unit II

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

1. Analyze issues within their local communities
1.1 Investigate and uncover general issues impacting education within the educational setting and

the larger community.

4. Construct systemic steps to help individuals adapt to change.

4.1 Discuss ways you can accommodate the needs of your staff and faculty during the process of


Learning Outcomes

Learning Activity

Unit Lesson
Chapter 5, pp. 74–88

Unit II Compare/Contrast Essay

Unit Lesson
Chapter 6, pp. 90–102

Unit II Essay

Required Unit Resources

Chapter 5: Building Relationships With Your Internal Publics, pp. 74–88

Chapter 6: Embracing Your External Publics, pp. 90–102

Unit Lesson

What will it look like? That is a tough question. Let’s not put the cart before the horse. Take a step back for a

moment. In Unit I, we brought into the conversation research by Glickman, Fullan, Epstein et al., Sergiovanni,

and your textbook author, Fiore. In Unit II, we will explore three huge topics: change, motivation, and process.

One of the constants in education is change. We are all products of our environment and upbringing. Those
who have gone before us have impacted who we are and how we view the world. The transformation is a

slow process. When we view systems holistically, we can see the changes that have taken place, and, more

often than not, we can trace the steps that took place to get us to this point in time. Despite everyone
understanding that change takes place, this does not imply we like the change process. The vast majority of

us resist change. Later in this unit lesson, we will discuss the start of a process to build relationships internally
and externally. The key to this process and the acceptance of change is keeping it simple. Henry W adsworth

Longfellow (as cited in Mycoskie, 2011) stated, “In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme
excellence is simplicity” (p. 97). With Longfellow’s comments tucked away in our brain, we will seek simplicity

encased in quality as we move forward as teacher leaders.


What Will It Look Like?

EDU 5200, Building Professional and Community Relationships 2



Let’s start with some assumptions. Let’s assume “most schools and classrooms operated on the reward or
punishment model, and use stimulus-response, behavior modification, or assertive discipline techniques”

(Sullo, 2007, p. 5). For over a century and a half, many educators have (and some still do) assumed human
behavior is a result of some environmental factors, and most of those are out of our control as educators. If

that were the case, then educators could count on extrinsic rewards to get learners, regardless of age, to
comply. Veteran educators and administrators, however, recognize that by offering rewards for learning, we

are devaluing the learning process and defeating our goal of creating lifelong learners.

Alfie Kohn, in his 1993 book, stated, “at any age rewards are less effective than intrinsic motivation for

promoting effective learning” (p. 144). Kohn’s writings in the 1990s disturbed a lot of educators. His
straightforward observations and comments led to a great deal of self-reflection by the education community.

Keep in mind Kohn would be viewed by most as a constructivist when we discuss teaching and learning, and

John Dewey and Jean Piaget heavily influenced him. If we believe that learning should be anchored in
problem-solving, project-based, and purpose-based experiences, then we need to design our efforts in

building partnerships to improve educational practices along the same lines. As teacher leaders, we must
recognize that facts and skills development is important, but it is not the end. Rather, it is the means to reach

a greater end.

Pause! Take a moment to let the last couple of sentences sink in. As leaders, our role has changed.

How do we make this process more intrinsic? As teacher leaders, we need to create a learning/teamwork

environment. We need to create a culture of caring within the partnership. This begins when the members of
the group feel valued and feel that we, as leaders, care about them personally and professionally. Dozens of

people are attributed with coining the phrase “people won’t care how much you know until they know how
much you care” (Maxwell, 2004, p. 91). John Maxwell used the phrase in several of his talks and books. John

Maxwell is a leadership theorist who has written such books as The Maxwell Leadership Assessment and

Becoming a 360 Degree Leader. This caring culture is cultivated over time and is modeled in our actions as
leaders. Celebrating victories together, acknowledging challenges, and knowing partners more deeply all

contribute to this caring culture.

Part of this leadership style is simply being visible. “To be seen as the keeper of the vision, and to

communicate regularly and purposefully, school leaders must be visible to the internal publics of their school”
(Fiore, 2011, p. 95). Fiore does a great job honoring teachers as the “teachers are the most important adults

in the school” (Fiore, 2011, p. 101). He does not overlook the importance of students in the building and
places a high emphasis on the need for the teacher leader and other leaders to build trust with students.

Too often, members of the support staff are overlooked as having an impact on the climate in a school. Keep

in mind that most teachers and administrators are “move-ins” in the community. They grew up somewhere

else and moved here because of their job in the school system. Members of the support staff are often from
the surrounding community. Many of them grew up in that community and are now raising their families there.

They are not only part of your internal community but also the external community, and most have siblings
and other relatives they associate with in the same community. They are an important component in building

community relationships.

Fiore (2011) does a nice job explaining the external public. Parents, taxpayers, churches, religious affiliates,

legislators, school alumni, businesses, industries, and families without children in school are all important
components that make up the external population. As a teacher leader, it is important to recognize the role

each party plays in creating a positive learning climate both inside the school walls and in the larger

As the baby boomers reach retirement age, the community portrait of our external public takes on a slightly
different look. By 2010, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) claimed membership in excess

of 40 million members (Fiore, 2011, p. 123). That age group consistently votes and possesses a large
percentage of the school district assets. How does that impact your school? As a result of the increase in the

retired population, intergenerational programs in schools become a positive way to involve your external

EDU 5200, Building Professional and Community Relationships 3



Now, let’s switch gears.

In the Unit I Lesson, we discussed Epstein et al.’s (2009) six types of involvement:

 parenting,

 communicating,

 volunteering,

 learning at home,

 decision-making, and

 collaborating with the community (pp. 14–16).

As we read Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 in Fiore’s textbook, we begin to see how theory can become a reality. A

common theme in the reading and the case study analysis used in our book is making schools a welcoming


This effort to create a community portrait is important. When teacher leaders and others in leadership have a
clear understanding of the community as a whole, better facilitation, inclusion, and decision making take

place. Teachers in leadership positions is not a new concept. We have always had teachers who assume
leadership responsibilities outside of their regular teaching schedule or discipline. Those individuals were

often trusted by their colleagues, and they assumed their role as a mentor. Being trained as a classroom

teacher, however, is not the same as being an effective teacher leader. Teacher prep programs across our
nation are geared to help train and prepare teachers to meet the 21st century needs of our students. Little, if

any, time is spent on leadership. That is not a negative comment about our teacher prep programs, but rather
a recognition of the “tsunami” of demands on classroom teachers today. That same tsunami impacts families

and the community as a whole.

As we begin to think about what this will look like, we need to recognize that one of the most fundamental

human needs is the desire for power. Too often, in our current social and political settings, we view power as
a negative. “Power is the most misunderstood basic need” (Sullo, 2007, p. 94). In our conversation regarding

leadership, we need to reframe the impact the quest for power has in the life of a learner—regardless of age.
While the quest for dominance may be a negative desire, we need to understand that every individual wants

to have a say in their existence—whether that be when they go to bed at night, television viewing habits, or

advocating for their specific learning style. Every individual wants to have some input in his or her day. Too
often, we prescribe solutions for day-to-day issues without ever consulting those impacted by those solutions.

Teacher leaders need to understand that those they work with need to have some sense of control in the
process. This can easily be worked into our decision-making procedures and process.

Keep in mind this is a “power with” process and not a “power over” result.

Teacher leaders will be charged with the task of balancing the needs of faculty and staff with the need to keep
the process moving forward. While the emphasis may be on what is next, we must also honor the past. This is

best done through a self-reflection piece built into the process. This historical narrative not only keeps the
partnership focused on the end goal but also allowed new members to the process to understand better the

path the group has taken to reach this moment in time. It gives all members and even outsiders of the group

some perspective on past decisions, the culture and climate of the group, and the future direction of the
group. Celebrate the victories and learn from the setbacks.

Epstein et al. (2009) refer to “charting the course” (p. 14). Charting the course begins with self -reflection,

moves to action planning, and ends with the long-term impact of the course we, as a group, have plotted. The
entire process is anchored in the partnerships or relationships we have developed and cultivated.

So what will it look like?

Well, there is not a magic wand. Each community and each school is unique; thus, there will never be one
plan that fits all institutions—regardless of how many bills are passed in Congress, initiated by the occupant of

the White House, or mandated by a state legislature. Each process will stand alone. As a teacher leader, you

will have the insight and leadership skills to help chart the course for your unique setting.

EDU 5200, Building Professional and Community Relationships 4




Epstein, J. L., Sanders, M., Sheldon, S., Simon, B. S., Salinas, K. C., Jansorn, N. R., Van Voorhis, F. L.,
Martin, C. S., Thomas, B. G., Greenfeld, M. D., Hutchins, D. J., & Williams, K. J. (2009). School,

family, and community partnerships: Your handbook for action (3rd ed.). Corwin Press.

Fiore, D. J. (2011). School-community relations (3rd ed.). Routledge.

Kohn, A. (1993). Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A’s, praise, and other

bribes. Houghton Mifflin.

Maxwell, J. C. (2004). Winning with people: Discover the people principles that work for you every time.

Thomas Nelson.

Mycoskie, B. (2011). Start something that matters. Spiegel & Grau.

Sullo, B. (2007). Activating the desire to learn. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Suggested Unit Resources

In order to access the following resource, click the link below.

Too often, as caring adults, we make changes in the environment around our children to pave the road to

success, not realizing the lessons learned on the journey to success provide us with some valuable life

lessons. In this article, Alfie Kohn approaches that issue. How can we take what we learn from this article and
apply it to our role as a teacher leader and to working with internal and external adult groups?

Kohn, A. (2014, May 4). Trophy fury: What’s behind claims that kids are coddled and over celebrated? New

York Times.

Learning Activities (Nongraded)

Nongraded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to submit

them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information.

Research the demographics of your community or school district. How do you see those demographics

changing over the next decade? What might be the impact? How do you, as a teacher leader, meet those
changes proactively?

  • References
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