What is Collaborative Leadership?
Transformational Community Schools are places where power is shared and students, families, educators and community partners are active participants in decision-making. In collaborative leadership, the assets and skillsets of the entire community are uplifted to where all members of the community school are recognized as having agency and collective expertise to transform their schools. Collaborative leadership, as a cornerstone commitment in California’s Community Schools and as a key capacity-building strategy, seeks to disrupt the longstanding power imbalance occurring in communities where young people and families have been historically marginalized and underserved. With a commitment towards relationship-centered and racially-just schools, collaborative leadership becomes the mechanism that helps move and sustain the community schools strategy towards transformation.
Collaborative leadership in community schools is the intentional and systematic shift in power that allows for greater representation and collaboration between all interest holders. A traditional model of school leadership demonstrates a hierarchical approach to decision-making, where decisions flow from the “top” or from State/LEA/District authorities, with little input and ownership from those most greatly impacted by the decisions. A shared decision-making model, distributed in leadership, has dynamic teams that allows more individuals to have a role in leading the efforts of the community school strategy. The shared leadership teams can include, but are not limited to, steering committees, site councils and site-based instructional and student support teams as well as parent and student leadership groups that are sharing in power, have a sense of ownership and center the decisions on student and community wellbeing for greater impact and alignment.