One contributing factor for successfully making significant change for us is open tw0-way communication. This connects to transparency and honesty and strong & trusting relationships that I’ve talked about before.
In addition to being available via email and for drop in conversations, our Principal (@chsprincipalJ), the Admin team and I try to have opportunities to talk (a two-way conversation) about how things are going, what struggles we’re working with and what is coming next as much as we can with a school of over 2700 students and 300 staff!
There are lots of written updates throughout the year – weekly Tech Tips and Charger News. Department, Instructional Council, other team meetings offer chances to share with and learn from staff in a variety of configurations, but not everyone is included.
We spent the last two days holding mini-faculty meetings. With a staff of more than 300, full staff meetings aren’t very effective and certainly aren’t two-way communication. Mini faculty meetings, where faculty attend during their planning period, are much smaller, usually under 30 people, and provide a chance for conversation. These are sort of the “state of the union” meetings – updates about our current state of affairs, what’s coming next, and a chance to hear feedback about current and new programs.
Before we began this journey, we collected questions and fears, answered every one and sent them to the whole staff. We did this again in the fall as we started the work. And this time, we asked out loud and offered the option to write questions for us to answer if they weren’t comfortable asking. We had zero written questions and a few asked outloud, which we answered honestly for the whole group.
By giving these updates in small group settings, it allows us to talk and chat with the staff rather than talk at such a large group. It is extremely exhausting to present the same meeting 7 times in 2 days…but totally worth it in the long run!