Vision and (Di)Visions: Tackling thorny issues by involving faculty, students and mission-based thinking

divisions-sessionDay 1 of #NAISAC began with an engaging session with Barry Gilmore (Hutchinson School – TN), Matthew Rush (Allen Academy- (TX), Michelle Alexander (Cannon School – NC).

Each presenter shared a “challenge” in their schools- what happened? who was involved? Barry described an issue surrounding the school’s discipline’s system, Matthew shared a challenge with the school’s Diversity and Inclusivity statement, and Michelle described how she overcame a major curriculum challenge regarding Literacy.

Here are some highlights:

  • Great organizations grow and change.
  • Preserve the core (your mission), but stimulate progress (change).
  • Dealing with thorny issues at school involves letting people talk, giving ample time for discussion, talk about culture, lay out a process.
  • Give teachers autonomy/ownership in the solution, everyone has a voice,  who are people listening to?
  • There is power in visuals. A simple chart can help people understand the issue and possible solutions.
  • What do we do to arrive at a common vision? How do you move forward without bruising egos? Who is included in conversations?
  • Include all parties, buy-in makes a difference, ask the hard questions, transparency is key. Create a plan.
  • Solving thorny issues – Get the right people around the table. Include STUDENTS when possible!
  • Allen Academy’s students were charged to write their school’s inclusivity statement. Powerful message! inclusivity
  • Give (away) power to grow as a community.
  • What does dealing with tough times involve? — Change, Community, Growth
  • Board/student connection can be powerful.
  • Be transparent about how the decisions will be made. Everyone has a voice, not everyone gets a vote. Communication is key.
  • Provide opportunities for the community to be “heard.” Your opinion is valued.

The session ended with one of my favorite quotes:

Do you have all the right people on the bus to make the changes that need to be made at your school?

Thanks to the presenters!

Here’s a link to the archive of my tweets during this session.

 

 

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