Today is the last day of Term One and I am sitting in my office thinking. There is a lot of stuff that I could be doing, or reading, or replying to, or leading. But today I am going to have a little bit of “it’s all about me” time. I have blogged about this before, feeling guilty about taking time during the school day to self-review, but I am happily over that (and because I know I will be in school most of the Easter break to catch up anyway).
So as most of you know I have been rather busy creating my first ever Strategic Plan, you can read about some of the troubles with that here. But other than that small hiccup, I have really enjoying the process and now understand the importance of a strong school direction. Honestly, I have never bothered to read a Strategic Plan before, I could never see the relevance to me as a classroom teacher, and as I had such a fantastic management team around me, I could just get on with the job with being the best teacher and learner I could be.
Now that I have switched to the ‘dark side’ I can really appreciate the hard work that goes into this process, even those awful surveys I hated filling out. It is a real art, coming up with a valid community consultation process, which accurately gages the needs and values of a community without letting the ‘haters’ use it as a subversive means to undermine you (not that I get that here at all, I am very luck in that respect).
As I am in the unique position of having only, don’t laugh now, six families and one teacher to survey I decided to do this a little differently. I wanted to find out three things – the values, the attitudes and the skills my community believe is important for their children to have by the time they leave as a Year Eight. To do this I used a ‘Role on the Wall’, an old school reading activity commonly used with guided reading groups. Basically you draw a hollow person, and the kids brainstorm the characters attributes. On the inside of the character you brainstorm their personality and beliefs etc, while on the outside you brainstorm their physical characteristics. For my consultation I asked the community to complete the brainstorm below and I am pleased to say that I received a 100% return rate, yep that’s right 7 out 7
Ok, so getting 100% wasn’t so hard, but the information I received from the community (I was able to survey the kids too) has been invaluable to me while I flesh out the Strategic Plan. The BOT also really enjoyed going through the information, collating the data (I just typed it out, verbatim, then cut it up so the BOT could sort it and stick it to the three headings Values, Attitudes and Skills) and discussing what really was important to them as well. In the end we came up with ten fantastic values and attitudes which will help set the direction of the school.
Creativity; Self-Motivation; Individuality; Courage; Respect; Integrity; Enquiring Mind; Community Minded; Responsibility; Being the Best We Can Be.
I do realise, that this kind of method would be impossible for a larger school, but using this with staff, or a BOT maybe a really valuable process to work through. One BOT member commented that it was really nice not being told which values they could choose from and they they felt like they could have more ownership of the process. This made me feel great, I mean isn’t this exactly what our wonderful NZC is all about?