Whenever there is a list produced to state the ’21st Century Learning’ attributes needed for students to find success in a world that is ‘unknown’, collaborative skills are often near the top of the list (along with communicative skills, problem solving and critical thinking). To create the environment that best allows for collaboration, trust and strong relationships are needed.
This past year, in my district, we have been looking at several areas of growth and in particular, around the biweekly administration meetings that are held by our DLT (District Leadership Team). As professional development chair for my association (CPVPA) I was asked by the new Superintendent to facilitate the process for re-igniting the meetings to make them more authentic, engaging and timely in the issues discussed. The process began with a working meeting with a handful of members to see what our meetings could look like and ended with a facilitated session with all the participants to see where we could make changes to improve the structure of the meetings to make them more engaging and model some of the collaborative structures for administrators to take back to their staff.
Two issues emerged as important influences to improve the meetings: building trust; and creating collaborative learning opportunities. These might seem obvious to create a greater learning culture, but over time, these qualities can be lost in the day-to-day and year-to-year. We have, based on these influencers for change, revamped our meetings to be more inclusive, and giving opportunities for all voices to be heard. It has its growing pains, but so does all change.
Support, reflect, refine. This is the process we are using fir the meetings. But beyond all that, you must keep the wellness of your community, as we go through change, at the forefront. Healthy relationships allow for the navigation through the uncertainties of change.