"..at the heart of innovation are people, not stuff."- George Couros, p. 91, "The Innovator's Mindset"
Part II of "The Innovator's Mindset" is entitled Laying the Groundwork. Nothing is as important when trying something new as is laying the groundwork. Preparing people for a change, no matter how big or small, is no easy task. The most important element in preparation is involvement. It is vital to have conversations with those impacted by the change but it is more important to listen. I think that there are two groups of staff right now that are my guiding force in creating meaningful change- our building leadership team (BLT) and our newly formed school improvement plan (SIP) team. Each of these teams is different but their importance cannot be overstated. A brief description, from my point of view, follows.
This team consists of representatives from each grade level, special education, specials, coaches, and technology. They truly provide me the pulse of our school. We have shoutouts for staff, share concerns about the school, and work together to plan changes for our school. This team's honesty with me has helped us become a better school for kids every year. They take this responsibility seriously and our conversations always end with the understanding that we share one common message with our teams and staff.
This is a brand new team made up of staff volunteers wanting to provide a clearer vision as well as a Literacy and Mathematics goal. The staff on this team all volunteered to join. We are in the midst of creating our vision (right now it is Striving for Personal Excellence) and determining grade level and school-wide goals. This is difficult work but each member of this team has joined for one reason- to make our school better for the kids. We have a good school, but the enemy of great is good so we still need to move forward.
Why do I mention these two teams? The members of these two teams are my ears and eyes when I'm not in classrooms or hallways. Their honesty with me is not faked. They know they can speak their mind and that we will work through difficulties and celebrate successes. We work at every meeting to build trust with one another and to share a common message. We are laying the relationship groundwork to provide us the direction and support to help our school become great. And we know that it is a work in progress but one that we are more than willing to tackle with a watchful eye on what's best for kids.