This afternoon my district did a wonderful thing. We had a meeting. I know what you’re thinking, lots of districts have lots of meetings all the time. Indeed, but I’ve never been to a meeting like this one before.
This meeting was led by a group of people who’ve been teaming on shared leadership initiatives for some time now. Some of those people are our district’s union leadership and some of those people are members of our district’s administrative cabinet. The group spent some time in Maryland this fall studying an existing model of shared leadership. They spent an intense four or so days with one another. By “with one another” I mean to say that they were together day and night for the entire time. They ate together, they worked together, they walked together, and they traveled together. During that trip they spent just about every minute together with a group of people? You get to know one another.
When you spend every moment together, working with one another on common goals, thinking and planning, reflecting, formatting next steps, reaching out in new and innovative directions, and digging into actions that match your individual and collective core values, you run the risk of getting to know one another very well. Isn’t that how stakeholders in any given school community spend their time? Turns out getting to know one another very well is really good for organizational health and wellbeing. In other words, relationships really do matter.
I was talking with Liz Schroeck after the meeting. Liz is one of the facilitators, a union leader, and a wonderful third grade teacher in my building. She was on the “together every moment” trip this fall. She experienced the existing Maryland model first hand. She understands and firmly believes in the power of genuine relationship building. I brought up the idea of how fast paced our days are at school. We talked about some of the challenges involved in slowing down to focus on the relationship part when we’re running around trying to do lots of important things simultaneously. She reminded me that there’s a balance and that the relationship building process takes time and patience. Good point!
This meeting was yet another example of the faith that our district’s leadership has in the power of positive partnerships. Our superintendent, Dr. Shaner, is constantly reiterating that we are, “in the business of hope and inspiration.” What a cool testament to that notion that a group of teachers and administrators feels comfortable enough to spend their time working on getting larger groups of teachers and administrators together for learning, growth, and collaborative development. And what a cool testament to the authenticity of that group’s mission that Liz would remind me of the balance that needs to be struck.
I missed Thankful Thursday this week. It was a goofy one with two snow days, and I got thrown off a bit. How fortuitous that I had an opportunity to be involved in something today that I’m truly grateful for. I deeply appreciate the incredible district that I work in and the wonderful people who I work with. I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to a part of an organization whose core values speak so clearly about the value that we place on the people who make up our organization.
In what ways do relationships and relationship building make a difference in your life? What role do the people in your school community play for one another? Where is there room for growth?
Live. Learn. Lead.