Saturday, October 13, 2018

Here's what... So what?...Now what?

This year's Marshall High School's Principal's Advisory Board has a non-traditional 13 members (4 seniors) and 3 each from the different grades. See, I am already breaking the 'rules' to be more responsive to our students' voices. As we've gotten going, we are being guided by some of the things I learned when I participated in the Adaptive Schools Seminar training over 4 days last June with other school leaders and Administrators in Marshall and around our area. The basic premise is to become a better leader through more coordinated efforts to build better, stronger teams and build our leadership capacity for effective, efficient work. That's really what I took away in a nutshell. It was honestly one of the best facilitated opportunities to learn I have been fortunate to be a participant. With that training came a plethora of 'activities' in categories that I can use as a meeting planning and facilitator. Many of them I intentionally continue to plan to use with teachers and staff during our monthly professional learning sessions, illustrating through 3 questions:

What? (what are we doing?)
Why? (why are we doing this?)
How? (how do we proceed/process?)

Using these frames has helped me grow to be more intentional and come with a plan for teachers, staff and now this intrical leadership group of learners in the Principal Advisory Board. 
Google Classroom serves as our hub in between meetings and during meetings to store our agendas and any other associated documents to guide our work. 
We have an agenda to guide our work each time we meet. The students said this would be helpful, so I have set this up for us:
Principal Advisory Board Running Agenda
As I began to think about the purpose of this team, with whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the end of May before I officially came on board as principal, I wanted to ensure that we 'got things accomplished' and the learners were put in a position to have Voice and Choice to empower them. I thought back to another day I was present at MHS when Principal Sniff laid out the Studer Group data that our learners take, our employees take, and our parents/guardians take each year. It is a dipstick on 'How are we doing?' that our district leaders use to help propel us forward to be responsive to the data, needs and goals to drive our buildings and district forward in these key areas. On June 11, the teachers/staff at Marshall High School saw a lot of data, and among it was our Student Engagement data. A lightbulb went off and I found my purpose to help drive our work as a Princpal's Advisory Board. 

What if they get their hands on this data, owned by them as students at Marshall High School, and we developed a plan to be knowledge-based decision makers? 
Beginning in September, that is what I did. 
The kids received this data in their Google Classroom to analyze around two key questions:
What do you notice?
What do you wonder?
3-year trend data: Studer Student Engagement Data MHS

Top 3 indicators, Lowest 3 indicators

When we met at the end of September and again on October 12, I listened and captured in writing the Principal Advisory Board members' individual reflections, and put them together to share in a cohesive document. Practicing transparency and improved communication is a leadership move for you, our Marshall High School community, and our teachers & staff. You deserve to know what our kids are thinking and how, as a leader, I will respond to that thinking to improve our climate and culture, and our achievement. 

This is what they said:

When we meet on November 2, I will ask these members "So what?" and "Now what?" as we already dug in to the first question, "Here's what..." when they saw the data. I am really excited to see how our work as a team evolves to impact the culture as I continue to unite our community, staff/teachers and learners as #1Marshall. I welcome your feedback in this work, as I am not the solo expert. I am getting to know these kids and my own learning continues to evolve as I dig deeper into the needs of our teachers and staff and our entire learning community.

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