CelebrateToday, our staff came back ready to work and learn. We started out by welcoming back all of our staff and having our new members introduce themselves to the campus. After our introductions and welcome back, we moved into celebration mode and honored all of the hard work that our teachers and staff accomplished last year:
- Built a new and innovative curriculum aligned to the new standards,
- Implemented our new PLC philosophy with the 3 Big Ideas,
- Created a positive CHAMPs behavior system,
- Piloted iPads in 10 classrooms,
- Motivated our students with fun activities centered around our learning targets, and
- Made outstanding improvements in our students' learning.
Our new campus theme, 'iLearn', was unveiled, and the concept set the tone that our campus will thrive on a low threat / risk rich environment to ensure that learning occurs within every child and every staff member (more on that in a later post). We then reviewed our compelling reasons to recommit to the mission and vision of the campus which was based on a Did You Know video as well as research that illustrates the consequences for students who fail to get an education (via Daggett, DuFour, and Mattos). The challenge was posed of each staff member to take one word from our vision that meant the most to them and write in their journal about how the word described the campus that we hope to become. The word led us to our values.
Mission & Vision
Teams reviewed our values and collaborated using Twitter #geschat (as an integrated PD activity). Each team selected one value that meant the most to them and summarized it in 140 characters or less, and each tweet elicited some poignant thoughts about our campus values. We then took a moment to reread each tweet from our projection screen, and I asked the campus to pick one word that stuck out the most in their minds. These are the patterns that described our campus values:
Linking Values to Norms
- Trust - We must have an environment where we can count on one another and be vulnerable with one another, especially in our times of difficulty and failure. Trust is foundational to collaboration.
- Safety - Our teams must create safe havens where team members know that their flaws, failures and mistakes will not be judged, but supported. Safety is essential to learning.
- Relationships - "Great relationships precede great performance", and we believe that we must never allow conflict to jeopardize our trusting relationships.
- Celebration - We must celebrate every achievement both great and small, campus-wide and individually, because we believe that celebration is the fuel for learning.
As teams came back ready to have lunch, the atmosphere was electric. Our campus was pumped about the upcoming school year and ready to set our SMART Goals. Teachers shared stories of how far they came last year and about dreams of what our campus could accomplish this year. The stress our new STAAR test didn't have a place in this room because the staff released themselves from the fear of accountability. They were recommitted to something bigger, something bolder and the real reason that they were called into the profession of education. They were recommitted to a culture focused on guaranteeing the very best education for every child, every day in every way.
Thank you, GES. It is going to be an amazing year!!!