Improving Our PLC – Communication

   When I first became principal of Spring Lake Middle, several people expressed a concern to me about the communication structure. I think it’s a common concern in most schools that teachers feel left out of the loop for a lot of decisions and planning that happen in a school. Schools are complex multi-layered environtments with a lot of moving parts. It’s takes years of commitment, planning and vision building to build and maintain any effective system and a good workable communication system is critical to the process.

   Good school leaders want teachers involved and informed in all aspects of talks or planning. The best ideas come from group share and brainstorming. I’ve been fortunate that the last schools I’ve been an administrator in have had a core group of teachers who either implement great ideas or rally the troops to help drive school initiatives. We need that involvement.

   To help create a more open, effective system, we’ve designed a meeting structure that will address the curricular and operational concerns.

  • Mondays – School administration/leadership meetings [morning]
  • Tuesdays – Grade level meetings [teachers meet with administrative rep]
  • Wednesdays – Collaborative planning [facilitated by instructional coaches]
  • Thursdays – Protected content planning
  • Friday – Instructional/curriculum support training, bimonthly

   Moving foward, we need to focus on several things:

  • Formalize talks and planning – being more systemic about what we do and adding structure [agendas, products] to our meetings;
  • Protect what we are implementing;
  • Communicate the vision – I have to make it my mission to paint the picture of what our school will look like if we build and maintain a great communication structure using this plan.

   It helps that we have a great staff! Once we lay out they need, they are all in for the good solution. Commitment to the vision and plan will be integral in moving us forward

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