In our last email, we addressed building relationships, because how we relate to one another matters. But how will we know if our efforts need an upgrade?
Are the culture (how we behave at school) and the climate (how your school feels) of our character building in line with our vision and our mission?
This is where data mining and feedback come in.
When we willingly take a look at what’s on our plate, we’re more likely to know what we’re missing for that balanced character diet.
Here are some things to consider:
Attendance: When a child isn’t in school, s/he can’t connect with the class family or learn the academic material covered that day. What percentage of children are at your school present and ready to learn every day? What are you doing to reach out to those who are absent? Does the teacher call home? Do the students write cards of cheer, telling the student that s/he is missed? Is there a designated Wellness Buddy who will take notes and help the absent child catch up upon their return? Taking a critical look at our attendance rates is key to knowing whether we’ve created a safe space where children feel loved enough to bloom and grow; practices like these can help to increase that attendance rate and keep it where you want it to be.
Discipline referrals: Track your discipline referrals over a three-to-five-year period; are they increasing or decreasing? Who are the children most often referred and for what type of infraction? Are they coming from certain teacher’s classrooms? What does your school have in place so that your students learn soft skills like how to apologize and forgive, to make things right, to restore what they’ve harmed in the class before they’re sent to the office? Finding the answers to these questions will help you understand what kind of additional skills and support that your teachers might need so that they’re able to facilitate conflict resolution within the class family and keep their students in the classroom as much as possible.
Test scores: While a one-day snapshot is not the strongest indicator of the academic progress and success of a student or a teacher, it can help us to see gaps as we look at what’s working and what isn’t quite there yet. Use these scores to see where your campus needs to improve and grow as you work with intention toward hooking and engaging students with meaningful ways to master your material and meet state standards.
Surveys: A powerful way to gather feedback is to ask for it on a survey, not only from your students and staff members, but also from your caregivers and your community stakeholders. Giving everyone a voice will surely serve as a guide for what you might put on and take off of your plates as you strive to meet those recommended portions of social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual growth for a healthy whole-child balance. If there’s a risk of not getting paper surveys back, send out of a link by email blast to offer a digital option. Better yet, open up your Computer Lab or Chromebooks during Open House or an event like Book Fair and invite guests to complete the survey right there.
It’s that time again, the perfect opportunity to start over, begin anew, to make those long-overdue changes. What if, instead, we were to take a more compassionate, mind-body-soul approach to renewal this year? No lofty resolutions to break. No outrageous goals you have to hurt yourself to meet.