Over the weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending the NSCC (National School Climate Center)'s Policy Institute in New York City. At the institute, we focused on school case studies, possible policy, and the ways in which policy could lead to effective and consistent practice in schools. I'm excited to bring back the energy of the Institute to our School Climate Team.
One of the most important things I took away from the institute was to begin all school climate work by focusing on assets - not challenges. It's overwhelming to look at an entire high school and feel the weight of administration, staff, the kids, and the community looking to "fix" our school. As our School Climate Team Leader, I think about the struggles, the task of "getting everyone on board", about mending broken relationships, the trepidation of a contract year coming up, the inevitable exhaustion of attempting to balance rigorous curriculum development with grading with grocery shopping with new evaluation systems.
This made me think about a video that a colleague shared with me. The video was created by a super trendy animation and design company called The Glossary (check their website...I'd like to use this to inspire my creative kids about the sweet, new kinds of jobs there are our there for them!). The video "This is Water" hits the heart of Foster Wallace's commencement speech: we have the power of choice, of decision. Amid the frustration and mundane and overall exhaustion of the work ahead of us as a school climate team, I truly believe that an effective school climate team must model this attitude of choosing: we exist to model deciding to be positive and making the choice to focus and build upon our assets.
"This is Water" Speech by David Foster Wallace & Video by The Glossary