Every year as I watch my son’s hockey teams start their season it is the same thing. For the most part, his team consists of a different group of boys each year. They do not start off playing as a team.
It seems as if each player is trying to prove themselves as the best goal scorer or the best defenseman or the hardest hitter. After they get a few games under their sticks, they come around to the idea that hockey needs to be a team sport and at that point we start seeing some well-played hockey games.
At the beginning of the school year we had a number of changes in our school staff. At our first staff meeting, before the school year began, we were all getting to know each other, and maybe at that point, we were trying to prove ourselves to each other as the boys on the hockey team do, but more likely we were all wondering how we might get to know each other well enough and fast enough to construct the strong team we all know is necessary to do what is best for our students.
As an administrator, I am constantly in awe of the strengths and abilities of the people I work with, but at the beginning of each year I feel a bit unbalanced as we try to figure out each other’s strengths and build the trust necessary to work as a team.
I strongly believe in teamwork. I also strongly believe that each member of the team is equally important. We cannot run a school and educate and support our students without each member of our team including our bus driver, our custodians, parents, teachers and support staff .
We recently completed our first term reporting and student-led conferences. Certainly a busy and stressful time for everyone. As I walked around the building on our conference nights talking to students and visiting with parents I had a feeling of celebration of the learning of our students. I had so many positive conversations and I credit the strength of our school team for happy students and families.
This year we have spent a great amount of time building our Student Support Team. This team consists of our RTI teacher (Response to Intervention), our LST teacher (Learning Support), our school counselor, the vice-principal and myself. Individual classroom teachers are also included when needed. We talk about academic needs, behavior, attendance and many things directly related to how we can support individual students and families. We have been having student support meetings for a number of years, but this year, under the direction of our school division, we have been able to make our meetings much more focused with accountability and follow-up that only benefits our students. We are now tracking all of the students in our building and truly working as a team, to ensure we are doing our best to meet the needs of our students.
It has been an interesting process and involves everyone in the building. The best part for our students is that we are getting to know them well. We are starting to really know their stories, we try to be aware of their ups and downs and their individual needs.
The importance of a strong school team cannot be understated. I see the benefits to our students every day. Long gone are the days when we can come to school, close our classroom doors and do our thing.
What I see in our school everyday is…we are smarter together.