Kindness All Around the Table

You walk into a room full of professionals who closely work together, who speak a specialized language of Edujargon and who are about to share information with you about your child ~ information that you are anticipating may be hard to hear.   You have read your child’s report cards. You have been there each night as they try their best to understand how letters combine to make words and how numbers have a hidden pattern, which never seem to make sense. You brace yourself for the sharing of the “report” and wonder what next steps lie ahead.

Today, at school, our Leadership Learning Team facilitated a number of these meetings and we knew that our first and foremost job was to alleviate all of the above-mentioned fears for our families.

As a brand new school, we’ve had less than 2 years to build trust with our families and because of that we have been very intentional in how we structure our meetings so that families know how much we love and care for their children.  We are also intentional in sharing the best practices that happen each day and how masterful our educators are at assessing and evaluating student achievement.

When we first opened, my role was to set the stage and model the language and structures that we would use during these meetings.  Yet, within a short time I found myself fading more and more into the sidelines as our Leadership Learning team took the lead by using the kind, caring language, supportive body language and navigating the trajectory of the meeting, making adjustments along the way. We are intentional in watching the reactions of our families.

Today was another shining moment for our team, as I listened and watched them share detailed, and evidence based profiles of students ~ all the while using a strength-based lens.  Our educators are masterful at providing such an incredible range of opportunities for all students to succeed.  There was no doubt that they loved their students and I watched as parents beamed at the examples of reaching new DRA levels or mastering more sight words than they had a few months ago.

Then when it was time to share the results of the standardized test, the stage had been beautifully set and together we focused on the positives and had a plan for those areas that were going to require some additional exploration.  I watched with pride as our Learning Support Teacher brought her chair directly beside a parent and calmly, kindly and most importantly in parent friendly language explained the results.  You could see a noticeable relaxed expression on the parent’s face.

I made a point of connecting with all of the educator’s involved in today’s meetings and sharing my gratitude for a job well done.  Their work today made it possible for us to move forward and learn more about our students so that we can create programs that will more effectively meet their unique learning profiles.

However, the narrative does not end there…. Tonight as I pulled into my driveway, I received a text message from one of the teachers, asking for the contact information for our Learning Support Teacher.   She wanted to send her a text message and share how “fabulous” she was with one of the parents today.

My pride in how the meetings had been facilitated was intensified by my pride in how our team supported each and did not let an opportunity go by without sharing appreciation.

It is no wonder that we can speak so naturally about students with a kind, caring and strengths-based lens ~ it is how our Currie Crew sees each other.