This past week I read an article about school culture I found on Huffington Post, written by Michael Haberman. The excerpt below is worth reading...
Culture is intangible, but it's essential: you can walk into a school and know immediately whether you want to be there or not. The same thing goes for the students, and the staff.
But just because culture is intangible doesn't mean that it's undefinable; Nadine Engels and her co-writers describe "a shared sense of purpose and values, norms of continuous learning and improvement, collaborative collegial relationships... and sharing experiences" as factors that contribute to a positive school culture. Innovation, leadership, teamwork, and "goal-orientedness" are also important.
You have heard me say before, Sigler Elementary is a special place and there is no place I would rather be principal. The teachers work tirelessly, the opportunity for student growth is infinite and our parents truly appreciate the role we play as educators.
What I would like to focus on this week is the collaborative collegial relationships that were on display this past week at Sigler Elementary.
The week began much like any other at Sigler Elementary, but as the week progressed, the number of staff that were ill, off campus or home taking care of loved ones who were ill, increased daily. By the end of the week, the number of staff off campus reached the double digits. How unsettling is that for our students? Just ask the teachers who remained or the teachers that work with students who demand consistency and a routine from day to day. With out a doubt, the teachers that were out, were out for good reason and they need to take care of themselves and/or loved ones so a small illness does not turn into a big one, but in the midst collaborative collegial relationships were on display at Sigler.
We meet the needs of all students at Sigler Elementary and every now and then, we have a student that requires some additional attention and if not provided in a way that student sees fit, it may not bode well for the remainder of the day or the immediate future. As this very case, played out this past week, the teacher working with the student was quick to praise the number of staff members, that supported her, closed doors as needed, stood by just in case, or just kept their distance and exchanged a glance that said, "I am here if you need me." Regardless of who did what, this teacher felt the support and collaborative collegial relationships she had and knew, she was not alone!
We all know, this coming week is STAAR testing for grades 3-5 and while each grade level has their own plan for how to review/make the final push, 5th grade was spending their afternoons rotating students through specific science rotations, one per day for each day of the week. As the week wore on, a couple teachers were off campus and the need for additional staff was necessary. As a certain teacher began to search the halls for increased support, teachers in other grade levels began to offer their services and even agreed to send student teachers to 5th grade so the rotations could continue as planned. If not for the collaborative collegial relationships, stories such as this do not exist.
The example extends far beyond staff members at Sigler. The example of collaborative collegial relationships carries over to substitute teachers (referring to this person as a sub, is not accurate as she is so much more) as they accept jobs on behalf of teachers who are ill at the last minute, even when the "sub" was not planning on working for the week.
Collaborative collegial relationships carries over to our parents as well, as a certain mother volunteered her time to assist two of our teachers with Friday Night Live, which ended in the early evening at the end of what you can tell, was a very long school week.
Finally, how about collaborative collegial relationships across the community as members of Chase Oaks were on campus Saturday morning, painting stars in our carpool lane and painting a room at Sigler meant to provide comfort and support to families in need.
The article refers to the term "collaborative collegial relationships" but I would like to simply call it FAMILY! I am proud to me a member of such a strong "family" and I hope you are too!
Have a TRRFCC Week Sigler Elementary!