A school’s Aspirational Environment cannot exist without the staff, or High-Performing Team. As a leader in this time of crisis, how do you get teachers invested in doing all the necessary work to create a new school environment? How do you invest them in rolling up their sleeves, even if the union contract says it’s not required, even if they don’t have the training to teach remotely, and even if they may have their own children at home with them? And how do you navigate all of the legal considerations around health and safety, such as deep cleaning of the school building, caring for hourly staff, and state reporting requirements?
Cascading communication in such uncertain times, Katie-jo Ramirez (Legal Prep, Chicago) facilitates daily staff huddles to provide information to staff as quickly as possible, conduct check-ins with them on how they are coping, and communicate to all about the health of staff and students.
To ensure that all staff members would continue to get paid, Kawika Chun (Equitas Academy #5, Los Angeles) assigned specific tasks to his school’s hourly workers, such as manning the parent hotline.
Because of the positive collaboration between the Los Angeles union and the district, Dorothy Cotton-Kindred (University Pathways Medical Magnet Academy, Los Angeles) has been able to communicate a clear plan for teachers to deliver online instruction and requirements for students to log 4 hours of online learning. She created a master schedule for students and teachers and is also holding weekly all-staff virtual meetings.
Adam Sparks’ (Acero-Cisneros, Chicago) commitment to communication has kept staff engagement high. He has been spending time participating in virtual calls with cohorts of teachers meeting with their Leadership Team members, Leadership Team meetings, professional development sessions, and informal staff huddles.