Chapter 2: Revitalizing the Staff Meeting
“In this fast paced educational time, sit and get is no longer a great use of time...this staff meeting, with it’s built in presence on the calendar, presents itself as a wonderful opportunity for a principal to sign a power shift.” (17)
The problem may be that the staff meeting has become an institution in the schools. It has been part of the school since a time where it was the best and fastest way to share information with the whole staff. How many times have you attended a meeting where you thought, “There’s another meeting that could have been an email?” Technology has made the current paradigm obsolete. With that in mind, we must ask ourselves what the staff meeting CAN be.
Ripp points out that we may be able to get more from the staff meeting if we simply reimagine the role of the staff meeting. Technology allows us the opportunity to share and distribute information before the meeting itself. What if information was disseminated before the meeting and the meeting was instead used as a forum from group discussion and collaboration? Just as with the flipped classroom model, this can be a very effective tool in staff meetings. Communicating key information prior to the staff meeting allows staff to go over the information on their own--this frees time in the meeting for discussion and collaboration. Minutiae could be decided before meetings rather than taking up a major chunk of collaborative time.
Ripp also points out that a shift in perspective can be achieved by placing control of the agenda in the staff’s hands. This can take several different forms. It may mean letting staff set agenda items and rethink the format of the meeting. Placing this type of control in the hands of the staff can lead to a more empowered staff and a group that has a greater voice in schoolwide discussions. Ripp also points out that this power can be extended to the parents and community members. “...by offering a platform for parents and students to share thoughts, you are starting a community discussion about what matters to everyone.” (20)
Through the use of such tools like Google Apps for Education and Google Docs, teachers and administration alike have the ability to edit live documents and create a fully collaborative agenda for any given staff meeting. This type of collaboration and team-centered orientation would lead to a boost in building moral, staff accountability, and overall contribution to everyone participating in the staff meeting. Everyone’s ideas would either be seen or heard through the use of these Apps for Education.
The Exploratory Team’s use of various Google applications(docs, drive) add to the development of curricula during team meetings in the afternoon and is an example of using this collaborative model.