How great groups make great schools
Training leaders how to conduct effective meetings is important, but it's not enough to ensure that the professional development process is valuable. This field book shows educators how to develop group culture, enhance facilitators' skills, and optimize the group's most precious resource—its members. The authors describe how to form working committees, task forces, grade-level, and department teams, and faculties that are more effective and better equipped to resolve complex issues around student learning. Specific topics include
Understanding eight principles that underlie effective groups; Learning the five standards for effective meetings; Setting clear goals and roles; Practicing new ways of talking for improved collaboration; Examining perceptions and mental models; Enhancing energy sources; Working with conflict; Developing basic facilitation skills
This practical guide's special features include the newly updated seven norms of collaboration, a sample team assessment survey, instruments for assessing meeting effectiveness, an extensive bibliography, and practical examples embedded throughout the text. Practitioners will find a valuable road map for leading effective, student-focused school improvement efforts.
Chapter 4: Creating Focused Agendas
Creating Focused Agendas
The group was fairly large for a working team, 13 people when everyone was present. Increasingly, however, not everyone came, even though the group met only once a month. The facilitator regularly sent an e-mail a week before the meeting asking members for their input on the agenda items. The same one or two people responded almost every time. Thus, the agenda regularly reflected their ideas, along with the items left from the group's work the previous meeting.
As the facilitator created the agenda, he tried to put routine items first and deeper work later. He placed information-sharing pieces at the end of each agenda, with the result that they frequently were not heard by members who left early.
The meetings regularly ...