The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 4, 2008

Littleford’s recommendations to improve school climate

Recommendations for the Superintendent

• Let teachers get to know you.

• Let teachers know you will support them with parents as appropriate.

• Define Superintendent vs. Principal role more clearly

• Do not be reluctant to use your leadership role and to make the necessary decisions.

• Define decision making processes in advance and communicate guidelines for major decisions.

• Have someone with you for any key meeting to help maintain a record of what was said and decisions reached.

• Focus on and listen to the counsel of a few willing and wise trusted teachers and/or administrators.

• Better to say “I’ll get back to you” than give an incorrect answer.

• Communicate better by avoiding acting first and then informing people.

• Stick with a decision once made in an informed way.

• Admit mistakes when they occur.

• Limit use of taskforces, have fewer of them, keep them small in size and provide a clear description of their role in advance.

• Avoid large committees with large numbers of parents on them.

• Write complimentary notes for teachers’ files as warranted and share them with the teacher.

• Do not withdraw and be fearful of making decisions.

• Move your assistant near you to improve communication.

• Make sure you have reminders for meetings.

Recommendations for the Faculty

• Become a culture of appreciation.

• Appreciate the “good life” at Carlisle.

• Remember that the “Carlisle Way” is not perfect.

• Let go of Superintendent’s earlier mistakes/missteps and be more forgiving.

• Stop revisiting “old stories”

• Communicate directly with Superintendent and Principals about areas of concern – not to parents or in the faculty lunch rooms.

• Give the Superintendent a chance.

• Do not allow malicious behaviors by teachers.

• Do not allow malicious behaviors by parents influenced by teacher comments.

• Do not be intimidated by your peers.

• Do not condone or support “bullying” behavior of colleagues.

• Focus on your job in the classroom: the amount of energy and time spent on disgruntlement is unhealthy and the children suffer ultimately.

• When mentoring new teachers encourage a positive attitude.

• Focus less negative talk in CTA meetings and faculty lunch rooms.

• Challenge each other to think, act and speak more positively when confronted by negative behavior.

Recommendations for the Carlisle Teacher Association (CTA) Leadership

• Encourage and support direct communication between the CTA membership and the administration.

• Try to spend less meeting time focused on the Superintendent and more time on ways to work together.

• Encourage teachers to be less hostile in work settings like the lunch rooms.

• Work with the School Committee and the Superintendent on budget challenges by emphasizing positive results rather than concerns.

• Work to move forward, put anger aside and ensure an atmosphere of greater collaboration.

• Focus on less negative talk in CTA meetings.

• Do no not condone or support malicious behaviors by teachers.

• Challenge each other to think, act and speak more positively when confronted by negative behavior.

• Increase faculty attendance and participation at CTA meetings.

• Encourage consideration and discussion of different points of view.

Recommendations for the School Committee

• Encourage and support stability in behavior and committee membership.

• Present a united front to the outside world in public and in private.

• Refer individual concerns and issues to the appropriate administrative level.

• Show leadership in the face of challenge.

• Show professionalism.

• Help to elect two (or possibly three) new members who will be supportive of the Superintendent, collegial with the rest of the SC, and have some school committee, town committee or corporate board experience.

• Remember that the Superintendent needs guidance and feedback but also committee support.

• Operate by rules of healthy board governance.

• Do not join with or encourage dissatisfied parent groups seeking to undermine the school or its leadership.

• Develop an orientation process for new members.

• Participate in external organizations like the Education Collaboraative for Greater Boston (EDCO) and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC).

Additional school-related articles in this week's edition:


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