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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do Rock Hill Schools Listen to Students?

Below is an interesting idea that I found on the ASCD Inservice blog site:

Listen to the Students

Pete_HallWhen I started at a new school this year, one of the first things I did was to schedule meetings with as many teachers as possible. I wanted to know what was great about the school, what was working, what needed some attention, and what our collective hopes, dreams, and fears were. The teachers were incredibly insightful and provided me with a lot of information that drove my initial leadership moves within the building.
It wasn't until I got into the new school year that I realized I had a whole huge field of insightful individuals waiting to share their thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams, and fears, too. The students! Who could provide a more detailed and rich description of the "state of affairs" at my new school than the students who we were serving?
About a month into the school year, I took two steps. I asked every student to write me a letter, answering a few questions:
  • What's so great about Shaw Middle School?
  • What's working right now?
  • What should we change to make the school a better place?
After poring through hundreds of letters, many unequivocally honest, I made my second move: I began a blog. This enabled me to keep in touch with the students digitally, and at our blog site we could exchange ideas, share thoughts, and keep each other updated.
The thoughts and ideas of the student body are often overlooked. I have made an intentional decision to open my ears and my mind to the thoughts of our most precious clients - and I couldn't be happier with the results. Though we may not always agree, the lines of communication are open and the discourse is polite, respectful, insightful, and ongoing.OYEA_10
Post submitted by Pete Hall, Principal of Shaw Middle School, in Spokane, Wash., and recent author ofBuilding Teachers' Capacity for Success and Lead On! Motivational Lessons for School Leaders. Pete was ASCD's 2005 Outstanding Young Educator Award recipient.

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