At our Worthington Schools convocation last week (8.18.2015) I was able to share my 6 expectations for all staff members in Worthington Schools. They’re very simple, but I believe if we can get to the place where all 1,250 Worthington staff members are following these expectations there will be great positive power for our school district. They’ll provide you a glimpse of where my heart is.
Be Kind to Kids We work in the kid business. As public school educators our job is first to love our kids. We must always treat them with respect and do everything possible to help them grow. It’s critical that we remember that they’re just kids. Whether they are 7 years old, 12 years old, or 17 years old, they’re kids. And as kids, they’ll act like kids. Sometimes because we spend so much time with them we lose perspective and we see them as “10 feet tall and invincible.” It happens to all educators from time to time. In Worthington we will recognize this and take a step back. As adults we will ask ourselves, “How can I make certain that all students are held to high expectations for learning and behavior but are always treated with kindness and respect?”
Be Present Being physically present is important, but just as important is being mentally present. Each moment throughout the day is an opportunity to engage with our students. Did we say “hi” to them by name when they got on and off the school bus? Did we talk in meaningful ways with students in the lunchroom, in the hallway, or on the playground? It’s not enough to be physically present we must totally invest in our kids to make the positive difference we seek.
Serve the Customer In 2015 students and families have many options for public education. They can learn online, they can go to a local charter school, or to a local private school. Students can take courses at our local universities and some of these courses are even offered on our campus. Worthington Schools has a whole lot to offer, but I think where we can, and will, differentiate ourselves from the market is with a personal approach. Before making a decision we must always ask, “How will this decision make things better for our students?” or “How will this make things easier for the parents of our students?” Public schooling is a service profession and we must get better at providing positive and proactive customer service.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate There are many great things going on in Worthington Schools, but if we fail to tell our story someone else will tell their version of our story. It’s critical that we take the time to share the positive stories that happen each day in our schools. In addition, communication has never been harder. Our families and our students need clear and simple communication that makes going to school and managing a complicated world easier. Finally, as a staff member in Worthington, what you say about your students, your school, or our school district has great weight in our community. Communication is everyone’s job.
Believe in Growth Every child in Worthington Schools should know they have a trusted adult, or many trusted adults in our schools, who believe in their ability to learn and who are vested in their success. In Worthington we will set high expectations for student success and will partner with our students to help them achieve those high expectations through hard work and positive relationships.
Be Kind to Kids We are in the kid business. Take care of our kids. As a parent I’m trusting the school district with the most important people in my life. I’m sending the best I have. Love them. Believe in them. Hold them to high expectations and help them reach those high expectations. Do it all with kindness and love.