Thomas Van Soelen

Meeting Goals, Part 3 of 3


In our first and second posts in this series on Meeting Goals, we lasered in on the first four hours of an agenda with a group of newly-hired principals. In this last post, we share our intentions for the afternoon’s learning.

After lunch is a complicated time to teach K-12 students. I venture it can be downright dangerous to work with adults after lunch! Using a kinesthetic experience with high engagement and interest (of course, with a clear connection and purpose to the agenda) is a standard practice in many of our day-long agendas.

As we thought about this first day, including an experience with significant stress relief seemed important. Although it was still early in the year, these principals had been working at their schools for two months. Many of them had experienced radical life and family changes as a result of their new position.

During the debrief of Balloon Bounce, we made connections to not only how we are prioritizing certain pieces of our work (the earlier rank ordering during the morning session), but also helping staff to prioritize. The last round proved to be an opportune time to discuss the peril of doing all the work of school improvement by yourself.

Be sure to read the “What Happened” column in Table 7.
Read more

Meeting Goals

Meeting Goals, Part 2 of 3

Categories: Authors

In our first post of this three-part series, Shawna and I set the stage for a newly hired principal group, and how we were intentionally creating learning experiences that they could immediately apply back on their school campuses. When we last left our story, the principals had just assessed their school opening, identifying which actions they implicitly or explicitly prioritized. While confronting current reality, it is also important to not lose sight of successes along the way. Read more

Meeting Goals

Meeting Goals, Part 1 of 3

Categories: Authors

“It’s just one of those things,” she said. I was curious, so I asked Jackie to elaborate. “You know – the parts of the job no one ever told you about or helped you prepare for.” Many teachers would find alignment to this quote, but Jackie isn’t currently a teacher–she is a school principal.

She was referring to this: knowing how to create a meaningful agenda, with efficient and effective processes resulting in clear goals. It’s just not part of many university principal preparation programs, and if you were not fortunate enough to work with and for a leader who had these skills, you probably haven’t experienced artfully-designed and well-facilitated meetings either.

My co-facilitator Shawna and I are both in the business of meetings: Shawna as the Chief Executive Director of Organizational Learning at the Lewisville Independent School District (ISD) in Lewisville, Texas, and Thomas as a leadership and professional developer. Our successes hinge on being able to create and implement effective agendas.

This first blog post, a series of three, lifts back the curtain as we led a group over a series of months. Through these posts, we show our planning template, as well as the incredible power of the resources found at The School Reform Initiative. Read more