Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Non-negotiables for schools - is JOY one of them?

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I strongly believe in the power of relationships and that every student needs at least one "go-to" adult in their school

So recently while at a state leadership conference, I attended a session led by Carla Tantillo Philbert (@_coolclassroom) called "Strengthening Staff and Student Relationships via Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness."  I'm always looking for new ideas on how to increase my and other's abilities to connect with students. 

In the session, she talked about the non-negotiables at her school. She called them the no matter whats

At her school, it was a non-negotiable that adults wouldn't use eye rolls and that adults wouldn't say, "Shut up." While I think we can all agree that these are great reminders and that they shouldn't be used in a school, it got me to thinking about unwritten rules that we have for school staffs. At her school, it was known, it was discussed, and it was stated out loud. 

We were all raised differently, with different family, educational, and social experiences, so what may be acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another. Additionally, if empathy is the building block of good relationships, we must seek to understand our differences and create no matter whats for our schools that are inclusive for ALL of our students.  

In a previous post, I shared advice from expert Cynthia Tobias about non-negotiables. While she gives advice on how to deal with a strong-willed child, I believe her advice stands true when working with most students. 

Here are some areas where schools can discuss and decide on their non-negotiables:

  • Communication with students
  • Communication with parents
  • Administrative support
  • Assessment
  • Joy
  • Classroom Climate
  • Teacher Collaboration 
  • Instructional Technology
  • Lesson Design
  • Professional Learning
  • Instruction
  • Equity
  • (What else would you add to this list?)

It's important that we explicitly define what our non-negotiables are in our schools. 

I hope you will share in the comments your examples of non-negotiables you have for yourself and ones that your schools have established. Our work matters, and we're better together!

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