Tie And Jeans

Trying Honey for a Change

Teachers do a lot of work on Sundays, but we very rarely have meetings on Sunday. This is certainly the first time I’ve boarded a plane with colleagues and set up shop for a long vision and planning meeting in the hotel restaurant’s overflow room.

It all felt a little surreal, which didn’t help our agenda-challenged group keep much of a linear thread.

But out of all that chaos, amid all the practical concerns about tech logistics, budget and IT projects, we articulated the central and salient idea for what we’re DOING with all this infrastructure.

These are the tools that enable our school to be radically open and transparent in our goals for students, the curriculum we choose to teach (and what we choose to avoid), the courses and schedules we offer, and what students both produce and learn.

The truth is we have a huge road ahead of us in bringing all of those areas in line with principles that will have real relevance for the class of 2025. But the sentiment around the tables seemed pretty clear – we can’t wait until we’ve “solved’ the problem of transformative and relevant classroom education and then issue a press release. What will enable us to make this transition is a school culture dedicated to collaboration and honest communication, which means opening the doors before everything is perfectly tidy.

There are dozens of major consequences that come out of a decision like this, and a thousand small practical steps. Tonight, I wanted to try out some new language for a school “social media policy.” Ugh. Our current handbook reflects a lot of the Facebook-angst that still bubbles through the culture, and is clearly focused on what people shouldn’t say (anything that could reflect poorly on the school), and who shouldn’t connect with whom (mainly faculty and students). Any violation, the policy assures, could meet with disciplinary action. With those worries at the heart of our only written statement about any form of social-anything, no wonder our faculty are reluctant to start up a blog or PLN.

So here’s my five minute draft of new language that might actually encourage faculty to develop their professional identity online.

THE SCHOOL encourages all faculty and staff to make productive use of social media and communication tools in their professional lives. Faculty and staff are encouraged to mention and link to THE SCHOOL as part of their professional identity and learning network. As a courtesy, please provide the Communications Office with a link to public pages where you publish your connection to THE SCHOOL.

Comments and critiques are welcome! Does your school or organization have a positive blogging/social-media policy? I’d love to see it, or hear any stories of success or challenges it’s faced.

Hopefully we’ll make progress on this and someday I’ll be able post a draft with the school’s actual name.


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