I’ve had the privilege of talking with almost 100 Heads and Board Chairs of small schools over the past 3 weeks through workshops I co-led (with the amazing Dr. Valaida Wise) on reentry and recovery for small school heads and Board chairs. I am always so energized by learning with such intelligent and creative folks! These school leaders are confronting the need to plan and strategize this summer in dramatically different ways than normal in order to be ready for school in the fall. Along with just about every other school leader in the world, they are thinking about health and safety while physically distancing, how to effectively implement a robust, mission-aligned curriculum from a distance, and how to support the social and emotional well-being of all of their constituents- students, faculty and staff, parents; while respecting and responding to their diversity. These school leaders are unique, however, in that they lead small schools and this context provides both distinct challenges and significant benefits and opportunities.
From the myriad of discussion topics we engaged in (over 2 sessions each, with schools in 3 different associations), here are five things that emerged as themes that all schools should be considering:
By gathering small school heads and board members together to share information, ask questions, and (sometimes) commiserate, we affirm the strength, value, and need for our small schools. The wisdom of these school leaders is vast and important. Together, they have weathered the pandemic-required emergency at-home learning this spring, and together they will reenter school and recover from this unprecedented time by sharing insights and support. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from them!
Is your Board leading your school using the most effective governance practices? The Building Better School Boards Professional Development Program enables independent school Boards and Heads to improve their governance practices so they can ensure the sustainability of their schools without wasting time or money.