Know | Trust | Empower | Connect | Honor
Recently a school leader posted a question on LinkedIn asking how to boost morale with staff during challenging times. My immediate response was to share the K-TECH framework because it helps build the foundation for a safe and purposeful classroom for everyone– students and staff. K-TECH is the acronym EDWorks’ uses for integrating characteristics of a safe and purposeful school environment into overall school improvement. K-TECH is aligned with major youth development initiatives including Josepshon Institute’s Six Pillars of Character and Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets. K-TECH was originally created by Ohio’s Center for Essential School Reform as part of its Framework for Building Safe and Serious Schools. While we often talk about K-TECH in reference to improving school climate for students, these same strategies can be applied to building relationships with and effectively motivating staff.
In this five part blog, EDWork’s Manager of Partnership Development and Technical Assistance Coach Michele Timmons shares ideas for implementing K-TECH as a strategy for building morale and creating a community of adult learners who can truly meet the needs of the children they serve.
Today’s focus is K- Knowing Your Staff Better.
Knowing Your Staff Better
The key to knowing your staff is in learning how they think, what they need, as well as what they want out of life beyond school.
- Conduct learning style and leadership inventories to learn more about how your staff members think, work and learn. Search the Web for quick, easy and free learning or leading inventories for adults. Conduct one or two of these inventories during staff development each year. Use the results to more effectively plan professional learning communities, and other team focused work that occurs in your school. As a principal, I used this Understanding Leaders activity with my staff and it helped me better understand why my staff interacted with me and each other in certain ways. I also discovered the majority of my staff fit into two of the four leadership categories. In the future, one of my hiring criteria included finding staff members who would help balance our team and be a high quality teacher.
- Learn more about “who your staff is outside of school.” What are their hobbies? Do they have children, spouses, or pets? What really excites your staff members? Consider creating a Staff Person of the Month (or Week for large schools). Invite staff to give you photos and personal statements that you can post in the hallway to show them off. It is a great way for you to learn about them and also for the students to get to know them too.
- Ask your staff members about their personal and professional aspirations. Do they want to earn an advanced degree? Do they want to take on more leadership in the school or district? Do they want to become a black belt in karate? Do they want to travel abroad? Keep this information in the back of your mind. When you come across information that links to individual staff member interests, share it. Your staff members will be impressed not only that you remembered, but that you cared enough about them as a person to encourage them to meet their goals.
Check back next month for Part Two of our five-part series on implementing K-TECH as a staff morale building strategy.
For daily ideas on improving climate, culture and learning supports in your school, follow Michele Timmons on Twitter. You can also connect with EDWorks on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and through our website.