Dialogue, Discussion, Decision Making
Meetings are a great place for open dialogue and discussion about particular topics. However, if you don’t plan carefully for the meeting, the meeting will end with all talk and no action. This ending, or lack thereof, causes frustration for many people in organizations because time is a resource that can never be recovered. Let me share how Apollo Middle Prep used the collaborative inquiry process and SEL culture and climate walkthrough data to move dialogue, to discussion, and to decision making.
To make impactful and sustainable change, a focus for MNPS is culture. Therefore, several schools, including Apollo Middle Prep, are participating in the SEL Culture and Climate Walkthrough. Of course, data has no meaning, but must be interpreted for it to have meaning (Lipton & Wellman, 2017).
For most people, culture is a sensitive topic as we all contribute to it, and it requires inward reflection to work to change it. Using the collaborative inquiry process, Apollo Middle Prep was able to use the culture and climate data to not just talk about culture, but have dialogue, discussion, and decision making about it.
Grade level teams first engaged in the topic by using a strategy called visual synectic by comparing culture to a picture of Walt Disney World. This activity begins the dialogue about culture and fosters a psychologically safe environment. During the exploring and discovering phase, discussion occurred as teachers and staff identified observations from the SEL culture and climate walkthrough data. The observations were used to begin generating theories of causation. Finally, this information was used by the Apollo Middle Prep’s leadership team to make action planning decisions for moving forward. To learn more about their exciting work, please feel free to reach out to Mr. Shawn Lawrence, the Executive Principal at Apollo Middle Prep.
Lipton, L. & Wellman, B. (2017). Data-driven dialogue: A facilitator’s guide to collaborative inquiry, 2nd ed. Sherwood, CT: MiraVia, LLC.
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