Each year, new recommendations are handed down to schools.
These recommendations come in many shapes and sizes. Standardized curriculums must be implemented. State assessment scores must be raised. Safety standards must be introduced. Health requirements must be enforced.
The reality is, most recommendations are exactly what they claim to be: recommendations.
Unfortunately, many educators treat recommendations as “gospel” the second they are announced.
When this happens, a vicious circle of dysfunction goes into motion.
District leadership organizes strategic meetings to carry out the latest guidance.
Building leaders demand staff immediately implement the new initiatives.
Teachers scramble to execute the additional demands.
Parents demand to understand how their children will be impacted.
As the cycle continues, morale tumbles and culture deteriorates.
Rather than accept every announcement as truth, educators need to relax.
After taking time to understand and assess the guidance, educators should determine what is feasible and practical in their setting. As opposed to implementing recommendations verbatim, leaders would be wise to engage stakeholders in discussions for the purpose of meaningfully interpreting and integrating the suggestions.
The communities I have worked are not immune to overreaction. We have staff members who worry about how new regulations will impact their jobs. We have community members who run to social media to voice their concerns.
Sure, there is nothing wrong with being proactive and thinking through a potential plan. However, when anxiety levels rise and hysteria sets in, this does no good for anyone.
As leaders, we are wise to get ahead of the news. We must be intentional in our our communication to assure staff, parents, and community members that we will work hard to make the best decisions for our district and our students.
Educators - when new guidance is provided, please stay calm. Do not overreact. Do not worry that the sky is falling. Instead, realize you have the power to determine how guidance is implemented in your own setting.
Everything will be alright.