Thursday, May 19, 2016

Superintendent Julie Hackett on relationship building strategies at MASBO

Superintendent of the Taunton Public Schools
posting as we go
"Educational reform need not be at the expense of relationships. It is quite possible to have both."
"children suffer when people don't take time with relationships"

"if we don't get this right, entire communities suffer, children suffer, and we don't get them where we need to"
relationship matter, because when they are neglected:
  • job loss: relationships allow sustaining of professional status
  • reforms are unsustainable without them: without a relationship, changes vanish once people do
  • school communities suffer
  • children are ultimately the greatest casualities
Of superintendents, asked, the following think school business officials (SBO) should:

  • 49% favor a big picture approach and strategic approach over traditional finance functions
  • 43% ability to transform regulatory burden into opportunity (as she says, good luck in MA!)
  • 63% technology a make or break
  • 80% place a huge value on people skills and see their SBO's as lacking them

  • Scylla and Charybdis as the position of SBO's (hired by school committees, fired by superintendents)
    Struggle of change-over of school committees and learning curves; budgets getting passed, particularly through multiple towns; collective bargaining negotiations; municipal government relationship; internal audiences within the district; relationships with school committee members

    Nine SBO skills for the future (from Business Insider)
    1. analytical wizards
    2. increasing amount of risk
    3. adapt to new tech
    4. managing people
    5. decisions in politically charged atmosphere
    6. manage big data
    7. decisions using outside analytics
    8. non-financial business drivers and value-creation
    9. drive talent acquisition and retention
    when superintendents are asked, 3/4 feel SBOs will increase role in the future
    1/3 think SBOs not up to task

    Entry and strategic plans
    operating protocols
    community input teams

    Norms and beliefs protocols: beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors
    study subjects and consider unique characteristics; ID what matters most; hold yourself accountable; review data; categorize (subdivide); draft and communicate and redraft; get consensus; build in times to reflect and refine
    "it's like square dancing in middle school": no one thinks it's a good idea at first, it takes collaboration, and some of those who scoff the most become the most invested

    community input teams: reflect on your challenges and define the problem; create a web of opportunity; enlist others and assign charges; bring your "blockers" to the table; face the public; develop a communication plan..."nothing that builds relationships more than when people work on a common problem"
    "...particularly helpful when dealing with race, class, power, and culture"

    Seeing a lot of parallels here with the MASC district governance program

    "Relationships are job one"

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