Words can be impactful in many ways. The poignancy of words, spoken or written, is dependent on on many things, but I believe atmosphere and tone are especially important. Words spoken in the right environment, and with the appropriate tone, can be powerful and motivating. Of course, the opposite is also true.
This is my 16th year in public education, and during this time I have participated in innumerable meetings. Some are productive, while others are endured; nearly all are believed to be necessary. I believe it is paramount to meet and discuss critical issues. It affords opportunities for stakeholders to ask questions and express concerns. The process is just incredibly inefficient. An hour of conversation might produce one or two outcomes, or worse, it results in another meeting date with no resolutions.
Over the last 16 months, I have had the privilege of working with a group that is the antithesis of routine committee work. I was asked to help facilitate a technology steering committee. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Copious meetings and conversations have produced abundant and meaningful results.
Two weeks ago our school district distributed over 1700 Chromebooks. All students in 8th -12th grade received their own device. Watching students receive these devices was extremely gratifying. This seminal moment made me think about the beginning. In May of 2016, 17 people gathered in a small meeting room to outline district technology needs. We met every 2-4 weeks throughout the school year and engaged in open and honest conversation. We were driven by a common purpose, and focused on solutions, not problems. We had limited time to solve dynamic problems, and managed this time wisely. We respected differing opinions and listened to concerns.
Prodigious results originated from ordinary conversations. Words spoken in a purpose driven environment, with a positive tone. Harry S. Truman popularized the saying, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. “ The people listed below embody this expression, but I think it’s important to recognize their efforts. Because of their dedication, 5000 students will be afforded new and exciting learning opportunities.
Special thanks to the Jackson R-2 Technology Steering Committee- you rock!
Andy Helle, Cory Crosnoe, Danna Bruns, Liz Seaton, Erica Cooper, Janelle Pope, Janet Silliman, Jennifer Bennett, Jen Pehle, Jay Spurgeon, Kelli Guyot, Lance McClard, Sam Trankler, Seth Harrell, Tom Schreiner, and Travis Dambach.