Meet in the Middle: Revamping Past Practices for Our Student’s Future Success

Meet in the Middle: Revamping Past Practices for Our Student’s Future Success

Session notes from "Meet in the Middle: Revamping Past Practices for Our Student's Future Success," presented by Jessica Cabeen and Beth Houf.

What was the speaker’s main message?

  • Use every moment to build authentic relationships with students. The challenge: how can we move past surface level relationship-building to establish deep connections for lasting change.
  • Enhanced staff development through personalized, relevant learning. The challenge: how can you ensure that staff voice is woven into the professional development you are planning for the upcoming year?
  • Rethinking social media to dramatically boost school and community culture. The challenge: How can we push thinking that family engagement can only occur if done physically? How might we use some of the tools that we had to rely on during this COVID year to better engage all families.
  • Taking it all in, not all on. The Challenge: How can you set boundaries to ensure that you can be your best self at work and in life?

What were the speaker’s best quotes?

If you are not getting feedback from your students, you are missing a gold mine of knowledge about the culture and climate of your school.

Ground yourself in your why before you find your way.

If you are not getting feedback from your students, you are missing a gold mine of knowledge about the culture and climate of your school.

When it comes to professional development, some of the things we do have to be revisited, revised, or retired.

As leaders our ability to do what’s best for kids often lies within our ability to inspire, influence, and support the adults in our system.

We may be superheroes, but we are not made of steel; take time for you!

What is one strategy that you will implement immediately? 

  • Schedule your ideal week…prioritize your week, including self-care!
  • When you are in the classroom doing an observation on a teacher, take an extra minute and write a note to a student (with a focus on those in the middle).
  • Rethink interviews—have students on the committee or have them take the candidate on a walk of the building and listen to their feedback.

Notes by Todd L. Brist, Watertown Middle School, Watertown, South Dakota.

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