How diverse are our workplaces, really? In particular, how diverse are the teams of employees—such as teacher professional learning teams—that regularly work together to make decisions that affect the organization, its stakeholders and customers (e.g., students), and their own effectiveness as professionals? And, why does it matter? Diversity within teams is important because, as research demonstrates, diverse groups make better decisions.
In the last 25 years, the role of the school principal has become more complicated and more complex. The word “and” is important here because things can become more complicated without becoming more complex, and they can become more complex with becoming more complicated. The new normal for principals is that they have to face and embrace increased levels of complexity and complication on a daily basis. The question is: What does this mean for those educators who are in that role?
“Validating what we are doing as a community of educators has been a key to be being a connected educator,” says Craig Vroom, a middle school principal in Hilliard City Schools. He shares how being a connected educator has given him a new outlook on his work with teachers, the community, and the impact of educators across the world.
“Through my digital connections, I have learned about and participated in new experiences and phenomenal professional development opportunities…I have been led to invaluable resources and professional literature to help my own staff as well as others," says Cathryn Petticrew, an elementary school principal in Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools. She describes social media as a "lifeline" for her as a new principal who had very little mentoring before taking over a building.
When staff are engaged, they are invested in the organization’s success and the success of those around them. When educators are engaged, they are invested in the success of the school, their colleagues, and most importantly, their students. How do we foster engagement in our schools?