I was writing my annual professional goals with the performance task “Regularly reach out to staff, students, parents, and external partners for feedback and help” in mind. It feels funny to write this language into my goals because I talk to students, parents, and teachers every day and feel like I get lots of feedback. Still, I know that receiving feedback is a essential part of my job and that more is better. I also know that receiving feedback is not always easy. Asking for feedback means making yourself open and I have seen the potential damage that open feedback has caused in my community through an online public forum. Our last budget season was tough and resulted in 4 votes on the school budget when it usually passes in one vote. These two quotes summarize the back and forth that occurred:
One citizen writes – Last night I read the (town) Newsletter for March 2010. In it was a one page article called “School Board Notes” that was essentially a long advertisement to vote yes for the proposed school budget. There are better reasons to vote against the budget than for it.
Another citizen writes – Your criticism of the school board and the budget(s) they’ve presented over the past few years has been constant and unrelenting, yet year after year, your name has failed to appear on the ballot for a position on the school board (or for state representative for that matter). Don’t you feel you could have more control over what the final budget looks like if you were actually involved in preparing that budget?
I guess the phrase that best applies is: “Put your money where your mouth is”.
Now I have heard of many principals creating their own school blogs where the school community can comment what their principal has said. So, despite the recent “flavor” of discussion that has existed my town, I am taking a small leap and have created my own school blog. It’s only been up for a week and I have had twenty-seven visits. No comments yet, darn it. Is this being brave or is it just being a good principal in the 21st Century?