January usually finds people talking about resolutions for the year that is about to begin but it has me thinking about the year that is nearly half over. With this in mind, pulled out my annual leadership goals to see how on track I have been- write theories of action, reach out to students, parents and teachers for feedback, and communicate the reasoning behind key decisions being made at my school. Let me translate those goals – communicate, communicate and communicate. It sounds so simple, but it is so important and sometimes hard to do. Like my recent mistake to write about a change in our school bus drop off location in our school newsletter and forget to directly communicate the change to teachers. Our school had talked about making this change for over a year and I assumed that it was a simple matter of having the children walk further down a sidewalk. I have since noticed and been told about all of the glitches this switch caused.
Communication is important and change is hard. And sometimes a lot more communication is needed about a change that you didn’t think was very hard in the first place. So here is another “simple” (read that as hard) change that I am implementing at my school – moving from Microsoft Office to Google Docs for my middle school students. What can be hard about Google Docs? I am using Google Docs to write this blog post right now. My high school aged daughter uses Google Docs to do her homework and share it with me when an English paper needs proofreading. I use Google Docs all the time, what could possibly be hard about Google Docs? Well, a lot can be hard about a tool that many of my teachers and students might be unfamiliar with (like that new bus drop off!). It all comes down to communicating about the change. Here are my plans after meeting with my technology committee this morning: write a memo to teachers about the change that includes a link to a Google Doc introduction video, include teachers in planning guidelines for using a new cloud based tool, organize some professional development to help teachers learn about this new tool. Have I forgotten anything? I know, I can ask my teachers if I have forgotten anything since they are the same people who will be affected by what forget!