07 October 2006

Death by Meeting

Communication isn't well done by this district. We think we're small---and we used to be---but we really aren't: 1600 staff and 12,500 students strong. Even in an age of e-mail, internet, and SharePoint, information transfer is often a constipated process. Will more meetings solve any of this?

I now have five regularly scheduled meetings each month that I didn't in the past. Two are individual meetings with Boss Lady 2.0. This is something that I asked for and my guess is that my need for them will ebb and flow with the rhythms of the school year. I didn't have this arrangement with the previous Boss Lady and it did impede some things. Ah, but now there is a Curriculum staff meeting once a month with those of us who work at Central Office (and a quarterly one involving the addition of classified staff and literacy coaches). There is also an elementary specialists' meeting and a secondary specialists' meeting...smaller affairs for those of us who are most directly involved with curriculum in classrooms. (The Curriculum staff meeting also involves the techs and library services staff.)

I understand the need for these discussions. As odd as it may sound, just because we all work in the same office, we don't necessarily know what is happening with different grade levels and content areas (I told you...communication isn't our strong suit.). But will there really be enough to talk about that would fill these 8 hours or so of meetings each month?

There are three and a half more work weeks this month...and I have only a single day left that is unscheduled with one meeting or another. Don't forget, I'm off to schools to work with beginning teachers, coach science staff, and more. I am starting to live in fear that I'll have so many meetings that the really important things I want and need to do for students and teachers can't get done. It is already starting to feel that way.

I am not an all hat and no cattle sort of person. If there is something to be done---let's it get done. I think that has been key in developing the relationships that I have with teachers. I worry that too many meetings will be the death of that. I plan to be vigilant here this first month as we test the waters with this schedule. I won't hesitate to pull the plug on meetings before they pull the plug on my program.

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