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What Are They Meeting About Anyway? The Forestdale PreK-2 Reorganization Planning Team

By Marc J. Smith, Principal – Forestdale School

In my time as a teacher and a school leader, I have been a part of a plethora of committees, work groups and teams that have tackled a wide variety of challenges and topics.  Without exception each group has started slow, struggling to find its identity, set a course for action and build momentum that will sustain projects to their completion.  However, in each case the identity, action and momentum did come and results were fantastic.  The RPT is proving to be no different.

In early meetings we spent the majority of our discussion in three areas.  The first task for the group was to establish norms for the group.  Norms define the assumptions and “behavioral” guidelines that the group will operate under.  The RPT norms are posted at the bottom of each agenda and help ensure we maintain a well-functioning group.  On the November 6th and 20th meetings we spent a significant amount of time debriefing the site visits.  Please click here to see the summary that Trish Hill and I wrote following two of our visits.  Additionally, one of our parent representatives, Lara Bryan-Rest, did an excellent job representing the wide range of parent concerns and asking questions that not only representative of her concerns, but also of those she had heard from others.  She generously summarized her notes and they can be found here: RPT site visits_LaraBryan.   The final area of conversation centered on determining the work this team would do this year.  We spent a significant amount of time brainstorming possibilities and also took a tour of the building to ensure all members were familiar with the physical space.

On November 20th, we completed our third meeting and at the conclusion of that meeting I felt that we were really starting to come together as a unit.  We worked to clarify the work we will be doing and began to develop an organizational structure that will allow us to move forward in an efficient and productive manner.

As a result of the meeting last Thursday, we decided to divide ourselves into a series of subcommittees that will work on specific projects.  The subcommittees will be as follows:

  1. Kindergarten Registration/ Forestdale Entry
  2. Play space
  3. Communication
  4. Culture, Beautification and Atmosphere
  5. Transitions

Members of the team were asked to consider each of these subcommittees and how their skills and talents best match up to one.  During our next meeting (December 4th) the RPT members will sign up for a subcommittee and the remainder of the meeting will be designated to working in subcommittee groups.

At this point I feel that we are beginning to gel into a tightly knit group and that we are developing some momentum that will propel us successfully towards meeting our goals and supporting students, families and staff through this transition.

You can read about the formation and membership of the Forestdale and Oak Ridge RPT Teams here.