I have been an administrator for seven years now and one thing that has become evident to me is that the more you allow Teachers to set their own goals and contribute to staff meetings the more meaningful they will be. As a teacher my administrators would say “if you have anything to add to the meeting please let me know ahead of time”. When I started my first Admin job I started my staff meetings the same way, then I discovered the WIKI and it changed the way that my meetings ran forever.
I posted a loose schedule of the things that I wanted to appear in the meetings then asked others to do the same. The idea came to me from two sources firstly I had watched the video provided by PBwiki which illustrates how collaboration works well to plan of all things a Camping Trip, see below. “PBwiki in plain english…
The second source of my inspiration was an administrators I knew that told the staff at my previous school that he would run the first staff meeting and that after that it was up to them. It after all was their staff meeting.
I continued to use the wiki system for three years, which allowed me to organize and archive our efforts. We actually started to debrief after events like Christmas concerts, and remembrance day services to iron out the bugs and reviewed our notes before we held the events each year after.
In a recent change to our school divisions image I was introduced to a new piece of software, OneNote which is a Micro$oft product. This product provides all the benefits of the Wiki and also does synchronous editing. I opened a file on our local server in a location that all staff have access to and as a result they can synchronously and asynchronously contribute to the form and function of our staff meetings. We have a robust archive of all the goings on at school and coupled with document scanning and it’s native connections to Outlook I can add documents to the staff meeting with ease. Some of you will say but google Docs can do even more, and you are right, Google Docs would allow me to do all that OneNote does and would also have the flexibility of being accessible through google hangouts but it exists outside of our servers which is something that is frowned upon and quite frankly with potentially sensitive information not worth the risk for this use.
In the future my division will have Sharepoint which will allow me to post our OneNote meetings to the web with all of the security necessary to make everyone feel comfortable.
Givining up your staff meetings is hard at first but we are a team and this is a [staff]meeting so you are not really giving it up you are simply repatriating it.