Learning Forward has partnered with Fierce, Inc. to publish exclusive posts on Fierce's blog throughout the year. Here's an excerpt from Stephanie Hirsh's post appearing on Fierce's blog today:
During my first year on the job (at Learning Forward) I facilitated many strategic plans for school improvement and/or professional development. The two and half day process always began with a grueling discussion of school beliefs. What were the beliefs to which we could all agree?
We were convinced it was important for each school team to have conversations about the underlying beliefs everyone had in common. We spent hours debating phrasing, like "all vs. each," "each vs. every," "learning vs. success," and "achievement vs. learning."
Years later I wrote a book on planning that also recommended beginning the process by detailing beliefs. I recalled the strategies we used to ensure we arrived at a consensus set of beliefs -- because we were determined to settle on a list before we moved forward with action.
And yet over the years, I have found myself questioning the importance of this amount of time dedicated to an exercise that meant so much too so few.
When I compare all the belief statements I facilitated over the last two decades, I wonder if any school today could even locate their original beliefs that we developed together.