Monday, 6 June 2016

Data as Ingredients

Rex brought in an outside consultant and sat as one of the staff as they went through essentially a story-building exercise. Where does the story begin? What is the un-hindered, ideal Dream of Brooklands School? What is the Path toward that dream? What are the obstacles, challenges, and landmarks along that path?

The chart-paper lining the room filled up. Linear thinkers made lists with arrows and flow charts. Non-linears drew thought-balloons and doodles. The consultants facilitated but did not lead the exercise. Here’s what emerged from the data they assembled:

You can download the image and look at every noteworthy idea and detail, but with a broader view, one key element pops for me. As complicated as the situation of the school was at that time, it’s condensed to a simple “ingredient list” in that thin first Now column on the far left, and fully 2/3 of the remainder of the poster is Vision. That was the starting point. The stuff in the middle, the big arrow Path and circle Goals were filled in only after. Copies of the poster were distributed and referred to regularly. It came to be known as The Map

Three years on, the staff and Rex went through the process again:

Note that the Vision component has changed to Celebrate,  and an additional Dream section has been added. Some quick highlights:
  • Three walking school buses
  • Free breakfast program
  • Partnerships with attached Nursery, community, business, sports teams
  • Staff and student family connections
  • Extensive literacy and numeracy programs, including EAL for parents
  • Donations: project specific and ongoing
  • Focused Professional Development (more below)
  • Meeting or exceeding all Division metrics - academic and attendance

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