A comprehensive induction program for new support staff employees is a part of our district’s overall planning process. It aligns with our district’s direction and purpose, helping employees gain confidence and feel a sense of belonging. The goal is to keep them motivated so our students reap the benefits. By investing in our existing employees and beefing up our attention to supporting new employees, we stand a much better chance of being seem as an employer of choice for top talent.
I’ve worked my entire career to be inclusive and equitable; to promote a culture of emotional and physical safety for students and adults. So I have to believe that changes geared toward helping all students and adults feel a sense of belonging, connection, and meaningful engagement in our schools are better achieved by being for something rather than against.
People label others all the time. Labeling is a tool we use to help us grapple with difference and with our environment. Our labels can also influence what we see. The long-term consequences of labeling a child “smart” or “slow” can be profound. Labels that have to do with ability, class, race, or skill often shape the expectations of educators and can have lasting effects.
I realize that in order to see the type of teaching, learning, leadership, and support that I want to see in schools and across our district, I have to paint a portrait of what it looks like using expressive, asset-based language that builds upon the current strengths of employees and reinforces their existing foundation of knowledge and skill. Using clear, powerful, and uplifting language takes a great deal of practice and awareness, and doesn’t necessarily come naturally to me. Therefore, I spend a great deal of time reflecting about my word choice in order to improve.