Whether it is a Superintendent retiring, a beloved principal moving into a new position, or a middle of the year job change, transitions can surface many different reactions and emotions within your school community.
Your staff, students, and their families have thoughts, questions, and ideas that they want to share. In a time of transition, launching a Thoughtexchange creates a space where all voices can be heard. An exchange during this time can serve many purposes: identifying strengths and areas for growth within the district or school site, rebuilding relationships, supporting the hiring process and onboarding, etc.
This exchange template offers everything you need to start the conversation: a set of recommended questions based on situations you may be facing, sample introductory text, possible survey questions, and more.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Depending on what stage of the decision-making process your District is at, these questions can be run iteratively or independently. The resulting data can be used to support the resume screening process, crafting interview questions, and shared with the new leader.
Goal: To build trust in hiring
- What are the most important strengths and challenges for the district/school that our new Superintendent/Principal should be made aware of in order to be successful?
- If you could share one thing that would have the biggest impact in our community with the next Superintendent/Principal, what would it be?
- What are the characteristics, skills, and qualities you would like to see in the next Superintendent/Principal of <school site>?
- What are the most significant strengths and challenges our district faces, now and in the future, that leadership will need to address?
- What are some examples of things we should continue to do to support students and what are some areas where we need to improve?
- What leadership qualities or competencies should the new [leader title] possess in order to be effective in this role?
Goal: Help leader learn what’s important (to be run by new leader once hired)
- What support do you need from me in order to do your best work in [Year/Quarter/Semester]?
- What are the most important things I need to do to help you/your school community /department to be more successful?
- What are some important things I should know about our [school/district]?
- As a new leader, what are the most important things I need to know to support you and make this a successful year?
Goal: Help leader get feedback on their work
100 Day Check-In:
- I’ve been in my new role as Superintendent/Director/Principal for 100 days; what are some things I should start, stop, or continue to do?
- What are your thoughts about my work, strengths & opportunities to help me grow and be successful as [role]?
Introduction and Invitation:
For tips on crafting your own introduction, click here. Consider including a video introduction to make it more personal - particularly for the 100 day check-in.
This article includes examples of email invites to help encourage your community to participate in the exchange.
Survey questions give you the opportunity to enhance your exchange, and better understand what’s important to different groups in your community and help you tailor your communication to different stakeholders. Here are some examples you could use or check out this article on tips for writing good questions.
Sample Survey Questions:
What option best describes your role in the district?
- Community Member/Other
Which school site are you most closely associated with?
- Site A
- Site B….
- District Office
Consider This Feature: Participation Groups
Participation Groups allows you to break a potentially large conversation into smaller groups, such as by role, by grade, or by school. For a more in-depth explanation, click here. Members of each group will only share and rate thoughts within their group, but leaders can see what matter across all groups.
If you’re not sure how to use Participation Groups, get in touch with us and we will get you set up.
Discover Your Results
The Discover Dashboard offers a wide range of tools to help you dig into your results and take action.
For tips on working with your results, check out this article: Working with your Results.
Some reflective questions that may help guide your analysis include:
- What’s the progress you would like to make?
- Who do you need to share these results back with?
- How should you share the results for that audience?
- What do you see? Where is there agreement? Where are there differences? Where might you need to dig in deeper?
- What are the quick wins or next steps to move forward?
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