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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

We've Always Done it This Way. . . .

"We've always done it this way," is not a good rationale for continuing with same practice. In fact, many traditions in place don't serve communities well anymore. Instead it's important to have a regular routine of reviewing existing practice and revising where necessary.

While doing this, however, it's important to consider the value of tradition. Traditional events over time serve to bring people together, build on memories, and create culture. So, revision will have to be done carefully, and in some cases the the value of tradition will prompt us to keep some activities as they are.

Good analysis helps a community to make good decisions about keeping activities as they are or changing those activities. As I think about our activities that lead to greater cultural proficiency, I'm wondering about the following questions:

  • Who creates and manages the programs?
  • Are the activities tied to student learning in ways that matter?
  • Who attends the events?
  • Have the events continued to be well attended or has attendance dropped off?
  • Are the events fund raisers, and if so, do they make money? How is that money used?
  • Do we have a way to measure the events' overall impact with regard to cultural proficiency and impact on students' mindsets?
  • Can some events be coupled in order to streamline the number of events people are expected to plan and attend? Is this important?
As I think ahead with regard to our grade-level curriculum and desire to build a culturally proficient program, I'm wondering how we might tag-on to existing events as well as promote new events to encourage greater cultural proficiency in our system, school, and classrooms.

The events currently in place include the following:
  • Early-year community picnic
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
  • Chinese Lunar New Year Festival
  • Cultural Celebration
  • Fourth Grade Culture Projects and Share
  • End-Year Picnics
  • Multiple Music, Theater, and Dance Events
  • Multiple Sports Events
  • School Special Events including Halloween Movie Night, Talent Show, and Parent-Student Information Nights
One event I'd like to add to the schedule is a comprehensive, welcoming school orientation. To make this event successful, I believe we will need to provide transportation for families. I also believe that families and children should be involved and the event should include parent/student information, possible supply organization/prep, and time for fun and socializing too.

How does your system review all of the events that promote a strong culturally proficient and strong teaching/learning community? How do you regularly review and improve those events? What do you do if you want to add a new event?

Taking a look at the overall culture of a teaching/learning community is an important way to build and improve what we can do with and for students.