One of my favorite aspects of my job is conducting what we call site visits. In these, I go to each school site at least once a year and present the updates on the Foundation. It’s important for our teachers — who are the single largest source of our donations — to know what their gifts are doing for Putnam City. Of course I am proud of our foundation and love to share, but my favorite parts come after my presentation when I get to learn what is going on in the schools.
Most of the buildings start out with good news which is both of a personal and professional nature. Teachers report having great days with some of their more challenging pupils and being excited about their upcoming breaks. The camaraderie this conversation engenders builds the climate we all want in a workplace.
Each of our buildings has recently conducted a climate survey and I am so proud of the results I have heard from them in these visits. Sure there are always areas for improvement, but overall people seem happy with the atmosphere. This helps explain how our district was ranked #11 for great places to work in an anonymous survey conducted by The Oklahoman.
I’ve learned about Whole Brain teaching from the 3rd and 4th grade teachers in one school. They divided a book into chapters and have been presenting their key points to the rest of their team in faculty meetings. So many of our schools are using this teaching technique these days, so it was good to get a stronger understanding of how it improves student learning.
I was there when one of our schools painted rocks for a new garden they are installing and at another site when teachers gave an Oscar to a helpful coworker. I’ve seen principals tear up over serious situations and heard raucous laughter about an inside joke.
Sure faculty meetings often include some level of tedium, but in so many buildings they are a place to reconnect with people who share your circumstances and can commiserate on those issues no one else would understand.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a witness to these experiences. It’s just another reason I love this district and am so proud of our staff.