Broadening Our Circles of Discussion

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Deb Henton
Superintendent
North Branch Area Public Schools

Over time our discussions about weather-related cancellations have become even more collaborative than when superintendents just phoned the two or three surrounding superintendents seeking advice. Like me, you likely seldom pick up the phone and instead have been a part of group text messages that now start days in advance of an approaching storm. Through text messaging you learn what superintendents in districts miles and miles away from you are thinking. Sometimes it’s hard to remember which group is saying what as the thought circles coming across in text messages spin rapidly from one superintendent to another as we carefully craft our final decisions.

The evolution of how and when we make our weather-related decisions is just one example of how we are increasing diverse collaboration amongst MASA colleagues. It is gratifying to observe the communication reach in some areas is now well beyond just those districts who are like-sized, or nearby. Our decisions will always be enhanced by outreach that extends beyond the familiar.

So for a moment consider who you turn to when you need another opinion. We know it is essential to talk to our mentors and nearby colleagues, yet by connecting with someone in a not-so-similar setting, we may gain an awakening perspective that could forever impact the way we understand how another school district works, or how we might make a decision.

As spring approaches, I encourage you to contact someone in our organization that you don’t typically reach out to. Who you talk to matters. Commit this spring to enlarging your communication circle. We will all benefit from new connections that may lead to new solutions for some of our most wicked problems, and please share that learning with the rest of us, even those of us you don’t know very well.

May our days of collaborating on weather become a distant memory and our spring be bright and sunny!

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