Educational Equity Newsletter – March 31, 2020
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Managing Through COVID-19
I hope you and your family are healthy and safe in this scary time.
Across the education sector, one theme we’re hearing from Executive Directors and senior leaders is that it’s hard to know how to spend their time now. With your team operating remotely for the foreseeable future, major events and some development activities in limbo, and lots of uncertainty about what the rest of the year will look like, what are the most important focus areas for you right now? We’re not in your chair, and we know every context is different, but here are the focus areas we’re hearing from leaders:
Prioritizing and planning for the next two months
Working with your leadership team to create a plan for the next two months (assuming we stay virtual), including:
- How will we support our teams to work remotely, and set agreements to ensure high-quality work keeps happening?
- How will we ensure staff (especially high-performers and new hires) are still learning and growing?
- How will we ensure managers are managing well and that our culture remains strong?
- What new opportunities exist to deliver on our mission and serve students, families, and our sector in this crisis?
- How will we continue to hire and plan for next year? Which hiring/planning activities will we put on hold, and which will we lean into, over the next two months?
Setting a schedule for yourself and helping your leaders do the same
Ensuring that you and your leaders have set schedules for yourselves that keep you focused on the highest priority things:
- Set a broader weekly plan on Fridays for the following week and a daily plan (created the night before), including appointments, workblocks for your top 3 priorities, and self-care time (sample).
Be the constant
Being a source of emotional support for your leaders as needed. Showing up as a strong and compassionate leader, actively listening to concerns, and meeting needs where you can. Concretely, this means:
- Opening up more time for your team: In addition to preserving check-ins with your direct reports, scheduling bi-weekly 30-minute meetings with each of their teams to check in on how things are going, communicate priorities, and hear concerns.
- Coaching leaders on how to best support their emotional needs and the needs of their teams: In one-on-one check-ins, adding a running item to ensure team leaders are checking in with their people, deeply listening to and addressing their concerns. Co-creating talking points with leaders addressing the most common concerns they may hear from staff.
- Modeling self-care: Modeling for leaders taking space and time for yourself, setting boundaries around how much you work, and managing expectations around what you can deliver during this time.
Carving out time every week to craft succinct talking points, emails, voicemail recordings, or other communications to leaders, staff, and the broader organization as new details arise.
Maestro of meetings
Thinking through which meetings should be happening, at what levels, and how (phone, Zoom, etc.). Ensuring these meetings are as successful as possible through careful planning and follow-up. Meetings being considered by other leaders:
- Remote morning video huddles
- “Fireside chats” on Instagram for the broader organization
- Professional development and regular staff meetings
- Departmental or All-Hands meetings
- Other touchpoints with leaders and staff (suggest these are planned and predictable)
Virtual Training on Thursday 4/2 at 4pm EDT
TMC will be hosting a free 1-hour training—Using Your Priorities to Manage Your Time—on Thursday, 4/2 at 4pm EDT to support school leaders and others in continuing to advance educational equity while educating remotely. RSVP for that training here.
Melanie Rivera, Partner
Educational Equity Team at The Management Center