Wellness Warrior Spotlight
Name: Sally Wright
Occupation: Educator and President of the Pasco Association of Educators

How have you been incorporating intention-setting and group norms in your meetings?  

I have used intention-setting and norming at PA and PSD Labor Management, Association Executive board, Association representative assembly, Educator/Administration Career and College Ready Initiative meetings throughout the 2017-2018 school year. I have even used these processes when I represent a member in a discussion with administration.

I have a packet of Costas Norms that I place on the table at the beginning of meetings. Members will pick up the norms and study. I then say, "if the conversation becomes difficult, would you please pause, then use one of the sentence starters to refocus the conversation." For example, "Help me to understand/tell me more about your perspective..."

Next, I state the intention of the meeting, like collaboration or connecting and listening. I then ask members to think of one piece of information they would want others to know about. I give 30 seconds to think, then ask members to share out. I might say, " I want you to know that I plant seeds, and I have a green thumb." "when you know this about me we will be connected."

Then I show prepared sentence strips, with the intent written in the form of a question, why do we listen? I pass out sentence strips in the same color to the members, with a marker and ask them to write their response. We then share the responses and I ask at the end, what do you notice? They realize they are more connected because they have similar thoughts and responses. I typically do three questions: How do you know you are listening? How do you know you have been heard? Then I mount the information on to large poster paper and place them in the room where the meeting is happening. I briefly summarize and "replant the intent." I generally replant the intent at the end of the meeting in closure form as well.

 

What’s the result (data, success story, observation)?

The members of the meeting know the focus of the meeting, to listen or to collaborate, and that is the REAL purpose of the meeting. The problem solving is the outcome when the intent has been followed. The members generally are more respectful, and probe for better understanding, then just reacting and stating their own opinion. The outcomes are "owned" by all members.

 

What lessons did you learn through teaching these skills?

The members feel more valued, more supported when having gone through the process. The final decisions are better and are the result of all members feedback. Good smelling markers and colored stripes seem to cause better participation. Is there anything that you didn’t think of that came up when teaching these habits?

 

What advice do you have for teachers, counselors or principals who wish to incorporate setting intentions into their meetings or lessons?

Keep the intention small, focused, specific, to the point. Facilitate first, then participate if that keeps the members connected. Ask what the members notice, there may be a connection or intent that you didn't intend but is a more global or valued message. Adult learners like to have their experience recognized.

 

What worked? What didn’t work? Why should they start? What is the first step?

More of a leap, jump in and experiment. This process has made the outcome of meetings more productive more valuable, the relationships of those in attendance are closer and more supportive.

Rapid Fire Questions:

(short response, first thing that comes to mind)

 

  • Whole child education is: helping children to realize that "whole child" is an infinite number of characteristics, that could be tackled one at a time over a lifetime.
  • The number one skill that high school students need in 2018 is:  How to recognize and live in the moment. Then understand and show kindness to yourself and others.
  • Favorite book (for children or adults) is: The Life Recovery Bible, or Peak by Roland Smith or When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin, or A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel, or anything by Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point)
  • Happiness practices are important to teach because:  Happiness allows a human to see the world in a clearer fashion and helps us to make better decisions and makes the journey more valuable.
  • Favorite uplifting song that inspires you is:  Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole or Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves

 

"Sally Wright, you are a true Wellness Warrior, helping students develop the tools to thrive in school and in life! Thanks for sharing your story."


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