During a recent visit to Allen Creek Elementary School in Pittsford, NY, Matt Davidson and I were able to witness many different ways that staff were utilizing Compacts-4-Excellence. It was exciting to observe a staff that so quickly picked up on this one Power2Achieve Tool and saw a myriad of ways they would use it to make a difference in their school community.
The first way that Allen Creek decided to use a Compact was by developing a Faculty Compact at their first staff meeting to begin the new school year. When they had their first Instructional Learning Team (ILT) meeting of the year, they also discussed what they needed in their Compact, so that they could “Do Their Best Work and Be Their Best Selves”. The ILT felt that the Faculty Compact would work well for them at the current time, so they adopted the same Compact. However, both groups have said the Compacts are living documents that they will revise as needed.
Another way that Allen Creek used the Compact-4-Excellence was to work together starting right at their opening day assembly program to develop a School Compact that would apply to school-wide expectations. One of the key questions at the assembly was, “What does it mean to be your best self?” Another important challenge for all the students that day was, “We agree that we will…” Some of the students held up large visuals during discussion to help focus the students.
All of the classroom teachers at Allen Creek involved their students in a process to develop a Compact-4-Excellence for their individual rooms. Once the Compacts were finalized, many of the teachers posted a large copy in the classroom for all the students to sign. Some of the teachers shared the final Compact with all their parents and asked them and their child to sign and return the document.
In addition to a general Classroom Compact-4-Excellence, some of the teachers also began to develop Compacts for the different instructional groups in their classroom. For example, Kathleen Roser, a third grade teacher, had each of her reading groups develop a Compact for when they were meeting as a group. Kathleen’s students also developed a Compact for Class Meetings and for her Math Class.
It was impressive to see a school community that within the first month of the school year was using the Compact-4-Excellence on a school-wide basis, in individual classrooms in a variety of ways, and using this Tool to communicate and work with their parents. It was also exciting to hear staff members say that they felt the Compacts were contributing to the culture of excellence they desired in their school, so that everyone could “Do Our Best Work and Be Our Best Selves” at Allen Creek Elementary School.