7-1-14 Summer Hiring and Parent Handbooks

The summer work continues!  This morning we started the process of hiring a new Farm to School Coordinator for our school program.  We’ve been extremely lucky to have a strong Farm to School program supported by multiple people on staff and in the community.  Hiring someone new is a big deal!  Our current coordinator is moving to another position and has built a strong base for our program to grow from.  Hiring, for any school position, is a crucial moment in whcih school teams need to move slow, carefully and be thorough and thoughtful all the way through.  Our team reviewed the candidates that had applied via Schoolspring, determined which candidates to invite for interviews and generated a series of interview questions.  Our main focus in the questions was around creating sustainable systems.  You ever see those ads for jobs that suggest “unlimited earning potential” or “you create your own success?”  That’s kind of what we’re hoping to find…someone that can not only work to our already high standards, but then take the position and extend it.  It’s exciting stuff!

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Next on the summer work list was the updating of handbooks.  Most schools have several different handbooks floating around…the staff handbook, the preschool handbook, the substitute or guest teacher handbook and the parent-student handbook.  There are probably more, but those are the ones on my list.  At some point our social media presence and weekly communications with families and the community surpassed our past practices with documents like these handbooks.  Our parent handbook was strictly text and read like stereo instructions.  Don’t get me wrong, many people put hours and tons of effort into creating this document and keeping it updated.  That being said, it’s time to make this into something that really tells people who we are.

First thing I tackled today was just adding some images and resources that weren’t present in our parent handbook before.  Why photos?  I’m a big fan of visuals.  I think it’s helpful in showing people, in particular families new to our school, who we are and what we value.  It’s not just about adding photos, the content is going to be revamped as well.  This past year the office staff and I kept careful track of common questions, concerns and information that parents and community members sought from us and we’re making sure to add it now!  Things like our school documentation (how do I register a student, medical documentation, etc.), how do parents give feedback to school staff, where do we find information, information about our P.B.I.S. initiative, field trip chaperoning expectations are all on the add list.

The Vermont Agency of Education also provides schools with a complete list of required items for posting and/or handbooks.  It’s a helpful list (link below), but doesn’t help capture the soul of the school and that’s the balance.  If other folks have found successful formulas for parent handbook contents please share!  After ours is complete I will post a link.

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Best part of my day by far was grabbing our local paper and seeing one of our scholars on the cover.  Clipped it and put it on the wall right away!

Links:

Information from our Farm to School page:

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