Four essential ingredients of successful faculty meetings

Dennis Sparks

Successful faculty meetings contribute to the momentum of the continuous improvement of teaching, learning, and relationships within the school community.

They add value by deepening understanding, spreading effective practices, and building relationships.

On the other hand, poorly planned and facilitated meetings deplete energy and can bring innovation to a standstill.

In my experience, successful meetings have four essential ingredients:

1. Celebration of one another and of accomplishments within the school community. While it is certainly appropriate to note student accomplishments, it’s also important to draw attention to the accomplishments and strengths of the adult members of the school community. To that end faculty meetings can routinely begin with a few minutes of recognition and celebration. Such rituals can deepen relationships and energize the school community.

2. Professional learning focused on the school’s most important goals. The kind of professional learning I have in mind would occur as staff members analyzed various types of evidence regarding student learning, explored professional literature, and shared effective practices. It would seldom include what we think of as training or presentations.

3. Thoughtful deliberation regarding significant challenges and decisions that the school community faces. Because these conversations would be structured through the use of protocols or other small and large group activities, they would be focused and deep.

4. Next action thinking.”  Momentum would be maintained because meetings would always conclude with clarity about individual and collective responsibilities. As a result, there would be no confusion about who will do what, by when, and to what standard.

Administrivia, of course, would be eliminated or minimized. Administrative items would be distributed through email with clear explanations about what is expected from staff members.

Question: In your experience what are the ingredients of productive and energizing faculty meetings? What things have I missed?

4 Responses to “Four essential ingredients of successful faculty meetings”

  1. 1 Jim Knight February 4, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I’m not sure if this counts, but I think everyone needs a shared understanding that we only meet when we need to. I think we need to break the habit of meeting just to meet.

    • 2 Dennis Sparks February 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Good point! No meetings without clear purposes, written agendas, and activities appropriate to achieving those purposes.

  2. 3 barbarawmadden February 9, 2013 at 6:51 am

    We meet as a staff once a month for faculty meetings immediately after school and our meetings always reflect the four essential ingredients you discuss. The dates for these meetings are scheduled at the start of school. No surprises! In addition, there are scheduled make-up meetings the following morning before school for coaches and others who cannot attend an afternoon meeting. I find it works really well and actually look forward to our faculty meetings!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,619 other followers



Recent Twitter Posts