Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Behind the scenes at Rec & Ed's "Lead, Care, Inspire" brainstorm

Jenna Bacolor, Executive Director, Community Education and Recreation

August 26 was a special Opening Day for Staff in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Instead of the traditional district-wide gathering at Pioneer High School, Superintendent Swift asked all schools and departments to work in their buildings to explore the 2014-15 AAPS theme: Lead, Care, Inspire. (See photos from around the district here.)

Soon you'll be seeing this spiffy logo around
the school district!
I was eager to engage Rec & Ed staff in a discussion around these words. Since we focus on out-of-school time rather than in-school time, our take on the theme was bound to be different from our instructional colleagues'. 

We started by watching a video of Dr. Swift explaining the theme for 2014 - 2015. View the video here.

We divided into 3 groups and rotated through Lead, Care and Inspire "stations" for discussion. The central question at each station: How does this theme apply to our work at Rec & Ed, thinking of both our external service to the community and our internal organizational culture?

Marj Hyde, Coordinator of First Steps,
writes comments at the "Care" station.
Team Sports Specialist Sean Williams
presents results from the "Lead" station.
Not surprisingly, we ended up with numerous comments focused on our work to build community and promote wellbeing for all ages -- through friendly, enthusiastic service; being inclusive; and providing high quality programs.

We summarized all of our responses into the Wordle below. The size of the words is correlated with how many times staff mentioned that word. To me, these words match perfectly with Rec & Ed's mission -- to enhance the quality of life in our community through education and recreation. 

Key words from brainstorming this question: 
How does the theme "Lead, Care, Inspire" apply
to our work at Rec & Ed?

Our next step is to discuss ways to incorporate these ideas and aspirations more intentionally into our everyday work.

As Dr. Swift said, August 26 was a great day in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. I'm so proud that Rec & Ed was part of it. 

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