The Supervisory Support Program Hosts Its Annual Visit From “The Breakthrough Coach”
In mid-March, the Supervisory Support Program hosted a 2-day workshop, The Breakthrough Coach: How To Work Less, Produce More and Still Get The Job Done in a Sensible School Week, to help school leaders increase their time in classrooms and help them achieve a healthier work-life balance.
Lorrie Brown, the founding principal of PS 68, enrolled in the workshop last year because she wanted access to hands-on procedures that would help her and her staff with organization and delegation.
“We were thinking about longevity from the day we opened our school, and we’ve been very intentional about trying out different workflows and adjusting accordingly,” said Mrs. Brown. “The methods we took away from these workshops have really helped us create our school culture. These practices start with us, but the true impact is on the entire community.”
The first day of the program exposed participants to the philosophical approach behind “Breakthrough Thinking.” In presentations and table talks, school leaders discussed the realities of the job and how it affects the quality of their professional and personal lives. They were provided with a rare opportunity to reflect honestly on how efficiently they use their time and whether they’re truly achieving the outcomes they intend.
On the second day, school leaders were accompanied by their secretaries to learn hands-on practices that promise to reduce workload by 15-20 hours and enable them to spend two full days a week visiting classrooms. Participants were asked to bring in every single piece of paperwork found throughout their office in order to properly setting up a tickler file, a collection of date-labeled folders that allows documents to be filed according to the date by which they require action. They discussed the importance of meeting request forms to help determine whether issues actually require meetings and keep necessary meetings under 15 minutes, request forms to properly delegate responsibilities, and accountability logs to keep track of what’s expected from who and when.
Last year Moses Ojeda, principal of Thomas A. Edison CTE High School, was accompanied both by his secretary and Kleanthis Korkotas, his Assistant Principal of Organization, and they all returned to repeat the workshop this year.
“There’s a lot of things that at first go against the natural instincts of most school leaders,” shared Mr. Ojeda, “but the program changes your mindset. In just two days, you come to understand and appreciate why they’re asking you to do what they’re asking.”
Mr. Ojeda credited the program with enabling him to spend more time outside his office among teachers and students, and Mr. Korkotas shared how the practices have impacted the school even more than he first imagined. “After we conduct our morning meetings, I have a greater understanding of how my day is going to go and what I need to do prepare,” he said. “In our jobs, we’re required to put out a lot of fires. When you have the day structured so well, you can put out those fires more effectively.”
This year’s first-time participants left the workshops excited to bring the mindset and practices back to their schools.
“This has been like a breath of fresh air,” offered Rory Parnell, principal of August Martin High School. “You realize that if you set bad habits at the start, there’s no sustainability. And now we have all these tactical strategies that we can bring into the real world. I’ve been to workshops all around the world and none have been this valuable.”