Classified staff are our school’s culture keepers. Each one supports our school community in a loving and caring way. No matter what responsibility each person has—whether they interact with students for a few moments a day, work with small groups of children, work with individual children, or only interact with other adults—all are called to use their various gifts to serve and support our students.
Yet it’s not uncommon for those who don’t hold the title “teacher” to feel that they aren’t as integral to the culture-building process as they actually are! What we know to be true is that these important members of our school family can have a big impact on how we engage students in our leadership journey. They can create wonderful opportunities for students to feel valued and can inspire them to make a daily impact.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
– John Quincy Adams
How do we do it? Identify and address the barriers that lie between our classified staff and their full engagement with student empowerment.
Four Tips to Overcome Barriers of Engagement for Classified Staff
Identify the greatest obstacles for classified-staff engagement and think outside the box for how to overcome them. Here are some ideas to get you started.
| If this is your reality…
|| Consider trying this…
|Classified staff may have different contracts than teachers. This can make finding time for participation more difficult.
||Invite classified staff to participate on action teams and be flexible to honor their availability. If attending action team meetings is a challenge, they could lead a specific end in mind and share their progress with an action team colleague who can report on their behalf.
|Some classified staff are solo in their particular role, so opportunities for collaboration can be a challenge.
||Provide opportunities that support peer observation, collaborative planning, and best practice sharing among staff. Classified staff have amazing ideas that teachers may not think about.
|Classified staff may be unsure just how to implement ideas in their work spaces.
||Classified staff have unique interactions with students, allowing them to identify student needs teachers may not see. Ensure they have the chance to do this. Check out this Lotus Diagram for easy, implementable ideas.
|Some classified staff don’t work directly with our students.
||Invite classified staff to serve as Accountability Partners for students. They can have regular informal Data Chats about goal setting, leadership roles, and more. This is especially powerful for students with parents who face obstacles to being involved in their student’s learning and school journey.
We all know how it feels to be left out. Let’s ensure everyone feels they are an essential partner in our leadership journey. Proactively remove as many barriers as you can. Flex your creative muscles to figure out ways to engage and celebrate them. It will be a win-win all around! Classified staff are our untapped, empowerment super heroes!
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
- Download and use this Lotus Diagram to help classified staff use their gifts and talents to support students.