A few weeks ago, three important guests visited our school whose sole purpose was to evaluate our school for the BC Ministry of Education. Every six years, a team shows up at every independent school in BC to check everything.
And, I mean everything.
The water quality and swing set bolts
Among other things, they check the fire extinguishers, the fire proof filing cabinets, the city compliance letters, the curriculum for every course offered in the school at every level, the student record files, the finances, the policies, the manuals, the student handbooks, the water quality, the evaluation schedules, the swing set bolts and the admin structure. It is an intense scrutiny of our school and takes many months of preparation to have everything in order. Our government funding depends upon a successful result.
I have been through five of these intensive evaluations in my career and every time we receive a formal list of issues which we needed to address by a certain date. It isn’t generally hard to fix these items which usually have to do with small changes, but nonetheless, I have never heard of an evaluation which had no items on the “fix it” list. The evaluation team looks too closely at the details to miss anything.
Facing the eye rolls
So with this in mind, our staff set out to accomplish what seemed to be impossible—get a perfect score. Most people rolled their eyes when we stated this goal out loud. “It just doesn’t happen,” they said wearily.
Every staff member at every campus had a role in preparation for this evaluation. We created curriculum overviews, changed and updated our records, fixed railings in storage closets and contacted the city for compliance letters. We implemented the new BC curriculum, demonstrated core competencies, and re-worked our student record filing systems.
It was intense.
A lot of staff put in a lot of extra hours in September and October in evenings and on weekends.
So what did we get?
When the team made their final report to us at the end of the week they announced that, as rare as it is, they did not have a single compliance, curriculum, or policy issue to report.
We did it!
Working as a team toward an incredible goal and actually accomplishing the goal was incredible. It isn’t so different for our students and their learning. We work in teams. We work hard. And we hope to become as successful as we can be together – we call that reaching our potential.
What a very satisfying feeling.
Encourage a staff member or two when you see them by reminding them that we have a remarkable staff and an amazing school.