Secret Meeting with Superintendent Alan Beitman
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How does your Monday start off each week? For the decision makers at Regional School District #10, their Monday starts with a 9 a.m. meeting to make sure the week’s events run smoothly and to avoid miscommunications. Alan Beitman, a superintendent for 20 years who currently oversees four schools including Lewis S. Mills High School, holds a staffing meeting for that very purpose.
All the administrative heads know that this meeting takes place at the same time every week so they can’t say they didn’t get the memo. They are expected to be there unless they are absent or an emergency comes up that needs their attention.
It is set in stone, “If there is no school on Monday due to a weather cancellation, or a scheduled day off, then the meeting happens on Tuesday at 9 a.m.” Superintendent Beitman states.
The meeting goes as follows, they start with one person and then go around the table until everyone addresses the events happening that coming week in their department or school. Each individual at the table has either their computer, or a notebook and pen sitting in front of them ready to takes notes on their part of future developments.
“The unique thing about this meeting is we go in with no agenda” says Cheri Burke, Director of Student Learning. “Everyone has an opportunity to talk and discuss different topics, much like an open forum.”
At one recent Monday meeting, Burke brought up the use of Twitter in school as a tool to enhance learning. As she is a big advocate for it she discussed the positives, which got Leigh Pont, Head Technology Teacher, on board, too.
Burke believes “Twitter is an opportunity to connect globally with authors, and inspirational leaders. I have one and use it on a professional level to connect with other leaders around the world.”
The Region 10 Board of Education created a Technology Committee recently to help provide policies in regards to the internet and its use at school. At this recent Monday meeting, Superintendent Beitman’s main concern and focus is that the safety of the students remain secure.
“We need to make sure that the student’s identity and information is protected, ” Beitman said, adding: “If pictures are to be posted, then the policy would have to clarify that it shouldn’t be individual students but groups and the back of kids’ heads.”
Other members of the group brought up that they don’t know how to use social media, and wouldn’t be able to check up on the teachers to make sure they are using it properly and following the policy. Kenneth Smith, Principal of Har-Bur Middle School recommended that they have professional development so they can learn the basics of the network.
But without this Monday morning meeting, all the suggestions and ideas wouldn’t be possible. The gathering increases the efficiency the leaders have when making decisions. It also can clarify any confusion on any topic that they may have.
“The logic behind the meeting is to make decisions in the quickest, and safest way possible,” said Beitman. “That way we don’t have to have five meetings for each event that happens within the district.”
Burke appreciates the streamlined way of getting things accomplished and issues addressed.
“I recommend that other districts create a meeting like this,” Burke said. “In the other districts I’ve worked in they didn’t have something where all the leaders can have their voice heard and not just the big administrative leaders.”
This secret meeting may not have been as scandalous as you first thought, but it sure is productive and smart, according to participants hoping to stay on top of what needs to be done.
For example, when Pamela Lazaroski, Principal of Lewis S. Mills, spoke she brought up that the high school had a then-upcoming assembly with speaker Ed Gerrity. David Fortin, Director of Buildings and Grounds, took down the time and date, to make sure he does his part by turning on the air conditioning or heating in the auditorium.