Can you believe that summer has already come to a close, and a new school year has begun? Not only are instruction, learning, and traditional classroom practices now all different in a virtual realm, but even family engagement in schools has also shifted onto a virtual platform. Just because the means of connecting has altered, it doesn’t mean that your involvement at your child’s school has to diminish! Similar to previous years, your school’s School Advisory Council (SAC) is a great way to get involved and share your thoughts for your child’s school. In this month’s SAC Tip of the Month, we wanted to share some great ways that your School Advisory Council can regather virtually and still hold productive, helpful meetings. Here are a few tips:
Set virtual meeting norms. The norms and expectations of a virtual meeting will differ from an in-person meeting. Be sure to set those expectations for everyone to follow. Norms such as staying on mute when you’re not speaking to reduce background noise can be helpful ways to reduce distractions.
Follow a meeting agenda together. Following a set agenda and set of topics that your SAC will talk about in a given meeting is a great way to keep everyone on track. For individuals in the meeting, try to be mindful to also stay on topic and follow the timelines and topics that the facilitator states.
Stay engaged, and actively participate! Even when it may be tempting to disconnect mentally from the meeting, be sure to listen to what others are saying and think of ways you would want to contribute to the conversation. Depending on the norms of the meeting, you may want to unmute yourself or chat your thoughts in order to share your opinions. When the facilitator asks for feedback, try to contribute in ways that you can. Just because it’s a virtual meeting doesn’t mean that it can’t be an engaging conversation!
Be flexible and understanding. Technology is not always perfect, and having digital meetings can allow for unexpected situations. If you get kicked out of the meeting, someone’s internet is slow, the meeting is lagging, or the like, be understanding that these things will happen in a virtual meeting, but it’s okay! The facilitator may restart the meeting, or you may have to try leaving and reentering the meeting. Be flexible as you try to make fixes to things that may go wrong.
In this new season of family engagement, being flexible and understanding with one another will be crucial as all parties are trying to put their best efforts forward to continue productive SAC meetings. Do you have helpful tips that are working for your virtual SAC meetings? We’d love to hear more about them! Feel free to email your tips and things working well for your SAC to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s stay engaged together as we kick off this new school year!