CRCSD School Improvement

BLT's Getting Started: Norm Creation


It's a new year! Building Leadership Teams are coming together again-- and many with new teacher leaders. It's the perfect time to create or re-establish BLT norms. Norms should be developed during your initial meeting.

Why is establishing norms so important?

1. Norms allow for collaboration and BLT meetings to be more effective by guiding

group behavior.

2. Norms allow for team members to hold each other accountable for any behavior

that is negatively impacting the team (all of us have a role, not only the principal or

BLT chair).

Norm Tips

* All members of the group must be present. If not, postpone norm creation.

* Focus on a few essential norms rather than a long list.

* Use positive language rather than negative.

* Record and post the norms. This can be in a flip chart, on the agenda, or on a wall

chart. Keep them visible and present.

* Review norms at the beginning and end of meetings for at least 6 months.

* Regularly evaluate and reflect on whether the group is following the norms.

* Periodically (a few times a year perhaps) determine if your team needs additional

norms to make the team even more effective. Group norms change over time- make

sure your team has the norms it needs to be most effective.

If your team needs a protocol for creating norms, please contact your IDS or Kathleen Ziegler at

Another Look at Agendas

All BLTs understand the importance of and utilize an agenda to support their work. As you begin your work, ensure that your team has a communication plan at the conclusion of each meeting. Take the last few minutes of each meeting (utilize a timekeeper here) to review:

* What do we need to communicate?

* Who will communicate?

* How will we communicate?

* By when?

In practice this might sound like this:

* At the end of the meeting, the facilitator can ask, "Who can summarize the main decisions of our team today? Does everyone agree? Anything to add?" This wrap-up summary ensures that all members of the team understand and agree on the message needing to be communicated before it is communicated.

* For the most part, your SIP indicates who and how you will communicate. For example, some schools have designated BLT members that will communicate with certain groups (grade levels, support staff, departments, etc.) while other schools use minutes or email sent by one person on the team. Ensure that everyone knows the role they have in the communication plan.

* What is the deadline for sharing? Set a specific date.

If you have not had a communication plan as a part of your agenda, please add to your agenda. Clear and on-going communication from the BLT to the larger staff is a critical component of school improvement.