Capacity Building

Author: Jennifer Criswell, Director of CTE, Lytle ISD

My first year as Director of CTE/PTECH for Lytle ISD has been fast and furious. It has become the best combination of teacher, counselor, and administrator.  The previous roles and responsibilities of all three of these stakeholder positions have shown to be beneficial in ensuring that programs for students are successful.  There are two very important changes that have occurred this year, building capacity and teamwork.  The impact of these two changes have now opened several doors of opportunities for our students within a short period of time.

The process of building capacity can be much like reading parenting books before your first child is born.  Many times what you read and the reality of what happens is different. Building capacity takes more than just training and including faculty and staff on an email.  To begin building capacity, it takes intentional planning and a commitment to setting time aside from our superhighway daily lives to meet, collaborate, and learn.  Having a hectic schedule of meetings on your work calendar can bring out frustration and anxiety, which will leave someone feeling counterproductive and have self-doubt. Each meeting should have an agenda and learning opportunity which expands their knowledge along with actionable items that have accountability tied to them to ensure there is follow through. Sharing each other’s responsibilities and the process of getting the work done allows others to see things from many perspectives.

When you reach a level of capacity within a school, teamwork really can put your school on the map.  Most single-person departments usually try to do everything to the best of their ability without adding one more thing to someone else’s plate.  Communicating verbally and in writing only when sending that “FYI” email.  Just because that type of email is sent out, doesn’t mean that the person receiving understands their role.  I have found that working in isolation doesn’t work.  The circle of influence that each member has is different and by working together brings an opportunity to identify overlapping areas in which support can be given.  The phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” is true when supporting a campus, either student or teacher.  Trusting that each person on the team is vested helps with morale and sustainability.  The power of knowing that your members on your team are the right ones is an incredible overwhelming feeling that makes the impossible possible.

The school year is ending in a few months and planning for the next school year has already begun.  I can proudly say that we have a committed team ready to serve our students and each other. The dedication of the building of capacity and teamwork makes it a “Great day to be a Pirate!”

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