Reflection from the Schools
1. Continuing education, lifelong learning is important for a school to thrive. The culture of excellence is basically sustained by the new things learned each day by all the stakeholders and the innovation that happens after the learning. Whether it is formal as going back to school to finish a master’s or Phd or informal as reading books of diverse themes and topics, administrators, faculty and staff must all be committed to learn as well.
The culture of high expectation is needed to elevate everybody’s mindset, and that runs from the leadership down to the students. As how a pastor in North Point Church said, “an organization must not be limited to the brain capacity of the leaders or core.” It is imperative that they continue to learn, relearn. And especially unlearn.
In Brightwood School, T. Joyce emphasized that T. Ana took her master’s from the Ateneo and she constantly encouraged her team to pursue their post-graduate degree.
In Our Saviour Academy, teachers employed graduated with honors. They also have a learning group where teachers are required to read and share among themselves. There is a wide reading culture in this school as also supported by an updated and functional librabry.
In Emmanuel Christian School, T. Ruby has a deep passion for learning as evident in her desire to learn and improve her technical know-how about education.
Both schools pointed out to the importance of continuing education, but I guess the most important thing is that a school must not see itself as a consumer of knowledge or learning but rather an active producer of it.
2. Visuals matter, facilities draws people toward the school. We all liked the idea of having something new to offer which both parents and students can look forward to school year after school year. In LifeCollege, we do events that are very much anticipated but unlikely to become sustainable because they are strictly people-based. Unless it is integrated into the system and can be done by the team, then it can go on for years.
Facility investment are quite a shock in Our Saviour Academy because it an expensive, yet, long term investment. There was wisdom in Ps Brian who never believed in loan and took it by faith and was able to add up something every year. And his keen eye for details and artistry is moving the school towards postmodern architectural design, which is very zen, easy to the eyes, and functional. Since I am a caffeinic person, I really admire the reader’s cafe. It brought me back to staying at the UST’s reader’s cafe.
Brightwoods School, on the other hand, showed me not just about each teacher owning the classroom design theme or concept and bringing it to life, but the school showed how important it is to train teachers to do the task and make sure they know something about the fundamental of designs.
Like how I approached my students, it is not just about making them work but it’s about ensuring that they are also equip with skills needed to finish the work in its desired way. I liked the idea of a visual artist to train and oversee the schools overall classroom layout and design. It gives me the thought that education is not a task by teachers alone, the presence of people from diverse educational background and profession, even those with the slightest hint of connection is a wellspring of idea. It’s like the medical and dental services provided for by SCA. It’s like having a school chaplain, who would take care of the student’s spiritual needs as well.
3. The tipping point is triggered not by heavily clad ads nor by just mere word of mouth. Though they help promote, the people inside the school-administrators, faculty, staff, students including their parents-all take part on the walking billboard game.
Like what is claimed by the book Starbucks, it is about considering everyone in the organization as partners. Like how BWS put it, they crave not to satisfy customers, but to make them loyal.
Hence, the school must be providing a good customer-driven service. The parents, not only their children, matter. No wonder, with the same drive and mindset towards their customer, Emmanuel Christian School and Our Saviour Academy were able to lead the parents and families towards Christ. It was better for the parents to invest their money, assuming they have the money because they can send their kids to a private school, to the church through tithing and offering than spend them somewhere else.