2007 Coordinators Exchange
On Friday, October 26th, 2007 23 WISE Coordinators shared a morning of refreshments, problem-solving, ideas, role play and camaraderie. Once again, Woodlands High School’s WISE Coordinators Constantine Andreadis and John MacLean graciously played hosts to the group. Student Coordinators were invited and a great group of students from Scarsdale, Hendrick Hudson, Rondout and Woodlands High Schools attended the Exchange.
Among the activities was a chance for new coordinators to ask questions of experienced Coordinators, school sharing and materials exchange. Perhaps the most creative activity was one led by Vic Leviatin in which school teams created stationery for their WISE programs. We are always searching for ways to establish WISE traditions within schools and to perpetuate the program. Creating stationery is a way to say “We’re here for the long-term!” Putting the names of Parent/Community Coordinators and Student Coordinators on the letterhead establishes the importance of these roles, creates ownership, and shows these individuals that their contributions are valued. Among the other benefits could be increased volunteerism, increased sense of responsibility, improved administrative support (don’t forget their names!) and a sense of continuity. Uses included sending thank you notes, writing recommendation letters for Student Coordinators, and writing to mentors, parents, and sponsors.
The stationery should include the logo used on the brochure and manuals, contact information including emails and phone numbers for the school WISE program Coordinators (including Parent/Community and Students), and administrative names. It was also suggested that at the bottom of the letterhead should be the date (as a historical document since the names will change over time), and the words “Affiliated with WISE Services, www.wiseservices.org, email@example.com , 845 353-2854.” A sample produced by the Hendrick Hudson High School team appears below.
Another activity involved a simulation for the visiting Interim Superintendent, Sid Freund. Coordinators were invited into the inner circle of the “Fish Bowl” to discuss why they had a WISE program in their school and what they would tell someone from another school who was considering starting a program. They talked about why they enjoy their programs and why they enjoy being WISE Coordinators.
During the role play, two coordinators (played by Deborah Harris and Vic Leviatin with commentary by Andy Lutz and Linda Greene) played out a scenario in which one coordinator sees the glass as half empty, and the other as half full. One coordinator was too rigid in their expectations, and the other coordinator refused to become constrained and sought ways to make the program a success for every student. Issues such as Leniency vs. Firmness and Tough Love versus Understanding coordinating styles were discussed.
Questions pertained to finding placements, continuity for coordinators who are leaving, administrative support, involving younger students and the parents of younger students were raised over the course of the morning and answers to these issues were suggested.
Said one experienced coordinator who was away from the Exchange last year,
“What a great conference it was. I loved seeing everyone again and I loved all the new ideas. “
Another Coordinator said, “Among the important lessons learned, it can never be said enough how important communication, especially with the community, is to the WISE program.”
Another participant said “I learned so many things and met so many people.” I valued “everyone’s wonderful ideas and the voices of students, teachers, administrators, etc.
Speaking on behalf of WISE Services, we valued your participation and loved seeing you. We hope to see as many Coordinators (and their teams!) as possible at our Spring Conference and next fall at the 2008 Coordinators Exchange.