The Transformative Results in the last 90 days for our owners and directors!
Back when Covid-19 first hit, we stopped in our tracks and took a moment to reflect. We asked ourselves the big question we ALWAYS ask ourselves, but this time, amidst a global pandemic: what does support look like now?
We turned inward, as a team, and brainstormed. We turned outward, to our members, and surveyed them.
Many of our Directors had questions about reopening, and what social-distancing would mean for their family connections and staff culture. Many of our Owners had questions about their enrollment, and how to fill their capacity amidst the new worries of health & safety.
In March, I onboarded a new community director and this was to be our first 6-hour conversation.
We brainstormed ideas, we read the member surveys, and we narrowed it down to the topics our members needed to be covered, and thus was born the School Leadership Accelerator!
The Challenge was 9 weeks for our directors and 12 weeks for our owners.
Each week we challenged members to reflect on how the pandemic had affected one of the pillars of their schools. We challenged them to learn new information, watch informative videos, complete assignments, answer questions, attend support calls, and collaborate with one another. Below is a recap of the work they did and the transformation that it created in themselves and their school.
Weel #1: Mindset
We asked members to go back to the foundation of it all, their mindset. Members were asked to consider how their core values were affected due to the pandemic. Chanie spoke about how our core values never change, but their manifestation often does.
We challenged members to consider reassessing how they manifest their core values and spoke how your PERSPECTIVE IS YOUR PRISON! They also learned from Guest Expert Rachel Tuchman, LMHC, on how to nurture ourselves in order to take care of others.
Here members share their core values and their commitment to staying true to them even during this challenging time.
Kathy Gray, a member since 2019 and owner of 6 locations shared her perspective.
“Your prospective is your prison! I think I was stuck in a place of avoiding in the beginning of all this. I put a fence up and just did what I had to do but was numb to what was happening around me. I definitely think it was a defense mechanism because I wasn't sure I could take much more. I couldn't give much more. Then I started listening to all your stories, what was happening and still happening. How amazing each of you are as you navigate through this and from so many different places. I decided I wasn't going to let this virus numb me anymore. I was going to take advantage of the time and really focus on our core value of education. I decided I was going to pour everything into educating my staff on best practices and fill their buckets as much as I could during this "down" time because when its all over I can then see clearly who truly shares my vision and mission. Who truly wants to show up as the best version of themselves for these children. I will open my eyes and have those difficult conversations, hold staff accountable, and move on from those that aren't interested in growing and learning and challenging themselves everyday. From this horrific virus, I am no longer a prisoner of my prospective. I have moved on to being true to my values, and true to myself. I have realized that there are many people out there that share in those values and many that don't. Thats okay, they are still awesome people, they just aren't okay for me.”Kathy Gray, VirginiaOwner and Member since 2019
Tracey Baxter, a Director and member since May 2019 shared how her commitment to the mindset of gratitude has guided her during this time.
“Showing appreciation and building positive connections are essential in creating a positive environment in our program. I have been reaching out daily to my teachers and sending out emails to the parents. The 30 day resource really supported me with achieving this goal. Our team has been really focused on touching base with the families by setting up a virtual classroom in a private facebook group. We have been closed since March 17th due to state government orders to close. I have continued with my gratitude practice and it has really helped during this time. I found with showing appreciation that others continue the practice. That is what I noticed during this time is that other teachers have been reaching out to each other. I have one teacher that is secretly dropping off flowers at teachers houses. I have another teacher sending a daily devotion to all teachers. That are some of the positive things I have seen since our center closed.”Tracy BaxterDirector and member since May 2019
Weel #2: Gratitude
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, as well as it being one of my core beliefs, we introduced Gratitude Week. We created a booklet of Teacher Appreciation ideas that could be done in school, or from home, depending on the status of the individual school.
We asked Owners to share how they find gratitude in the struggle and we asked Directors to share what they did for Teacher Appreciation Week in their schools.
Both groups attended a Support Call with Chanie where we discussed:
- Virtual orientations tours and graduations
- How to tell parents when a beloved teacher is leaving
- How to gauge whether parents will send their children back to school
- How to build trust with our parents
- How to release beliefs that are weighing us down, and
- How to navigate the mental health struggles of ourselves and our staff
Weel #3: Leading In Crisis
This week, Chanie launched 25 interviews with experts in different fields for a “Schools in Crisis” series. We challenged members to watch as many interviews as they could, and share their biggest takeaways.
We introduced our first co-working session:
- Directors and owners were split up into breakout rooms according to the status of their school (opened, Zoom-ing, or closed)
- During the session, they had the opportunity to network with one another about the challenges and creative solutions they’ve been navigating.
Our Owners were invited to an EXPERT SESSION by “The Child Care Lawyer”, Ron McGuckin, who gave over a wealth of information about the legalities of leading in a crisis.
“I’ve enjoyed the interviews so much and there is a lot to digest. Something about the sentence that Todd Herman said, “How do you want to see yourself when you come out of these 90 days? this has me really channeling lots of my decisions as to what I’m putting energy towards and now I’m letting go!”Frumie Bogomilsky, New JerseyDirector and member since 2018
“We added symptoms of regression to our parent survey to gauge where kids are currently regressing. So that we can give parents the language and the tools they need to support their children.”Alex Bernath, OhioOwner and member since 2018
Week #4: Time Analysis and the School Leader Scorecard
This week, we provided members with a detailed Time-Tracking Template. We challenged our members to track their minutes and label their work into categories of Do, Design, Dump, or Delegate.
Our Owners’ eyes were opened with The School Leader’s Scorecard which asked them to put a price to their tasks and workdays. Many of them learned that the true value of their workday was close to $7! As they busied themselves with were minimal tasks.
Once they put this to the test, they challenged themselves to dig deep and some came out operating $7,000 days when they were doing an activity that ONLY an owner should be doing.
Our directors were challenged to introduce The End of Day Optimizer to ensure that what they focused on that day REALLY moved their school forward. In a time when your to-do list is SO long, you can’t afford to be doing busy work!
“I had a $7000 day! So much to work on, but grateful for what I’ve accomplished today!”Nicolene Santomartino, ItalyNew member of 30 days
“I was stuck doing $10/hour tasks for the last 2 weeks! I was painting the center, ripping out the carpet, and laying down vinyl flooring. My goal is to move to the $1000/hour tasks by Friday!”Aretha Kitson, DelawareOwner of 7 locations and member since 2019
Week #5: Priorities + Roles & Responsibilities
Once our members understood where their time was going, we challenged them to reflect on the delegation and priorities of their team.
Directors were presented with 2 new resources from Chanie with videos explaining each of them.
- The Priority Matrix helped them identify the priority level of the tasks and HOW to choose what to focus on.
- The Daily Huddle gave directors a checklist of how to lead their morning staff meetings so that everyone can be on the same page.
Owners were given the Roles & Responsibilities Chart, a template to help them redefine their team’s roles based on:
Chanie explained how to maximize this resource and members posted how they plan to use it.
Each group had a support call where Chanie analyzed one member’s Time-Tracking Spreadsheet and attendees had the opportunity to ask any questions to Chanie and be laser-coached towards the solution.
“I started using the roles and responsibilities spreadsheet and brain dumped all the roles . then i forwarded it to my 2 directors and they are adding what they can think of as well. My next step is to make sure that we say who is handling it and WHY and then we will put them into the categories. I’m looking forward to this!!”Missy Griffin, OhioOwner of 3 locations and member since 2018
“I have been doing 2 in person huddles with my directors every week. Now we have moved to via chat online. It has helped everyone stay on the same page and make sure we are all working on the right things at the right time.”Barbora Curlett, MassacutesOwner and member since 2019
“We’ve been working on this for almost 2 years and it’s a constant work in progress. I love how we divided up here to really help each director and assistant director be accountable to what they need to do to move the company forward.”Christine TeanderOwner of 2 locations and member since February 2019
What some other owners had to share about this exercise:
Week #6: School Leadership Habits + School Message & Promise
This week, Chanie introduced Directors to the 3 habits they needed to STOP doing as leaders. Too often we get stuck in what we need to START doing, when really if we just stop 1 thing then we become very different leaders.
The 3 habits to STOP doing are:
- Adding too much value
- Failure to give proper recognition
- Excessive need to be “me”
Members were asked to commit to changing at least ONE of these habits.
“I want to stop adding too much value, I know this is a bad habit and I look forward to seeing how it can help my school.”Jackie Ogada, AfricaMember since 2019
“I’m SO glad I watched this training, I want to be the leader who stops adding so much value. This is a time for my staff to step up and help me reinvent my school. I don’t have all the answers and collectively we are stronger! I’m going to delegate and include them in decision making.”Deb AnayaMember since 2019
“I SO needed to hear this right now, my commitment is to let go of the excessive need to be me. I feel like I hold onto this as a crutch. I want to move past this fear and push myself out of my comfort zone!”Jessica EidenMember since 2018
In our Owners group – they were given the School Message & Promise Workbook and Chanie walked members through;
- How to reassess what their school message in
- Are they giving their current and potential parent body what they need
- How to identify the benefits and metrics that parents want
We invited Guest Expert Morty Silber, a Marketing Strategist who coached individual members on how to incorporate their school’s uniqueness into their messaging.
Both groups attended a Support Call with Chanie which discussed;
- Confidence as a leader
- How to choose who to furlough
- How to make teachers feel safe in the workspace, and
- More leadership challenges that have been presented due to the pandemic
“I finished doing the product features exercise and was able to list out all the things that our school has to offer. Next I'm onto the metrics that matter to our families so that we can target WHO ideal families are at this time. I also really enjoyed working through the features part of the exercise.”Paige Kepner, VirginiaMember for last 60 days
Week #7: Implementation Week
This week we encouraged members to catch up on challenges that they missed and/or further implement the work that they already completed.
Our community manager followed up with members to let them know exactly what work they were missing. This is ONE of the most powerful parts of the membership – ACCOUNTABILITY, we hold out members accountable.
We hosted a Co-Working Session: Productivity Sprint which gave members a 60-minute time-block to complete their make-up work while on camera together.
Week #8: Personal Habits + Website
This week, Chanie spoke to Directors about The Great Adaptation. She discussed our need to adapt frequently during this time, and what habits leaders need in order to encourage that same flexibility to the staff and families of their school. She also spoke about being intentional about HOW you want to show up as a leader.
Our Owners worked on their School’s Message & Promise (Week #6!), we asked them to begin implementing that message into their website.
- Chanie shared her input on a 3-page website and what each page should include.
- We released a 1-hour interview with Cheryl Binnie, a “Direct Response” Copywriter and owner of Copy Luv who spoke about how to reset & refresh your website.
- Members were partnered together to provide feedback on one another’s websites.
Both groups attended a Support Call with Chanie which discussed;
- Hiring during Covid
- Motivating staff
- Juggling professional and personal relationships,
- Struggle with enrolment, and
- How to respond to staff who say “I don’t have time.”
Chanie prepared an entire script of how to lead that conversation and we printed it to make it available for our members.
“The training with Cheryl was SO good, there is a wealth of knowledge. how to lay it out, design it, set up the homepage, what to write about, and much more! I’m going to re-watch tomorrow as I critique my website and my partners.”Sara ScreinerMember since 2020
“Done!! Took the info about the slider and changed outs to our playground, it's one of our biggest wow factors. Takes up the entire roof of the building in downtown Seattle!”Kerstin Brinson took immediate action!Executive director of 2 locations in Seattle Washington
Week #9: Your School’s Story
This week, we challenged owners to put new intentions into their School’s Story.
- Chanie spoke to owners about how our story has evolved throughout this pandemic and how we need to evolve the way it’s being told
- She supplied members with the best questions to get the rawest and most real testimonials, and
- We challenged members to reach out to their parents this week.
We also had a Guest Expert + Co-Working Session with the Schools of Excellence in-house marketing expert, Lauren Birkmire who spent 1-on-1 time answering members’ questions about marketing and testimonials.
A glimpse into how our owners took action right away:
Week #10: Social Media
This week we challenged Owners to audit the status of their social media channels and released an interview Chanie had with expert Marketing Strategist, Jen Lehner, who shared:
- Valuable insights on managing your center’s social media platforms.
- Dozens of tactical advice for each platform
- Including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
- How to use the platforms to attract new families
We asked members which of their social media platforms bring in the most leads and challenged them to reset & refresh that platform to address today’s climate and needs.
Both Owners and Directors had a Support Call with Chanie where she addressed:
- Creative ways to leverage their resources
- How to navigate a parent who wants to pull their child out
- New questions to ask potential hirees during Covid-19
- How to encourage staff to be adaptable during this time
- How to help a teacher who’s bringing her mom-duties to her job, and
- How to recreate a feeling of security to parents who can no longer come into the school building with their children
Week #11: PR & Media
This week we challenged owners to become more visible by investing energy into the way they publicize themselves. We hosted a Guest Expert Session with Amanda Berlin who spoke about:
- How to rise as a leader during this time
- How to make your message unique and specific, and
- The 3 pillars to become more visible
We challenged owners to commit to investing their energy in one of the pillars and make a plan for becoming more visible.
Week #12: Implementation Week
We wrapped up the Reset & Refresh Challenge with our second Implementation Week. Members were challenged yet again to make up or further implement past challenges.