Creating a Culture of Calm

Meredith Monk Ford

Folio Executive Director


Like you, I had hoped that by this point in the school year, we would know what to expect from week to week. Seven months into the pandemic and over a month since students returned, I assumed – like you – that we would have a plan for the year, be it for a remote, in-person or hybrid experience.

But alas, we are all struggling with the unknown. We know that the disruption to the traditional cadence of the school year creates anxiety and discomfort. Typically, you know what to expect around now – everyone is finally in “school shape” and the daily routines have formed. We all take comfort in the predictability of the school year’s flow from the annual school rituals like student performances and athletics to the long weekends and breaks.  These provide a sense of balance and expectation.

But not this year.

This lack of predictability is hard – on students, on faculty and staff, and on you, the school leaders who need to motivate and encourage.

How then, amidst this unknown, can you create a culture of calmness, planfulness and growth?

Right now, and for this year, we know that we all need to be flexible and adaptable. We have to plan for and accept different eventualities. We have to reframe our frustration and see this moment as a benefit rather than a burden.

And we have to focus on what we can control. As a Folio member, you know that for your faculty and staff, this starts with helping them to hone in on those strategies that will serve them best this year. Everyone is growing this year whether they want to or not, so setting goals is really about helping your community to articulate and focus on what they can control to maximize learning at this time. Clear and articulated goals can provide the direction, motivation and expectation they crave.

This newsletter has some great resources for how you can implement an effective goal-setting process. I also encourage you to make all the features in myFolio part of your school’s focus. The Mindful Minute helps teachers think about what’s been going on, and share their mood and mindset with you. The School Community Feed is powerful because as teachers share resources with their colleagues, they see their colleagues’ inventiveness and creativity.

As always, the Collaborative community can help. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing stories and best practices from your colleagues at our Member Schools who are successfully navigating these uncharted times. And, as always, the Folio Team is here to support you. Please let me know what we can do to make your navigation easier.


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