Resources and Tools

As schools adjust to online teaching and learning,  Folio is eager to assist school leaders as they support and guide their faculty and staff.

This page includes resources and suggestions that we have found especially relevant to the current environment facing independent schools.

Town Hall Presentation
Added March 18, 2020

The Folio Team hosted their first Town Halls on March 17, creating an opportunity for school leaders to share insights and ideas, and identify the issues and challenges they are grappling with as their schools move to remote learning.

Here is Folio Executive Director Meredith Monk Ford’s presentation that guided these productive discussions.

Watch the videos of the two Town Hall conversations: 

Session 1

Session 2

Watch this space. Folio is quickly developing new programs and tools to bring school leaders together to share ideas and support one another.

New Resources: Checking In With Your Faculty
Added March 17, 2020

As a leader in an independent school during these challenging times, you’re undoubtedly thinking about how to meet the diverse and abundant needs of your entire school community. And as a team leader, you’re probably also wondering how best to support your teachers through this period of rapid transition and crisis. How might you continue to serve as a resource for your teachers, as a source of stability and continuity, and as a partner and collaborator as they work to adapt – professionally and personally – to this stressful situation?

One piece of advice from the research? Slow down, ask questions, and listen. Create the time and space to check in with teachers, to empathize with teachers, and to hear what they need – right now and tomorrow and the next day – to keep moving ahead into this unknown.

Research shows us that learning cannot happen when the “fight or flight” response has been activated. And since we’re asking teachers to engage in some pretty heavy and complex learning right now, we need to have teachers who are primed and receptive and ready to think flexibly and change course as needed. Not teachers who are frightened and shut down.

So how can you, as a team leader, help your team move into this learning zone? One concrete way is to begin each encounter –  whether it be an informal conversation or a more formal faculty meeting – with a check-in. A time for teachers to share how they’re feeling, for others to listen expansively, and for you, as a leader, to get a deep sense of where your teachers are right now so that you then develop compassionate and informed plans for moving forward together.

Here’s a quick check-in protocol to use with your faculty.

Virtual Check-in Circle

  • Benefits: allows people to move beyond distractions and pressing needs to be fully present; drives understanding and awareness; gives everyone a voice; reinforces trust; connect us in our shared humanity
  • Protocol
    • Designate 5-10 minutes (give or take, depending on the size of the meeting) in the agenda, at the start of the meeting. 
    • Check-ins work best when you can see the other person/people so think about using video conferencing for these types of meetings.
    • Designate a facilitator to ask a check-in question (while you might want to start as the check-in facilitator, think about transitioning this role as you get used to this structure)
    • Ask a check-in question: “What has your attention right now?” “What are you bringing to this meeting?” “Where are you right now?”
    • Each team member responds, reserving the right to pass if they chose. Rotate until everyone has had a chance. Listen with no response or follow-up from anyone in the group.

* Note for the Leader: While this check-in protocol does not include a wrap-up or synthesis of the conversation, you might want to consider keeping track of recurrent themes shared during the check-ins to inform potential follow-up to individual team members (sharing of pertinent resources, additional conversation).

Interested in learning more and trying this out with your team? We’ve compiled a few resources below – try them and let us know how the check-in process works for helping guide your team through these difficult times!

Checking in and Out: What’s that All About?

For More Productive Meetings, Do a Mindset Check-in First

Check-in Circle

Icebreakers and Warming Up Protocols


Expansive Listening

Connect With Other Leaders
Added March 13, 2020

We are hosting two online Town Hall discussions Tuesday, March 17  where you can connect with other school leaders to problem-solve together and to learn about tools for supporting teachers. As a community, we can leverage our collective experience.

For the 7:30 am (Eastern) session, you can register here.

For the 10:30 am (Eastern; 7:30 am Pacific) session, you can register here.

Ideas and Insight

  • Stay in touch – Create opportunities and processes, such as using Slack for staff to informally interact.
  • Maintain rituals – Acknowledge popular rituals virtually, such as birthdays, celebrations, office hours, happy hours and other moments when staff would come together.
  • Ask – Regularly check-in with staff to see how they are adjusting to their “new normal” and how you can support them. Tend to emotional needs as well as required tasks.
  • Be Clear – Establish and clearly communicate norms and boundaries for when and how staff communicate with each other and with their supervisors.
  • Encourage structure – Encourage staff to maintain a regular schedule and create an “office” space at home.
  • Be Innovative – Deploy the many online programs, platforms and applications that allow teams to meet and collaborate online, such as Folio, Slack, Google Hangouts – and define expectations for how these tools are used.
  • Stay positive – Remind teachers that while this change might be new and temporary, the fundamentals of connecting with students and learning communities remain constant.
  • Promote learning and growth – Help teachers see online learning (and any change) as an opportunity to reimagine instruction and develop their practice.

Supporting Remote Teams

Some of these resources were created for other industries or other types of businesses but offer insight that can be applied to independent schools.

Managing Online

Human Resources Practices

Other Resources

*Harvard Business Review requires a subscription after five complimentary downloads.

Schedule a Demo

Thank you for your interest in Folio. We’d love to show you how Folio can help you promote growth and professional development in your school.