Relationships, Relationships!

As educators, we keep hearing about how important it is to build relationships with students, but the relationship between staff and administration sets the tone for the entire school and district. If there is a supportive environment, open communication, and respect among staff and administration then, it carries over to the students as well. Happy teachers=happy school!

Supportive Environment

In a supportive environment, all employees benefit. They can help each other and build one another up. This takes teamwork. There is no I in TEAM! With a shared goal and vision, that is developed together, they can work together to achieve goals. All employees want the school to be successful. However, there will be problems that arise during the school year, if there is a supportive environment in place, the staff and administration will work together to meet these challenges. A top down approach isn’t always the most successful. Having teacher “buy in” is crucial to setting the tone of the school.

Open Communication

Just because an administrator can send a quick email, it doesn’t mean there is open communication. Schools need to be a safe place for students and staff. Open communication and a supportive environment, go hand in hand. Staff need to feel comfortable to meet with their direct administrator to discuss anything from discipline to buying supplies without feeling ashamed.


I once saw a sign that said, “mistakes are expected, respected, and inspected”. Is this just a saying or is it a reality? Treating each other as professionals and in a professional manner is just one way to show respect. Not all staff will agree with decisions made by their administrator, but being respectful makes all the difference.

In schools that have a supportive environment, open communication, and respect have adopted a school wide management system that include Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and Vision Teams. These types of groups work together to make decisions within the school or district. These teams report back to the school/district wide leadership team which is then responsible for making decisions to avoid a “top down” approach.

Why is this important?

As you market to schools, some districts have a top down approach which may limit the contact you have within schools. If individual teachers are not given buying power, you need to find out who makes the purchasing decisions in the school. Is that the PLC, Vision Team, Curriculum Director, or Administration? This will help with your marketing efforts and streamline the purchasing process.


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About the Author

Teresa Marchant a Teacher Librarian at Lockwood School in Billings, Montana. She has been an educator for 20 years and has served as the Professional Development Committee Chair in her school district and on the board for the Montana Library Association. Additionally, Teresa has been part of team responsible for writing state and local Library Information Literacy standards. She holds a Masters in Educational Technology with an emphasis in Online Instruction from Montana State University as well as a certificate in School Library Media from the University of Washington. She loves learning and enjoys helping others which makes her an awesome school librarian. 

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