I have been part of a team along with Dawn that has been planning a systems thinking conference next month sponsored by our Puget Sound ESD. The conference is the brain child of Joshua Halsey from the ESD who has been supported by many people to make this learning opportunity come alive. I believe that it will be a wonderful opportunity for teams to focus on system tools to develop a deeper understanding of their current reality and the gap between that reality and a preferred vision for the future. This deeper understanding and the tools will assist the teams in developing short and long range plans to reduce the gap. Each team will also be supported by a systems coach to assist them in using the tools that will be introduced.
For a variety of reasons we were not able to identify a building to take advantage of this opportunity. We do, however, have a team that will attend composed of department and building administrators, building managers, PSE Association representatives, and classification representatives. The problem of practice they will focus on is evaluation and what many in the Association currently see as something the administrators do to meet the legal and contractual requirements, but is not something that provides meaningful data for support and growth over time. For years they have been asking for us to revisit this issue and each time we agree that it is a problem, but put forth no solutions. This conference will provide an opportunity for a collaborative review of current practice, for creating a vision of a better process, and for planning how to move towards the new vision.
I am excited for this opportunity to support the team with this issue and for the experience with the tools locally. I want to see this conference with four teams grow because I believe that there is leverage in these tools for teams wanting to change practice that sustains over time. I’ll share more during the conference that starts August 2nd.