School Safety Threat Assessment is the first step to making your campus safe and secure. Historically, schools have been designed and built for easy entrance and easy exit. They were never built to protect and guard from an attack.
Now, we find ourselves trying to reinforce and defend structures and buildings that were never designed to deter or prevent an attack.
A thorough threat assessment is the first step towards student safety. Our safety and security consultants are veteran military law-enforcement with instructor certifications. In the coming weeks, I will break down the components for the security of your school and your students.
Dr. David A. Wells, Executive and Managing Consultant of the GLOBAL School Consulting Group, is honored to serve as a plenary speaker and moderator for the 2nd Leadership Seminar sponsored by the Colombian Association of Christian Schools, together with the Association of Christian Schools International, to be held in Bogota Colombia, on May 24 and 25, 2018.
The focus of the Leadership Seminar will be on topics of importance to owners, boards, and leaders in Christian schools. Consideration will be given to business models, and the economic and non-economic factors that influence the ownership, governance, and management of schools. Primary themes will include ownership transitions; Board models; roles, responsibilities, and relationships within school organizations; among others. OBED – Colombian Association of Christian Schools, together with the Association of Christian Schools International are sponsoring this event.
Dr. David A. Wells, Managing and Executive Consultant of the GLOBAL School Consulting Group, is pleased to announce that Carlos N. De la Sobera has accepted appointment as the General Director of Colegio San Andrés, effective January 2019. Mr. De la Sobera is an experienced leader, has a multicultural background and experience, and is fluent in English and Spanish, and highly proficient in Portuguese.
Mr. De la Sobera has many years of valuable teaching and administrative experience in international education, at the American International School of Logos (Nigeria) and the American School of Asuncion (Paraguay). He also has experience as an Adjunct Professor in the George Mason University School of Education. Carlos is currently in his third year as the Superintendent at Faith Christian School (FCS), in Asuncion. At FCS he led the development of a second school campus while serving as the chief administrator. He also led the successful implementation of the IB Diploma Program. Carlos’s formal preparation includes a BA in Government and Politics (University of Maryland), an MA in Secondary Education, Curriculum, and Instruction (University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa), and a Post-Master’s Certification in Educational Administration (The College of New Jersey). He holds certification in Secondary Social Studies and Educational Administration.
Recientemente, varios clientes en forma directa o indirecta me han dicho, “¿Y ahora qué hacemos?, las cosas se nos han salido de las manos y no sabemos cómo manejarlas”. En algunos casos los colaboradores muestran desinterés, en otros casos sus comportamientos están afectando la reputación y los resultados de la empresa.
En cada caso, la situación no se dio de la noche a la mañana, fue la acumulación de “cosas que no se hicieron” o “cosas que se dejaron pasar”. Cierto, hay factores externos que afectan, pero esos son inevitables y lo que a nosotros nos corresponde es gobernar aquello sobre lo que sí tenemos la posibilidad de actuar.
Hay al menos tres aspectos que tenemos que revisar y sobre las cuales tenemos que actuar para regresar de la anarquía al gobierno corporativo u organizacional:
1. Todo el mundo debe saber a quién tiene que responder: No se vale no tener jefe, no se vale que el jefe no actúe como jefe, no se vale que el colaborador no respete al jefe, no se vale que no exista una línea de autoridad clara en el organigrama y en la vida real. ¿Cada uno de sus colaboradores tiene a quién rendirle cuentas? ¿Están los jefes pidiendo cuentas?
2. Todo el mundo debe saber sobre qué va a responder: No se vale que las personas no sepan qué se espera de ellos, no se vale que no comuniquemos el comportamiento que se espera y el que no se acepta, no se vale que no se sepa qué es hacer las cosas bien y qué es hacer las cosas mal. ¿Tenemos código de ética y conducta escrito? ¿Cuenta cada colaborador con una clara descripción de su puesto?
3. Todo el mundo debe saber qué va a pasar si no responde: El gobierno efectivo requiere revisión y consecuencias, no se vale que la gente no sepa cuándo y cómo se va a revisar, no se vale que los colaboradores no sepan lo que corresponderá si hacen las cosas bien y qué va a pasar si no se hacen bien. ¿Revisa usted el cumplimiento periódicamente? ¿Hay recompensas si las cosas se hacen bien? ¿Hay consecuencias por no hacer las cosas bien?
Nótese el énfasis en todo el mundo, desde la Junta Directiva hasta el personal de apoyo, las excepciones erosionan el gobierno . Así como no se pierde de la noche a la mañana, el gobierno no se construye rápidamente, lo importante es fortalecerlo o empezar a recuperarlo ya.
Recently, several clients, directly or indirectly asked, “What do we do now? Things are out of control and we don’t know how to handle them”. In some cases, their team members have a lack of interest, in other cases, their behavior is affecting the company’s reputation and output.
In each case, the situation did not just happen overnight; there was an accumulation of “things that were not done” or “things that were not addressed”. It is true that external factors do have an impact, but they are unavoidable, and what we need to do is govern what we can control.
There are at least three aspects that we need to review, and on which we need to act, in order to go from anarchy back to corporate or organizational governance:
1. Everyone needs to know who to report to: it is not fair not having a boss, it is not fair having a boss who does not behave as a boss, it is not fair a team member who does not respect their boss, it is not fair not having a clear line of authority in the flow chart and in real life. Does each team member have someone to be accountable to? Are the bosses requesting accountability?
2. Everyone must know what they are accountable for: it is not fair when people do not know what is expected from them, it is not fair that we do not communicate expected or unacceptable behaviors, it is not fair not knowing what doing things right or doing things wrong looks like. Do we have a written ethics and conduct code? Does every team member have a clear job description?
3. Everyone must know what happens if they do not comply: effective governance requires revision and consequences, it is not fair that people do not know when and how they are going to be evaluated, it is not fair that team members do not know what the consequences are if they do things right or if they do things wrong. Do you evaluate compliance periodically? Are there awards if things are done right? Are there consequences for not doing things correctly?
Note the emphasis in everyone, from the Board of Directors to support staff, exceptions deteriorate governance . Just as it is not lost overnight, governance is not built quickly either, what matters is strengthening or start recovering it now.
There are several non-economic factors that distinguish family-owned schools from those with other ownership structures. Owner values and emotional engagement are two such factors addressed in previous posts. Another such unique and distinguishing factor is altruistic behavior among family members. Altruistic behavior among family members, in the literature, is considered to refer to family members’ desire to cater to the welfare of their family unit (Gomez-Mejia, Cruz, Berrone, and De Castro).
This consultant has worked with many proprietary schools in which altruistic behavior among family members has been functional, purposeful, and effective; contexts within which members of a family have joined forces in operating their school, resulting in an efficient and economically-sound endeavor, bringing economic and non-economic benefit to the family members, as well as to the consumers and beneficiaries of the enterprise.
There is, however, potential for a darker side to this factor of altruistic behavior, in the context of family-owned schools, in which the effort and intent is to benefit family members engaged in the enterprise, without significant consideration to their qualification or contribution to achievement of intended organizational purposes. The satisfaction resulting from this altruism, and the benefits received, can end up being a consequence of living up to family obligations, rather than a commitment and expectation of competence, contribution, or professional performance.
As a safeguard against this sort of altruistic behavior, which can be highly detrimental in the school setting, it is increasingly common for family-owned schools to develop governance-level policies which require owners and beneficiaries of owners who intend to work within the schools, to:
demonstrate qualifications commensurate with the position,
submit to supervision and evaluation according to established norms,
and receive compensation consistent with that received by employees of similar rank and responsibility.
In this way, safeguards are put into place to ensure that altruistic behavior among family members doesn’t become a negative force within the school and its community.
There are several non-economic factors that distinguish family-owned and other privately-owned schools from those with other ownership structures. Owner values are one such structure addressed in a previous post. Another such unique and distinguishing factor is strong emotional engagement. Such schools provide a context in which the family and social group dynamics overlap with those of the school, and create rich and challenging emotional realities.
Owners’ identities are closely tied to their school, and their reputations and social identities are connected directly and inextricably to their school.
Both emotional stress and satisfaction are closely tied to the owners’ engagement, especially when owners are active in governance and/or management of their school. Baron (2008) asserts that “it is now widely accepted that the boundaries between family and the firm are blurred in family business, and that emotions flow back and forth, ultimately affecting how the firm conducts its activities.”
This consultant has observed the role that emotions play in decision-making and in the social dynamics of a school through his involvement with a highly-successful school in Central America, owned jointly by several individuals; each of whom was actively engaged in the school’s governance and operation. The emotional and affective connection between these owners and their school clearly influenced emotions, behaviors, social relationships, communication flow, and decision-making in the school.
Unlike schools owned by entities such as foundations, parent associations, churches, and other entities, in which there is often a regular rotation of key leaders and employees, in privately-owned schools (especially those owned by families), issues cannot be resolved simply by separation and having key figures move on and be replaced. Owners who choose to be active in their schools, are bound together, obliged to deal with the emotional and inter-personal challenges that invariably come, often without the option of moving on to another enterprise.
Family-owned and other privately-owned schools have unique cultures and distinctions, which add to the richness of the non-public school community and the variety of options available in the marketplace. These cultures and distinctives often reflect the essence of the personalities, emotions, and uniqueness of the owners themselves.
There are several non-economic factors that distinguish family-owned schools from those with other ownership structures. One such unique and distinguishing factor is the “Values” held by school owners. Values particular to the Founder or the family-owners often permeate the school’s organization and operation. It is very common that family-owners have a strong desire to infuse their values into the school’s culture, and considerable attention is paid to preserving, celebrating, and perpetuating these values in the life of the school, as an essential facet of the owner’s non-economic investment and legacy.
“The importance of family values as the pillars of the family business’s culture… enabling the company to be differentiated from other enterprises” (Aronoff, 2004).
Often, the dominant role of the Founder of the school, during the entrepreneurial stage of the school’s development, and in subsequent phases, frames a culture within which the inculcation and propagation of the owner’s values become powerful cultural drivers within the school.
This reality has been observed first-hand in several contexts, but never more powerfully than in the DelCampo International School, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This Consultant had the opportunity to accompany the school’s Founder, Orietta Facusse in the process of articulating the values she holds and seeks to celebrate and propagate in DCIS. One such value, that is self-evident in DCIS’s culture, is the Founder’s passionately-held value of the “essential worth of the individual”.
“At DCIS, we believe that an individual has intrinsic worth, and that this worth is not dependent upon the individual’s ability, intellect, capacity, attributes, or even potential. Rather, we value integral development of the individual, helping and permitting for each individual to reach his/her personal potential” (DCIS Board Policy).
This value drove the Founder, and those in her leadership circle, to develop the DelCampo International Academy, a “school within the school” that provides unique and specialized programs and services permitting students who had never been successful in traditional school programs to succeed and flourish. Development of the “Academy” was a risk and a challenge, considered worthy because of a school culture that firmly values of the essential worth of all individuals.
Dr. David A. Wells, Executive and Managing Consultant of the GLOBAL School Consultant Group, is honored to provide governance training to the Board of the Colegio Panamericana (www.panamericano.edu.co), of Bucaramanga, Colombia. The Board of Director’s reports to the General Assembly of Parents, and is responsible for governance of the school, including oversight of the work of the school’s director.
The Colegio Panamericano is a progressive, non-profit educational community with a global perspective offering both Colombian and U.S. diplomas. The school’s rigorous curriculum and exemplary faculty empower students to develop their intellectual, physical, and ethical potentials in preparation for a quality university education and successful life.