Happiness… school accreditation/improvement – could there be a link?

Recently, I’ve been pondering how to promote / make opportunities for giving AND simultaneously build a reflective culture of appreciation. Will a culture of giving build happiness, purpose and contentment?

Various unconnected occurrences have led me to the same question…dealing with quarreling children; surfing Facebook for profundity {is that possible?}; interviewing students about service learning; discussing accreditation with teachers;…What is happiness? What ’causes’ the greatest happiness?

One answer jumped out – giving of ourselves and having that giving received and appreciated by others. It produces more than a moment of joy and a lasting smile. It produces a deeper feeling of contentment, purpose and happiness. Yet, it can only happen with (or, upon) reflection (which happens to be one of the driving concepts behind any kind of improvement).

Enter CIS/WASC Accreditation!

Not much happiness when it comes to all the work that evidence collection for accreditation entails (downright hostility, on occasion… by year’s end I can confidently predict that I will be the least popular administrator at my school) and, yet, some incredibly meaningful reflective conversations are resulting from teachers taking an honest look at the standards and indicators. These conversations center around how we can improve.

Now, the glass half-empty folks will end up saying that it’s all pointless because change is unlikely and yet… change happens. Improvement means change and it means hard work AND just the idea of improvement makes people happy and hopeful. I’m convinced that teachers (whether they self-identify as optimists OR pessimists) are inherently optimistic. Teachers are also givers. Given these characteristics and the possibility of improvement through reflection something incredible happens: Hard-working teachers will happily give an enormous amount of time and energy IF they know it will benefit those they are teaching (and there’s some appreciation for that!)

So… reflecting on school improvement brought on by the accreditation process it occurs to me that service and service-learning (and how we reflect on service) is the key to… happiness? In a sense, yes. It will certainly help us improve what we do to build compassion, good character, global citizenship and lifelong learning. It may also make us happy. So, the next question is how do we build that culture of service?

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2 thoughts on “Happiness… school accreditation/improvement – could there be a link?

  1. wanie

    There will always be teachers who wants what’s best for their students and the school. My current school is also working towards CIS accreditation and I have gained a better appreciation of what works, what is in place, where are we headed, and what do we need to improve to get there. You are fighting the good fight Mr. Levno! I don’t think you’d ever be the least favorite admin ever 😉

    Reply
    1. jlevno Post author

      Thanks, Wanie 🙂 I agree that it’s valuable to gain appreciation of what we have (good and bad) in order to improve. Stay well!

      Reply

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