School Meeting Toolkit 3:
How to Run a Productive Meeting
A school meeting can be requested either by you or the school at any time, to address a concern. Here are some important things to remember to run a productive meeting.
Chairing a meeting
1. Usually, the person who calls the meeting (You) also “chairs” the meeting.
*The chair will lead the meeting and follow the agenda. The agenda is the reasons you set out in the email to the team. You do NOT have to chair the meeting. If you want, you can appoint someone else to chair the meeting.
2. When possible, mix up the group seating so there are no specific sides for each group – avoid the ‘us and them’ camp.
3. Thank everyone for coming and state the purpose of the meeting – start with something positive about your child to ground the meeting and to remind everyone why they are there.
Stick to the agenda
4. Others at the meeting may have a different agenda and as the person who called the meeting, you can let them know that that can be discussed at the end, if there is time or they can call another meeting.
5. As you address items on your list, you can cross them off.
6. Try to be curious and an active listener by repeating what has been said, something like “What I hear you saying is…”. This gives the speaker the opportunity to correct a misunderstanding or clarify a perspective or point.
Pro-Tip: If you feel yourself getting emotional, don’t be alarmed. Take care of your needs. This is a great time to drink something, use a fidget tool or get up and move. If you feel comfortable, you can be honest with those around you about your emotional state, which can also help others understand and empathize.
7. Be hard on the problem not on the person. Personal comments regarding staff can make people feel defensive and shifts the focus from the issue being discussed.
– “I feel that …” and “It looks like…” can be used when we want to point out something, someone may or may not be doing.
8. Sometimes the best you can do is a compromise, but it’s okay to ask for some time to be able to think things through.
Identify the next steps
9. If an agreement has not been reached – call another meeting.
10. If an agreement has been made:
– Clarify verbally
– Clarify who is responsible for what
– Decide when to review.
Pro-Tip: The law states that one person can record a conversation that they are a part of, without informing the other participants. This can help if you have no one to take notes, to recall the details later. Using technology can be very helpful and makes meetings more accessible. (Recording work conversations: One-party consent Canada | BLG)
Pro-Tip: You can end a meeting at any time.
By Family Support Institute of BC & BCEdAccess