Recruiting a self-assessment group
Your school self-assessment group should include all stakeholders: core French and French immersion teachers, special education co-ordinators, guidance counsellors, parents and students from both core and immersion FSL programs. This group could include, but should not be limited to, parents and staff who are on the School Council or similar body. You can ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to participate by putting a notice in the school newsletter or by sending letters to parents and teachers. Don’t forget to determine the ways in which students may best participate before the first meeting.
It is important to emphasize that all participants must be committed to engaging in positive dialogue and to working for positive change. This is not an opportunity to criticize individual teachers, parents, students or principals, nor will results be used to compare schools. Offer the information that background information is available for participants. This will help to reassure parents and students who may be concerned that they lack information about certain aspects of FSL education. Make sure that it is clear that both core and immersion programs will be addressed. Emphasize, as well, that this self-assessment will lead to positive change; action and advocacy plans will be developed and implemented.
Once a group has been established, encourage all participants to prepare for the discussion:
- Distribute the self-assessment tool in advance so that participants have time to think about the issues.
- Encourage all participants to prepare for the discussion by reading the background information on the CPF website. It is a good idea to ensure that at least one or two people make a commitment to review the background material.
- Decide how the School Self-Assessment process will be organized. For example, you could set aside three hours to complete the assessment, or you could hold three shorter sessions to cover one assessment category at a time.
- Meetings to develop and implement your Action/Advocacy Plan should be scheduled after the assessment when participants had an opportunity to think about strategies to address issues identified during the assessment.
Recruiting a Facilitator
It is important that all participants in your school’s self-assessment feel comfortable sharing their views and hearing the opinions of others. Parents and students may feel hesitant to express opinions if the principal or a teacher chairs the meeting. Similarly, school staff may feel criticized if a parent is in charge of the process.
These problems can be avoided by recruiting a neutral facilitator. A facilitator can ensure that a non-confrontational atmosphere is maintained so that all stakeholders feel comfortable that their views will be heard and respected. The facilitator may remind participants that they all share a common goal: to effect positive change. A facilitator will also ensure that discussions remain on topic, that all self-assessment indicators are addressed, and that action and advocacy plans are developed.
Facilitators may be recruited from within your community. Here are a few places you may try:
United Way Associations
Social service agencies
University and College professors