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It's February 2, AGAIN: What to do when you find yourself in a green schools rut

From the February 2, 2012 CHPS E-Bulletin

By Ariel Dekovic, CHPS Senior Programs and Communications Manager

“You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.”

This is Phil Connors in the 1993 classic movie "Groundhog Day" (refresh your memory with the trailer on YouTube) in the deepest pit of despair. He has realized that he is somehow stuck, repeating February 2, in Punxsutawney, PA. Unable to leave the town due to some depressingly bad weather conditions, Phil is doomed to repeat February 2, until he is able to realize his potential for understanding his situation.

When it comes to your school buildings or district decisions, does it sometimes feel like you are Phil, repeating the same mistakes over and over? Does a certain project seem stalled, unable to move forward because of some unseen roadblock?

There is hope! Here are four suggestions on how to reenergize your high performance school program:

  • Think about what you've done well. Sometimes just being able to identify one strategy that has worked well can lead to results in another area. Did you find a high performance school ally on your school administration team? Or think about how to raise awareness about this success. What local newspaper might like to profile the project? Post your story in CHPS’ LinkedIn group or on our Facebook page to get some community feedback. We love hearing success stories, no matter how small.
  • Get a free membership to CHPS for your school or district. It’s easy to sign up, and it’s an even easier way to let your community know that your school committed to becoming a high performance school. Not a school or district? You can still become a CHPS member.
  • Learn something new. Yes, we’re all busy just getting the job done, but sometimes it can be ten times more productive to stop where you are and get a new perspective. School Planning and Management and American School and University Magazine both have great year-long calendars of school events. If you can't leave your office, then spend ten minutes, and learn about this cool tool from the Colorado CHPS Criteria that helps you to create schools that are flexible in a changing energy economy.
  • Rethink your communication approach. Sometimes obstacles aren’t really obstacles – it’s just a communication breakdown. IAQ Tools for Schools recently shared a fantastic story of how Ponca City Public Schools turned its indoor air quality around by rethinking how they communicated with their staff and with their entire community. IAQ is just one area you can rethink your communications strategy; all aspects of high performance schools start with good communication and integrated team problem-solving. “Planning for High Performance Schools” is a great CHPS resource that helps you think about those communications strategies between all team members.

And if you’re still stuck – take a note from Bill Murray’s character. He’s unable to get out of his Groundhog Day nightmare until he starts to do good for good’s sake. So when in doubt, remember why we’re doing this: it’s the kids.

February 2, 2012 (Sacramento, CA) What to do when you find yourself in a "Groundhog Day" (the movie!) green schools rut. ~order=2012-02-02
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