MESPA Monday Memo
December 12, 2016
From The MESPA Blog :
“Ubuntu: ‘I am because of you.’”
By Liz Garden, Principal – Florence Roche Elementary School, Groton, MA
In this week’s post, Liz recalls the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 and how it touched all of us. Referring to the South African phrase, “ Ubuntu,” Liz reminds us that we are who we are because of others – whether through indirect interactions with staff and families of Newtown or our more direct interactions with our families or our own schools.   She encourages us to reflect on who we are as educational leaders through the lens of our connections with others. Read more at:
From the Executive Director:
Using Meeting Time Wisely
Last week, while attending the NEASC Annual Conference in Boston, I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop session led by Liz City, the Director of the Doctor of Education Leadership Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  She is the co-author of several worthwhile books including  Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators.  

Liz challenged us to think differently about our use of meeting time. Why focus on meetings?  Because time is our most precious resource and because research has shown that quality of meetings matters more than quantity.  She described the changes needed to think differently about meetings in two ways:
  • An adaptive change to recast our meetings as an opportunity for adult learning. 
  • A technical change to plan effective meetings every time.
  Liz proposed several ways to improve the quality of meetings. 
  1. Make better agendas for individual meetings. 
  2. Invest in a firm foundation for meetings by establishing group norms, acknowledging work style preferences, developing agenda templates, and documenting what gets done.
  3. Improving facilitation of meetings by being clear about who is facilitating the meeting and making intentional choices during the meeting about when to stick to and when to deviate from the agenda.
Drawing on the work of surgeon Atul Gawande,  Liz and co-author Kathy Boudett created this handy meeting wise checklist to use as a tool in evaluating your agendas. The checklist is divided into four areas:  Purpose, Process, Preparation, and Pacing. Here is one example of a meeting agenda template from their Meeting Wise book.  

Want to know more?  Get the book or listen to their podcast on meetings (11 minutes) at

Rick Rogers
New Job Postings
We recently added two job postings from  Brookline for principals at 2 schools ( Previously posted are Newton (3 schools) and Walpole.  Check our website regularly for updates. 
Last Call: Sign-up by December 19.
Regional Principals’ Support Groups
New Group Forming in Duxbury
Beginning January 19. Meeting one Thursday per month 7:30-9:30 am
Contact us for more information.

4 Groups Underway in Andover, Barre, Holliston & Wakefield  
(And still accepting new members)

Last Call for Belchertown & Groton
Still need members in order to run these groups.  Try one out for 4 sessions!   Groups may elect to continue next year.  

For information on MESPA’s support groups, go to:
Join This Week's Twitter Chats

The Mindful Leader
Wednesday, December 14
8:00-9:00 pm

Hacking Engagement
With Author @jamessturtevant
Tuesday, December 13
8:00-9:00 pm

January Workshop Schedule
On-line registration can be found at:
Teachers can register at the membership rate if principal a MESPA member.
Earn 6 PDPs toward new requirement in Special Education
Discounts for teams of 3 or more from same school.
Click on titles for details.  

Teacher Workshops
On-Line Workshop - Opens January 16, 2017
On-Line Workshop - Opens January 23, 2017
In Person Workshop - January 27, 2017
On- Line Workshop - Opens January 30, 2017  

Leadership Workshops
In Person Workshop - January 9, 2017
In Person Workshop - January 10, 2017
Registration Information Coming in January
MESPA Spring Conference 
New Time of Year: March 22-24
New Location: Devens Common Center

Call For Presentations
We invite school leaders and teams to present during the concurrent  break-out sessions at our Spring Conference. Share your craft knowledge and best practice with colleagues.
To submit a proposal, go to: Spring Call for Proposals  

Keynote Speakers:
Todd Nesloney,
Co-Author and Co-Founder of
This year’s Spring Conference will include two different perspectives on leading innovation and change.  Todd Nesloney will offer a an innovative look at change from a current principal and Rob Evans will offer the wisdom of experience of a longtime observer of schools and principals.