VOICE Staff Culture
In order to instill a lifelong love of learning in our students, we seek employees who embody and model the same attitudes-- who joyfully and creatively approach daily challenges; who thrive in an environment where they are supported and pushed to do their best; and who can collaborate with a diverse team united by shared values. Like a choir, every distinct individual voice matters-- but the sum is so much richer than its parts.
One thing is true about all of the adults in our community: our priority is in ensuring students’ safety, happiness, and success. Though we each have different ways of doing things (which is good!), we are always on the same page when it comes to our core values. So from the classroom to office work to operations to recess, staff are always able to draw on one another’s strengths to benefit students.
From the day VOICE opened in September 2008, we have used the metaphor of “getting the right people on the bus, then figuring out who sits in which seat.” To this day, our hiring process focuses on finding people with the right mindsets and the right fit. We’ve found our process to be very successful in building a school culture where staff are positive, take risks, and are focused on improving yet also open about problems and lagging skills.
From the outset VOICE has embodied the Professional Learning Communities model in optimizing conditions for staff-- providing training, time, space, professional support, resources and open channels of communication to continuously advance staff skills and ensure their well-being. These supports-- both material and intangible-- set us apart; we believe they contribute to our extremely high staff retention rate compared to other charter schools. We also give staff myriad opportunities to assume leadership and move upward in our organization: faculty and staff lead their grade and department teams and coordinate special events and committees; in numerous cases, assistants have become classroom teachers and teachers have assumed leadership roles in coaching and administration.
As we often repeat in Writing Workshop: “Show, don’t tell.” So while these words might give you a taste of what VOICE staff culture is like, we encourage you to visit us, ask around, and observe VOICE culture in action.