Teamwork is our fourth core value here at Schoolrunner, and it’s really the one that brings all other values together. Whether we’re looking for a passionate new team member, designing a new method for client communication, or responding to an urgent support need, none of it’s possible without our team. A strong team, aligned to the same shared goal (school happiness), makes it possible to achieve the tough task of improving how schools use their data.
Our team works together on a daily basis to ensure that schools are happy. This work is all a part of our Happiness Model, where each school we work with has a dedicated School Happiness Coordinator that understands how that school uses data and builds relationships with the team at the school. When you have a model where a dedicated person is always up to speed on specific schools, you run a risk of that information becoming compartmentalized – relegated to the mind of only that coordinator. We combat this with regular Happiness updates across all our teams, retrospectives at the end of each sprint to talk about what went well and what could have gone better, and a letter grade system – which is Schoolrunner’s own internal report card for how we’re doing – Are our schools happy?
The moment that really drove home the importance of teamwork for me was when we were able to make an all-team trip to New Orleans at the beginning of 2015. The home of many of our schools today, New Orleans is also where Schoolrunner began. Watching developers talk with teachers and administrators and get so jazzed on how they could help solve their problems made me so proud to be a part of the team. We were all able to have great discussions with educators, where we approached them as valued partners and not distant end-users, all working together to further student growth and student achievement.
We were also lucky enough to see the cultures of our schools in action in everyday moments, from greeting students as they arrived at school, to joining all-staff meetings, to watching third-graders practice their spelling words, to hearing seniors in high school discuss Huckleberry Finn at a level that any college professor would appreciate. This was a pivotal time for our team. I know that not every team of developers would be interested in engaging so closely with users. I’m proud to say that I would be happy to have any member of our team communicate directly with our schools.
When we treat our schools as partners in all that we do, and recognize that their work is impactful and carries with it real stakes, the need for teamwork is clear. How we meet those needs is up to us, and we see it as an opportunity to elevate the way that schools interact with technologies and use those technologies to inform the craft of teaching. We know that data can give powerful insights into academic performance and culture, and teachers and teaching teams know how to make those insights relevant to their students. We hold tight to the idea that our core values will help us find the right path forward for ourselves and our clients.
Because when they’re happy, we’re happy.
If you enjoyed Part 4 of our Happiness Model (which we call PACT – an acronym describing the core values that define us as a team here at Schoolrunner), you can head on back and read more about Why We Think Happiness Starts With A ‘P’ (Part 1), as well as Core Value #2: Accountability, and Why It’s Vital in EdTech (Part 2), and Why Communication is Our Core Value #3 (Part 3)!