Stories of Talladega County’s transformation, Part 2

Like many districts across the country, great things are happening for the students and teachers in Talladega County, Alabama. Fortunately, the educators there realize how important it is to share their stories of success.

The educators of Talladega had so any terrific stories of impact that we have a second installment. If you missed the last one, check out the first three stories in this post.

As a reminder, the educators  from Talladega County Schools used CTQ’s storytelling tools and processes to clearly articulate the impact that their efforts have had on students and their schools.

We asked the story creators to respond to these three questions related to their stories:

  • What is the context in which your story was developed? What brought you to the storytelling process?
  • How did the storytelling development and sharing experience impact you, your thinking, and your leadership practice?
  • What do other educators need to know about the power of telling their story?

Here are their stories:

Munford High School: Powerful partnerships

by Rebekah Klinner, rklinner@tcboe.org
Munford’s partnership with the National Forest Service

Munford High is known for our incredible partnerships that help us ensure that our students are college and career ready. I wanted to preserve the rich history of our partnerships that began with the US Forest Service. I want the storytelling process to go beyond just a summary of events surrounding a partnership and dig into how to develop long-lasting partnerships and how it impacts students.

All DLPs attended a two day storytelling workshop led by Jennifer Barnett from CTQ. We were encouraged to find the best medium to tell our school’s story and with her guidance, I felt like podcasting would be the best way to preserve the history of our school’s first partnership with the US Forest Service and the decision to build our current school with environmental themes throughout. Because of the successful partnership established with the Forest Service, other partnerships have developed and have continued to be an important part of our culture at MHS. Because of our strong partnerships, our students are provided opportunities for hands-on learning with real-world connections on a daily basis. At first, I was reluctant to the idea of podcasting to tell our story, but I am thankful that I was surrounded by fellow educators to encourage and offer advice throughout the process. Hearing first-hand accounts of how a partnership developed and how it impacted our students, teachers, and the community is powerful.

Every school is unique and has a story to share. Successful, strong community partnerships is our story. It is the reason that our students continue to gain the skills needed to be successful in whatever they choose to do in the future. I know that by sharing our story, it may encourage other schools to seek out partnerships with local stakeholders, and develop relationships that can impact their students as well.

Childersburg High School transparency 2019

by Paige Brown tpbrown@tcboe.org

After visiting Google Headquarters in California this past summer, we came back with a vision for our school. We wanted to model spaces that Google provides for their employees at CHS for our students. We had a big dream, but limited funds to make it happen. Our principal, Dr. Quentin Lee reached out on social media for the materials needed to fill these spaces. Our community delivered in a huge way and we were able to create several spaces to benefit our students. Everything we do is to meet the needs of our students and we want to be completely transparent to the world in our efforts. We have been able to do this with the help of social media and we have gained so much support and momentum in the process.

The development of our story was difficult in the beginning stages because we had so many broad ideas that we were bouncing around. It was hard to zone in on one concept for our story. However, as soon as we hit on the idea of transparency through social media, the process flowed so smoothly. We involved some of our student leaders in this process and it was very exciting to see how our ideas were so streamlined while we storyboarded our video. It was apparent that we were all bought into this process and everyone was passionate about making sure that we got the message we had envisioned across in our story. This storytelling process really exercised our leadership skills in tackling a task that we knew would have such a tremendous impact on our school.

Every school has a story! Don’t hesitate to share yours. This has been such an eye-opening experience throughout this storytelling process. Choosing your focus for your story really forces you to determine what has had the biggest impact on your students, narrow in your focus on it, and educate people outside of your school walls on how you have made an impact on your students.

Shifting a mindset, transforming a culture

by Ashley Gable, agable@tcboe.org

I loved all the planning maps, scaffolding for the story, and engagement strategies we learned. Specifically, I loved the compass activity and hearing important aspects of storytelling like first message then medium. The face to face meetings were critical as well as the virtual meetings. I have used this in modeling lessons about storytelling for projects with students. It has made me more reflective and to consider what matters to the audience of the story in order to create impact. It also creates a visual of all the hard work that goes into permanent change. I loved telling the story about our leader, Ms. Jena Jones, as her leadership has transformed our school. I loved hearing about it from her perspective as a leader.

Telling a story not only can impact others and produce further change, but it also changes the person telling the story. It promotes reflection of practice, gives deeper insight into the story and message itself, and allows the author a view of multiple perspectives. With this type of support, crafting a great story can be done.

CTQ storytelling

Does your team have powerful educator stories that need to be shared? Are you interested in sharing the great work that is being done in your school or district? Visit this page to learn more the how CTQ can support your team’s efforts to craft and share stories of impact.