Mike Hooker

Michael BrighamMDI Champions

 

Mike Hooker

School District 19
Revelstoke, BC


I’ve had the good fortune to have spent the past 20 years in Revelstoke, serving as an Elementary and Secondary Principal, and now as Superintendent. Our ongoing goal –Improve the Overall Health and Well-Being of students In Revelstoke – has been enhanced by our use of the MDI since 2011. This work, and visits by the HELP team to Revelstoke over the years, have served to reaffirm our commitment to listening to our children’s voices.

Their voices have an audience: we are using the MDI data in our District Plan for Success, in each of our school plans, and, most importantly, to facilitate discussion with our students, as they unpack the rich information in the MDI reports to reflect, respond, and plan for their future.

 
 

Champions supporting other Champions

What do you keep in mind when sharing your MDI data?
We have taken careful steps to ensure that the data are considered starting points for further conversation. We have resisted the temptation to use results to define success, or to identify weakness. This is critical to creating a safe environment to discuss challenges and identify areas that we want address. Recently a grade seven student asked if the results change from year to year or group to group. The answer is yes. However, a better response is, “If it did, or it didn’t, what might that tell us about how we could be working together to help your peers coming into grade 7 next year?”
In your role, what opportunities do you have to create change?
Being superintendent of a small school district allows for “hands-on” experiences, and lets me fully engage in all aspects of student learning. Frequent and consistent connections with students, staff and the community are at the heart of the role. In education, we are in a constant state of implementing, revising, developing and responding. One of the most important elements of leadership is to deal with those competing demands while modelling our focus on what is important – the well-being of our youth. In Revelstoke, we agree that the overall health and well-being of our students is our most important priority. This focus helps us cut through the static that could occupy our attention, and ground decisions and set priorities in a thoughtful way that puts our students at the centre.
What advice can you share about connecting and engaging with others around MDI data?
Student voice is critical. During a recent student focus group a student commented: “It’s nice to know that all these surveys we do mean something…actually, it’s nice to know that someone cares about what we say.” Our success focusing on student well-being has been positively impacted by sharing results widely, starting in the classroom. When students have voice, they are empowered to work toward common goals. By sharing their voice more widely in the community, through presentations to Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures, etc, the community connects with our collective focus on Health and Well-Being, and feels invited into the work.
What's next?
Currently we are working with elementary students as they respond to the MDI data visualizations, seeking to connect the 5 dimensions explicitly to activities and “moving to action” items. From there, elementary students will share and present to high school students. In the past, we have had high school student lead the discussions; this year, the elementary students will take the lead. Short videos and slides will allow us to share the process with others in our school community.