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Teamwork Makes Our School Work

Teamwork is a major ingredient in the recipe to success of our school. At River Oak Academy we utilize the Acton program to help students not only work independently, but also learn the benefits of working together. This week we launched about the importance of teamwork, having powerful discussions.

An update from our Head of School

Monday: We observed how important it was last Friday and how a breakdown of trust in your teammate could demoralize your entire team and cost you the game. We had discussed that winning isn’t everything at closing last Friday but as one learner had mentioned, “There nothing wrong with winning or wanting to win”.

We watched a clip of a highly efficient Formula One pit crew during the race as the epitome of teamwork and a highly coordinated team effort not for the glory of one’s self but to take the least amount of time for a tire change to give the race car driver a better chance at winning.

If you look at how a pit crew operates, they have a very tight timescale ( 2 seconds at most) and a very clear shared goal, coordinating efforts of each individual.

A team is where individuals with different complimentary skills come together and work intensively together to create a collaborative outcome.

Tuesday: We played a video of geese flying in a V formation as a great example for teamwork as well as leadership:

They show Unity. A flock of great northern geese will fly thousands of miles in a perfect V formation. As each bird moves its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird behind it. It’s estimated that their formation flying is 70 % more efficient than flying alone.

We prosper when we share a common direction and sense of community. We can get where we are going faster and better when we are traveling together and trusting each other forward than when we are traveling alone. We talked about being a unified tribe and how we share a common value and culture.

Interdependence. At a distance the flock appears to be guided by a single leader. But the lead bird does not take sole leadership of the formation. When the lead bird tires, it rotates back in the formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds in front.

Leadership is best shared. We can excel if we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go, accepting their help and giving ours. True leadership means interdependence.

Bringing to mind that we surround ourselves with people with the same goals and values. Loyalty. When a member of the flock becomes sick or wounded, two geese drop out of the formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again or pass away-then they soar off together to catch up with the flock.

We can find strength in standing by each other, in strength and in difficulty. Being a good friend to one another. We played a second video of a group of birds that excluded a bird simply because it was new or looked different. Almost every learner had some first hand experience on exclusion. Vincent shared his story from when he joined a new school when he was 7 years old and how much it hurt to be seen as someone who didn’t belong to the group or purposefully excluded and made fun of constantly. The school culture is so important and that developing a culture of expulsion and acceptance takes time but must be prioritized and role modeled daily.

At closing, Vincent gave recognition to Conrad and Maya for sitting beside Nicholas.

He noticed them having lunch together. Conrad had mentioned seeing Nicholas eating by himself each day and thought that it would be nice to join him and invited Maya to join him. Seeing examples like this makes all of the launches worthwhile and valuable. These acts may seem small to them but being kind is not something that benefits only the recipient but the giver. I’d say they all gained something positive from this.

"Teamwork makes their dream work." Mary

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