Transcript: Committing to Fostering Transformative Relationships
On behalf of the California Center for School Climate (CCSC), I would like to welcome you to our session on Committing to Fostering Transformative Relationships. My name is Carla Guidi, and I serve as a Program Associate at the California Center for School Climate at WestEd, and I will be your moderator for today’s session. I want to start with a brief note about the California Center for School Climate (CCSC). CCSC is the California Department of Education initiative led by WestEd. We provide free support, and trainings on school climate, and data use to local education agencies in California. The CCSC offers several types of supports, including data use, webinar sessions, peer learning exchanges around specific topics, and professional learning supports. We invite you to visit us on our website at ccsc.wested.org to support, to explore supports provided to districts and schools across the state. Our website can be found in the Linktree that is being shared in the chat.
In the keynote this morning, Jaleel Howard noted the importance of meaningful connections between students and adults in schools. He also shared examples of how to develop better relationships with young people in our schools. During this session, we will continue the conversation about the power of relationships, and how we commit to fostering transformative relationships. Our speaker will highlight how we can engage in transformative relationship practice throughout the school year. The chat will remain open for the webinar, and we invite you to interact with other audience members. Slides shared, and resources mentioned are included in the Linktree that’s being shared in the chat right now.
We have a great speaker lined up for you today. I would like to introduce Yasemin Rodriguez Corzo, the Associate Director on the Whole School Whole Child Health National Advisor team at the Alliance for Healthier Generation. Yasemin has 10 plus years in curriculum and content design, educational and workforce programming, implementation, and research. In her current role, she oversees and collaborates with a team of national advisors to create and curate resources, design and deliver high-quality professional learnings, and cultivate and maintain relationships. With that, I will pass it to Yasemin.
Yasemin Rodriguez Corzo:
Hi. Thank you, Carla. Welcome everyone to our session. I am so excited to be sharing the space and time with you, and we are going to be, as Carla mentioned, focusing on transformative relationships, right? What I’m going to ask from you is that baseline commitment to transformation, right? That we are starting from a baseline, that we’re all committing to transformative relationships. I just want to check in and see if the slides are being shared. I apologize. If someone can let you know in the chat that they are. Okay. We cannot share slides right now, but I’m going to keep going anyway.
At the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, we are on a mission to promote healthy environments, so that young people can achieve lifelong good health, right? This is including physical health, social, and emotional health. We know that the health of the adults surrounding these, the youth, is vital. Our work supports healthier teachers, school communities, and also families. Throughout today’s session, we are going to be sharing resources with you, and you’ll find that they’re behind a login, worry not. It takes about 30 seconds to create a login. Once you’re in our access center, you can access the resources we share as well as hundreds of resources and trainings, all at no cost to you.
As we get started, I know we’re all coming from all different contexts. Some of us had lunch, maybe some of you all worked during lunch. I hope you didn’t. If you have not eaten, this is a good time to go get something to eat. I know that you’re juggling so many different things, so I’d love to check in. Let me know in the chatbox, how are you showing up into this space right now? I know, for me, the person who woke up is not necessarily the person who is right now, but let me know in the chatbox, what are you feeling in this moment? How are you showing up into this space? Jumping from task to task? Yeah, I totally feel that, yes. Semi-distracted and working on getting centered. Thank you so much for naming that. A bit scattered, that’s totally okay. Trying to concentrate. As you’re being open right now, and sharing with us, try not to judge how you’re feeling. Just name it, just become aware of it, right? Calm, no issues for me. Fantastic. Focused and ready to learn. Trying to refocus my day. So many things to do. I am 100% with you. I am feeling a little bit anxious right now because our slides aren’t working. But that’s totally okay, because we really are going to be talking about things that we all know, right? Today, we’re going to, as I mentioned, commit to that transformative space together. I’m actually going to give you some time to reflect, right? I think we all feel this notion of we’re jumping. We’re jumping from task to task, doing so many different things that, sometimes, it takes a moment to just slow down, right? I’m actually going to give you that time to slow down to reflect.
This is a great time to pick up a piece of paper, or something to write with. If you are feeling fatigued, this is a great time to just close your eyes and listen. You do not have to do anything, because we’re going to be talking through, and reflecting this whole time together, and we’re going to map out. Fantastic. We are back on the slides, and we’re going to spend some time mapping out transformative relationships. We’re actually going to talk about something that we don’t really talk about a lot, when we’re talking about work or relationships, or students. We’re going to stop, and we’re going to talk about love, right? The love that comes with transformative relationships. And then we’re going to jump into gratitude, because it is a practice that is so important. I just want to name that nothing we talk about today is anything revolutionary. Okay?
You’ve probably heard most of this before, and that’s okay, right? Because a lot of the times, when we are juggling so much, when we’re feeling stressed, when we’re just not knowing where to land, someone… For me, at least, I’m going to be honest with that. My attention to relationships goes out of the window, right? We’re going to come back in, we’re going to come back to the practices, we’re going to come back to the notions that hold us grounded, and center us in why we are educators. Okay? Throughout this time, take what you need, and if something doesn’t serve you, don’t worry about it. You can just leave it right at the door or put it in your back pocket.
All righty. Today, as we’re engaging, you can continue on in the chatbox, or you can actually use the menti, that you’re going to find a way to access the Menti right there. You can scan that QR code, or you can put the code into your desktop, or your phone. This is a really great way to engage because one, it’s visually appealing. I’m a very visual person. Two, it is live. You can see things happening. And then three, which I love, is that it’s anonymous, right? If you want to be vulnerable, open up, you can totally use that. Let’s ground in some definitions. We’re talking about relationships. When we’re defining relationships, so we’re talking about a dynamic space between people, right? It’s never done. A relationship is never finished, and it’s never just one thing, right? Relationship ships ebb, and they flow, and they also grow. We are responsible for the nurturing of that space, through a continuous improvement process of unlearning and learning. I’m going to be real. That unlearning piece can be messy, and it can be uncomfortable.
Sometimes, I just feel like saying, I don’t want to change, I like who I am, right? But that’s not what we’re asking for, right? Jaleel, at the keynote, talked about the fact that we ask from our young folks to have a growth mindset, right? This is what we’re talking about, having that growth mindset, knowing that we can do better, and we can change, and we can evolve. When we’re talking about transformative relationships, we’re thinking about a spectrum of relationships. Those are transactional, and that serves you sometimes. Sometimes, you need a transactional relationship. For example, if you’re at the grocery store, that is pretty much a transactional relationship, unless you are my mother, and increasingly myself, right? Because I am inherently becoming like my mother, and so every interaction at the grocery store becomes far more transformative for me.
But there are definitely those relationships in our lives, and I think all of us can start to think of who can come to mind that we are in transformative relationships with, right? The ones that grow and foster, the ones that have mutual interest, right? They’re not performance-based, they’re based on modeling, and growing together. As you think about transformative relationships, I’d like for you to think of one person, or maybe a couple of people who come to mind that you already can say, ah, yes, I am in a transformative relationship with this person. If you feel comfortable, write that person’s name down on a piece of paper, or keep it in your mind. All right.
Thinking of that relationship, or any transformative relationship, what is one word you would use to describe that relationship? You can let me know in the Mentimeter. Okay, we got one going. Fulfilling. Yeah. Safe, lovely. Introspection. If you’re not able to access the Mentimeter, you can also use the chatbox, because I’m going to be the monitoring the chatbox too. Complex, I love that, but it’s not just like the surface level, right? Freedom. You can see the code at the top of the slide. It’s menti.com, 4901 5708. Loving … that loving is right in the middle, and it’s fabulous. Supportive, safe, time, inspired, it changes you. Absolutely. Guarded, respectful, open, right? It’s so interesting how we can have all different ideas of what transformation looks like, and they’re all true, and they’re all valid. Authentic, yes. Trusting, fun. Fun, yeah. We sometimes get so serious about these topics. Yeah, they got to be fun, right? Thank you so much for sharing.
All these words, these descriptions, that’s the goal, right? When I’m talking about transformative relationships, that’s where we’re trying to get to with our students, with our colleagues, with the folks that we are really spending a lot of our time with. One person who has taught us all about relationships, and all about love, is Fred Rogers, who I came to know much later in life. I did not grow up in the United States, so I was very happy to find him as an adult. I’m going to actually walk you through and read a transcription of one of his speeches from an Emmy Award. There is a video that goes along with this. I am technologically very unbrave, and so I thought that I would read this to you, and also give you an opportunity to just listen. You can close your eyes, or lower your gaze if, that’s safe and accessible to you. I’d just love for you to allow his words to just sink in. Okay? Let’s take a moment and find a moment of stillness.
He starts, “Oh, it’s a beautiful night in this neighborhood. So many people have helped me come to this night. Some of you are here, some are far away, some are even in heaven. All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you take, along with me, 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are, those who have cared about you, and wanted what was best for you in life? 10 seconds of silence. Whomever you’ve been thinking about, how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they’ve made, and that feeling you have right now, those people, those connections.” That is why we’re starting to talk about committing to transformation, right? Because those connections are not only important, they’re at the base of everything we do as educators.
For the next few minutes, I’m going to ask you to start to map out these relationships. Let’s start thinking about them. On a piece of paper, a post-it, you can use your phone if you’d like. Do not look at your text messages or your inbox. I’m going to put a timer, and I’d like for you to write for one minute, without stopping, all of the people who have loved you into being you. I’m going to start that timer right now. All right? If you’re not finished, that’s totally okay. Now, we’re going to move into mapping out, and I’m going to ask you to do the same thing. Write down all the people who come to mind. But now, I’m going to ask you to write down who have you loved into being them, right? We are educators. You love so many people into being them. I’d love for you to take this next minute to write down all the names that come to mind.
Okay. Again, if you’re not finished, that’s totally okay. You can write as I’m talking. Now, I’d love for you to take a moment to think about these relationships and identify … start to think about what is it that you give to your transformative relationships and write them down. Maybe it’s thoughtfulness that you give. Care, time. Time is huge. Empathy, vulnerability. I’m going to give you about 20 more seconds. Just write down the things that are coming to mind. If you’re finishing up, you can also click a reaction of the heart on the Menti to let me know that you’re ready to move on. I appreciate that. It makes me feel like I’m talking to a lot of people, because I can only see myself. All right. Let’s move on now to another list. Right. As we’re thinking about these relationships, what do you receive from your transformative relationships, from those people who have loved you into being you, from the people that you have loved into being them?
I know that I receive accountability. That’s the first word that came to mind for me today. That I receive joy, and comfort, and love, and just knowing that I’m not alone, feeling a sense of belonging. Let’s take about 10 more seconds to write down the things you receive from your transformative relationships. Right. Thank you so much for sharing in the chat. Courage. Yeah. All right. Now, from your list of all the things that you’ve identified of what you give, what you receive, just take a few seconds, and start to circle the things that you need from your relationships, right now, in your school year, in your work year. I know that we’re all working in different parts of the education system, but thinking about the relationships that you’re in right now, given all the things you’re working on, the tasks, everything that you identified, what is it that you need?
Let me know in the chatbox or in the Mentimeter, what are some things that you need from your relationships, right now? I know, for me, I need some patience. I know, I need time. Reassurance, yes. More time to spend. I like quality time, acceptance, grace, encouragement, understanding. Time, that’s a huge … I need all the time, yes. Listening, 100%. Appreciation, acceptance. Again, you can use the chatbox if you’d like, or you can use the menti, some value, openness and affirmation, honesty, truth, validation. Yeah. Time, validation, active listening, appreciation, and value. Support. Gratitude. It’s a good thing we’re going to be talking about gratitude in just a few minutes, because it’s super important to be able to, to be acknowledged for the things that we do, and to acknowledge others. Non-judgemental, yes.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That is exactly what we all need, right? Some openness, some support, appreciation, value. Thank you so much for sharing those. All right. Now that you’ve identified what you need, I’m not going to…, please do not put this into the chatbox, okay? I’m not going to ask you to put into a Mentimeter, but I am going to ask you to either write down for yourself, or think about, who do you need these things from, right? It’s important to get specific, so that you can go and talk to that person about it, because that makes it actionable. We can’t just say a blanket statement, I need respect. I need respect from this person, right? I’m going to ask you to try it out. This is what I’m going to ask you to take away from this session, that you set some time aside this week, and you share that with that person and you say, “Hey, I am in a transformative relationship with you. I don’t know if you know or not?”
Or maybe it’s yourself. Yeah, 100%. Have that conversation, right? It’s really great when you can share your needs with the people that you’re identifying. This is also an opportunity to ask them what they need from you, so that it’s a two-way street. This conversation, everything that we just went through, I promise you, it is not too deep to do it with students. They will surprise you with all of the things that they come up with, and the different discussions, and conversations you can have with them, right? I don’t want you to see this as another, like one more thing to do, rather a way of getting to know each other on a deeper level. Okay?
If you are working in a school, or a district, or even in any place really, we are going to be sharing a resource with you, which is a three-part e-learning series called Forming Meaningful Relationships. Some of the things we’ve talked about are in there. This has a facilitator’s guide attached to it, as well as a curriculum. Again, this is at no cost to you. You can use it in staff meetings, or professional development days. And then you can get a certificate of completion. We just wanted to make sure that you have this available to you, so that you can take this work a little bit further.
Let’s get into gratitude, as we close out this session. This time is going by so fast. As we foster and grow our transformative relationships, there’s going to be hard times, right? I told you, at the top, transformation is messy. There is conflict, there’s just ickiness sometimes, because we’re human. That’s what happens when we’re human. And then there is the reality that humans can be amazing, that the people that we’re in relationships show up for us in ways that we had no idea we needed, right? When that happens, and when people show up for us, and when we show up for them, we have to be able to recognize it, and then also validate it through gratitude. We’re going to be sharing this gratitude toolkit, and you can implement this in any workplace that you are working in. You can work with even your students, with colleagues, you can do it in your house.
I do it with my family all the time. This tool gives you the ability to assess the ways that folks like to engage in gratitude. It gives clear implementation strategies, which we’re going to actually walk through right now. I just want to take a pause for the cause, right? Because we hear about gratitude a lot, I’m sure you’re like, are you kidding me? Are we talking about gratitude again? Yes, we are. Because it is so important, and the research is there that validates this, right? That we know that when folks consistently practice gratitude over a period of time, the research tells us that it can increase our general sense of happiness, and life satisfaction. It helps us build stronger connection with peers, and makes us more helpful, and generous. Gratitude can also decrease feelings of sadness, stress, anxiety, and conflict. That sounds so nice to me, right now.
In the toolkit, you’ll see that there’s four different types of gratitude that we can engage in, or that we like to receive. It’s similar to love languages if any of you know love languages. We have public recognition, we have private, right? We have notes and gifts, and then acts of service. I’d love to know from you, what types of gratitude do you like to receive? Are you more of that public recognition person, or private recognition? Okay. We have notes and gifts, acts of service, so we’re going to mix. All right? Private recognition, and actions of service are tied. We are private. We are a private group in here. Okay? Isn’t that so cool to know that? Because imagine, if we were all working together, and the only way that we showed each other public… If the only way that we showed each other gratitude was through public recognition, then most of us would not be very excited about that, because there’s lots of private folks in here.
There’s notes and gifts, acts of service, and public recognition too. I myself, and I will take any recognition, that works for me. We have private recognition in the chat, and this is such a great way to get to know your colleagues, and also the young people in your lives. I encourage you to do this assessment. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can learn a lot, and have great conversations. I’m just going to go through a few examples of how you can implement these different types of recognition in your workplace. Community kudos. If you have any ideas, you can throw it in the chatbox for us, because we are each other’s best resource, and I love borrowing ideas from you all. Please do start some side conversations. Community kudos. This is designating a section of your all-staff or school community newsletter for staff to give kudos, right?
Staff can submit their entry by a certain deadline to have it included. A tip is also to recognize those who give kudos to say, “Oh my goodness, Catherine, thank you so much for recognizing Francis for what they’ve been doing,” right? All right. Next, let’s move on to private recognition. For most of us in here, we like our private. Pass the gratitude, so this can be a really fun way of doing this with staff. It can also be fun with doing with students, and from classroom to classroom. You take a small object, and you name it. And then one person begins with the object, and they place it on their desk with a little sticky note of gratitude.
I put it on Frank’s desk and I say thank you for something. Then it’s the recipient’s turn to pass along the object to someone else, right? If Frank has a little, I don’t know, a little frog with a thank you note, then they would take it to Aaron, and then Aaron would go to someone else, right? It’s a continuous, it’s going on and on, and on. If you are more into those notes and gifts, you can survey staff, or your students to ask for their favorite type of healthy snack, or a coffee shop. When you want to express gratitude, give them a little note alongside their favorite snack, or a gift card, right? If you are a lover of spreadsheets like I am, I love my spreadsheets, you can actually start a spreadsheet, and keep track of what folks like, and different preferences, right? You can send out a survey, and you can keep this going. And as new folks come on to teams, it’s going to be part of onboarding, asking like, “Hey, how do you like to … what’s your favorite snack? What are the things that you like?” so that you can be then more intentional about recognizing folks.
And then finally, my favorite is duty takeover, right? Acts of service. We all have one or more tasks that we just do not … I do not like admin tasks, I can promise you that. I had to book a flight today, and I just wished someone would’ve done that for me, but I did it. A way that we can show gratitude to a colleague is by offering to take it off their plate, whether it’s making copies, for example, or maybe it’s an email that they have to write to families and they’re like, I really don’t have time for it, and you just take that off their plate. That can be so powerful. In that same spreadsheet where I suggested you take notes on different things people like, you can also keep a spreadsheet of people of what folks really don’t like, of tasks that they would be happy to have someone lean in, and support them with, right? That way, it can really be intentional. Yes, thank you so much for sharing in the chatbox. “I covered recess duty for teachers, they loved it.” Yeah. I can imagine that they did. Hopefully, they said thank you to you, and thank you for also doing that for them.
All right. As we close out, I would love to know what types of gratitude do you give most? What do you find yourself doing more often than not? A gratitude tree in a public place? Yeah. Oh, the notes leaf-shaped paper, and added to the tree, or wall of posts in the staff room, where people can just leave kind notes on the wall of gratitude. I would love to see that. That’s wonderful. All right. We have acts of service, notes and gifts, private recognition, public recognition. Yeah. You vary, and of course, it’s great to vary. Just take note, right? Have I been giving more private recognition lately, and maybe I want to do a little bit more acts of service. This is just about becoming aware, and then also matching it with who you’re giving gratitude, and recognition to, right? I would love to give you another minute, and remember that person, at the beginning of the session, that I asked you to write their name down. When we were talking about transformative relationships, who came to mind? Maybe you have one, or two, or many, many people now. I’m going to give you about 30 seconds, and I’d like for you to write them a note of gratitude. I’m not going to ask you to share it in the chatbox. You do not have to share it in the Menti. Just take a moment and write a note of gratitude. I’m going to start the timer now.
All right. Now that you’ve finished or finishing up, you know what I’m going to ask you to do? I’m going to ask you to share that gratitude note with the person that you wrote it for if you can. If not, share some time with yourself, and reflect on that person, and spend time thinking about your relationship. I just hope that … As we went through our session, I know I asked you to think a lot and reflect a lot. But I hope that you can take these practices into your daily lives without it feeling like it’s just one more thing to do, that you can take charge of things, and start to implement them. I’d love to know, as you’re reflecting, how will you use what you learned in this session in your school community? You can let me know in the chatbox, or in the Menti.
Again, this is an opportunity to take ideas from each other. For myself, I know that I’m going to spend some time today, and write a thank you note to a few folks who came to mind, because I haven’t, I’ve been really busy, and I just haven’t spent the time to actually do it. Using the gratitude exercise with students for self-awareness, practice the gratitude, teach these during my counseling sessions. That’s great. Awesome. Thank you so much. Do more public affirmation for what my staff do for the office and for the students. That’s so powerful, and thank you for naming it. Right. There are all those power dynamics within giving gratitude, and recognition. As we open up space for each other, and as we show each other that gratitude, it goes in so many different directions. I really appreciate you naming that. Model the practices. Yeah. Being intentional and making time to practice gratitude.
Create a gratitude survey to add to our monthly newsletter. Yes. Collect and post the following month. That’s a great idea. Write some thank you notes and give more affirmation. It’s a beautiful thing, you know? Rethink PBIS bucks. Yeah. Transaction for behavior. That’s really good, yes. I think we could spend another two hours talking about how we can change some of our practices into more transformative ones, but I really appreciate that. I think I’ll have to spend time with people, and do more acts of kindness, increase gratitude practices daily. Thank you so, so much for sharing with us, and I am so, so grateful to be sharing space, and time with you. I know that you have lots to do, and it’s not lost on us that you have given us this time. As we close out our session, I encourage you to reach out to us.
This is our contact information. We are a big team of national advisors, and also program managers, who are here to support change in schools, and in districts. We’re here to work with you. If you would like to check out more resources, check out our Thriving Schools Integrated Assessment, and the resources that are available to you. Again, all at no cost. Just thank you so, so much for the space, and time, and the grace that you showed during our time together. We know that you’re carrying so much, and it’s not lost on us that showing up to today’s session being vulnerable was not an easy lift. You matter so much, not because of what you do, but because of who you are.
With that, we’re going to end the session. Again, thank you, Yasemin, for your insightful thoughts on how we make transformative relationships.