Watch Out for Not-Me Syndrome

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September 7, 2012 At a recent Families That Can meeting, with the new school year beginning, we happened upon the topic of the importance of making families feel welcome at their school. Who is responsible for welcoming families - both new and returning - every day? You can probably guess where the discussion led. "It's the front office staff members' job to make sure people feel welcome." "Students should say hello to people on campus." "The principal should send an all-call welcome on the first day of school."

We were all convinced of two things: It was someone else's job to take care of that (not so) little problem and "Someone Else" wasn't getting the job done!

Soon enough, we all started to realize we had become temporarily infected with Not-Me Syndrome. Not-Me Syndrome is characterized by finger pointing and shirking of responsibilities. Prolonged cases of Not-Me Syndrome keep schools free of parent leadership.

As we talked, we each realized that we could wait around and blame others or we could take ownership of the task of welcoming families to the school. Every day.

Consider This

  • Does your school do something special to make sure parents and the larger community feel welcome? Think about the following:
  • Does your school's physical environment say "Welcome"? How does it accomplish that?
  • Are parents and other visitors treated in special ways?
  • Do you go out of your way to welcome parents and community members who might otherwise feel uncomfortable in your school?
  • Do you have a committee (or an individual) charged with making sure that visitors feel welcome?