Convocation: the Next Generation

Convocation was a long-standing tradition in our district. It was the one opportunity each year to gather our entire team for an inspirational start to the new school year. From the staff choir to the guest speaker to the video, the event was motivational and unifying.

For the past three years, we cancelled convocation because the economic downturn resulted in lost staff workdays. While our superintendent made the rounds of September staff meetings, the moment of district unity was lost.

This year we created a workable compromise: a virtual convocation! With planning and some expert technical help, our team pulled off a live-streaming webcast that we simultaneously broadcasted to more than 30 schools and work sites.

We broadcasted it on our cable access television channel and straight to the computer of any employees who were unable to leave their desks.

What did it take? A massive server. An on-location production company ($1,400). And a test run the night before to troubleshoot issues like radio interference.

Our convocation had a studio audience of 75 employees. It included a “pre-game” slide show of highlights from each school and department. We had brief presentations from the school board chair, association leaders and our new interim superintendent. And of course, the video.

In just one hour, we accomplished what used to take half a day, giving teachers a gift of planning and staff development time.

Was it the same as a packed high school gym? Not quite. But for that moment in time, we were all together, remembering why we work in education. Employees felt moved. Energized. Appreciated. Mission accomplished.

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2 Replies to “Convocation: the Next Generation”

  1. Our district tried this twice; both times, the superintendent reversed courses the following year, because it still didn’t bring the desired “group unity” that a convocation rally tends to elicit (we hold ours at a large arena; individual schools sit together and are encouraged to show “school spirit” with signs and cheers). How did your online convocation, where people are viewing by themselves or in small groups, promote district morale? Thanks!

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