So How’s It Goin’ Out There? Supporting & Supervising Staff at a Distance

So How’s It Goin’ Out There? Supporting & Supervising Staff at a Distance

“A wild ride.”


“A whole new set of rules.”

“A test in flexibility.”

What question were these webinar participants asked? You guessed it!

How has supervising staff during the pandemic been?!

Administrator webinar series

On October 11, ATLAS kicked off our Administrator webinar series with the incredibly relevant topic of remote supervision: So How’s It Goin’ Out There? Supporting & Supervising Staff at a Distance.

The purpose of this webinar was to give space to administrators to share challenges related to remotely supervising staff, to share examples of ways to continue to connect with staff members remotely, and to network with fellow ABE administrators.

A huge thanks to Kirsten Fuglseth from Northwest Service Cooperative and Ann Trochlil from Glacial Lakes Consortium for joining us as panelists! Due to the sheer geographic size of each of their consortiums, both Kirsten and Ann entered the world of remote supervision long before the pandemic even began. As such, they were able to share a wealth of information with us on this topic!

Remote supervision strategies

While I strongly recommend checking out the slides and/or watching (or re-watching!) the recording to hear all of the concrete examples and tips both Kirsten and Ann shared, here are a few highlights from this first administrator webinar:

  • Streamline and centralize communication. Whether through setting up a web page or utilizing Google Drive to house all forms, policies, and important documents; emailing program updates at the same time each week; or creating a monthly newsletter, having an established norm for when and where important information can be accessed is essential.
  • Set clear expectations and boundaries. Monitoring job performance when you are not physically present on a regular basis can be tricky. However, there are things you can do to create an environment of trust and integrity. For example, establish the norms of always assuming positive intent and giving negative feedback exclusively in a one-to-one setting, or commit to following up on issues or concerns immediately when brought to your attention. Both of these examples provide opportunities for authentic feedback in a trusting environment.
  • Honor your staff’s expertise and contributions. Provide opportunities for staff to take on leadership roles within your consortium, give them decision-making power in their local areas (they are the experts of those specific regions after all!) and ask for their input on all consortium level plans.
  • Value the person behind the position. It’s essential to build relationships with staff and foster a culture where staff are building relationships with their peers. Build time into online meetings for staff to connect and visit like they might have in the hallways. Provide professional development opportunities which balance program needs and individual teacher interests/strengths. Share birthdays on a monthly calendar so that staff can send birthday wishes to each other even though miles apart, or set up a social media group that is only open to staff members in order to create a space for staff to share resources and ideas, and to connect more regularly. Have an overnight work retreat, and intentionally schedule optional social activities in the evening.

Additional ideas shared in the breakout rooms included sending out frequent “pulse” surveys to touch base with staff, getting staff input on meeting agendas, and having smaller groups of teachers who have similar interests or who teach the same levels meet virtually or in-person on a regular basis.

Again, for more ideas, check out these presentation slides or view this webinar recording.

Additional administrator PD and supports

While supervising and supporting staff remotely can be quite challenging, it is not impossible! And that is only one of many challenges that administrators face on a daily basis. Be sure to join us as we continue our administrator webinar series this year. Next up:

  • Building the Ship While Sailing It! Learning Models: How to Make Decisions and Shift as a System
    November 9, 2021, 3:00-4:00pm CST

Save the dates!

  • February 23, 2022, 1:00-2:00pm CST – Topic TBD
  • April 20, 2022, 1:00-2:00pm CDT – Topic TBD

Also, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to join our Administrator group on Mighty Networks! It is a great place to ask questions of and share resources between fellow administrators. Learn more about how to join Mighty Networks here:

Lindsey Pust, Numeracy & Special Projects Coordinator ATLAS