In 2016 Claire Rafferty attended a two-day work shop on holistic decision making led by Dan Palmer and hosted by Good Life Permaculture in Hobart, Tasmania. In Claire’s words:

I did the holistic decision making course in 2016 and immediately knew that this would help me in the work I am doing.  At the time I was working with a leadership that was supporting new members and we were working on our protocols and how we presented ourselves to the school community.

During the weekend course with Dan I developed my own version of what I thought a flow chart might look like for our school. When I returned I presented this as an example to my team and talked about my workshop experience.  I think they all saw the excitement in me and were happy to give it a go.

Our school mission statement was in the centre, and as this had just been revisited and tweaked- the timing was perfect.

We spent about half an hour at a time working on our ‘decision making map’ as we have come to call it.  Over about 6 months we came out with a version that we were happy to share with staff.

I share parts of the map when it’s relevant.  An example of sharing it with staff was on our first day of this year. I was talking about how we arrived at some decisions that were made last  year.  I always refer to our School Strategic Plan when talking about the direction we are taking but using the decision making map brings everyone’s attention to the fact that there is a process for deciding one way or another, and that students are always at the centre of any decision.

I have found this to be a really useful tool and I think that is gives more shape to the work we are doing, and gives leaders the words and confidence to explain why certain things happen rather than other things – if that makes sense.

That’s it in a nut shell. I hope this is useful!

Claire Rafferty
Vermont South Special School