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Your secret to awesome teacher recognition

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Inside Alpaca

What we've learned from our customers recently

Karen Borchert
November 15, 2023

We traveled over 17,000 miles in October to learn from hundreds of school leaders about teacher recognition. Here's what we found out!

Want to prioritize this week’s to-do list? Go meet one of your current (or future!) customers. 

Last month, Alpaca spent a little time on the road. And by a little, I mean that we traveled a total of 17,808 miles back and forth between conferences. That’s like going to the South Pole – and back! 

But with our backpacks unpacked, we know it was worth it -  we learned SO MUCH from five conferences: AASPA, Iowa Best, Minneapolis Superintendents Association, Illinois Principals Association, and the Nebraska Educator Shortage Summit. 

Earlier this fall when we tried our first event, our head of marketing declared, “I’m not packing chairs, because we won’t be sitting down.” She wasn’t wrong!

We spent every conference day with a packed booth, hearing from extraordinary school leaders about teacher recognition and celebration. Over and over we heard and learned three key things: 

  1. Teacher recognition programs should be consistent and easy, because there are SO many things on administrators’ to-do lists. 
  2. Teacher support starts with empowering school leaders with more tools – stay interviews, pulse surveys, and 1:1 meetings that build positive school culture.
  3. Teacher celebration means the most when it includes genuine, thoughtful appreciation from parents, community members, and businesses. When teachers see support from all around them, they know their community has their back. 

Nothing was more useful than having our customers prioritize our work with these 3 key things. At our team retreat, we talked about who we met, what we learned, and how we might shape our future to support the needs we heard from our customers, and the things we’ve seen working outside of the education sector that we believe could be powerful for principals and teachers.

What we learned this month by traveling to conferences and meeting so many potential customers has been transformational. Our product and offering will change because of those conversations. And it’s so fantastic to have the knowledge that those decisions for our company will be educator-driven. 

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