Hand-in-glove with our faith in democracy, Americans have long believed that in order to fully participate in their government, citizens need to be educated. Our nation’s unflagging commitment to public education has transformed a nation of (mostly) poor immigrants into the world’s largest economy and greatest superpower.The continuing efforts of today’s educators will ensure that Americans continue to prosper for many years to come. - See more at: http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/american-public-education-an-origin-story/#sthash.11j41lrf.dpuf
Much is written about public schools, private schools, charter schools, accountability, rankings, ratings, etc. Much is written about the huge success of American education as well as the huge needs of American education. To say we are at a crossroads today is an understatement.Now we face the transformational society expectations, economic shifts, geopolitical confusion, and economic realities that cause us to rethink and reimagine schooling. The reformers of new and the reformers of old share common traits - they want to re-form, or re-shape that which they know into something that looks new but really is the same in a new form.
Like many leaders today, I stand for school transformation - reimagine education - re think education - make it somethingUNLIKEthat which I experienced because my past is not going to become our student's future!Transforming how students receive learning facilitation - digital transformation - instructional transformation - assessment transformation - complete focus on excellence is what I stand for! I follow educational heroes like John Hattie and Sir Ken Robinson, and of course Horace Mann and John Dewey.
In our district we are undergoing profound changes at a rapid pace. We are engaging the community, we aremoving mountainsso to speak - we are heralding changes in science, technology, reading, writing, math, world languages, kindergarten, technology - pretty much every area, grade level, subject, topic, facility - pretty much everything - is under review. Over the past two years we have re-imagined science lab spaces through a creative, engaged community process, learning focus, fanatical focus/timeline and with an eye on what students need for future success and what teachers need in terms of learning and teaching support.
At times we face resistance, normal "change management" resistance as well as fundamental design resistance. It's tough in education to be the expert in re-framing education since pretty mucheveryone went to school and knows what worked for them. In our community we are fortunate to have a well educated and invested populace. What's interesting is that many transformations and many innovations are confusing to members of our public because it is education in a new form and it is not part of their worldview, or paradigm, of what schooling is.
In our community we have recently engaged the public in many ways - including but not limited to: Middle School changes (facilities, exploratory courses, social/emotional programming) Full Day Kindergarten (format, structure, financing, location) Progress Reporting (standards based grades, standards based learning) 1:1 Digital Instructional - Transformational Learning Environments (how, why, what, change) Gifted Programming (philosophy, structure, courses, concepts, future impacts) Facility Improvements (air quality/conditioning, life safety, science labs, libraries)
While our public does not always agree 100% with all that we do, our open ears and our open hearts and our open minds allow for and support respectful and responsible dialogue and discourse. Leadership is of course doing what is right and not always what is popular - not easy but necessary.
In closing, one new potential transformation in our community that would impact our schools is a proposed residential neighborhood that would increase student enrollment on one side of town. Of course there are many points of view, many questions and concerns, and in 2015 there are many Facebook pages and forums online.
As the superintendent of schools it is my firm, clear and direct message that in our public school system - ALL CHILDREN are welcome! If we have increases in enrollment we will plan - do - study - and act accordingly. Our standards of excellence only grow stronger and our Engage, Inspire, Empower messaging carries forth with current and future students.
Originally Published http://www.dps109supt.edublogs.org