Sorry I’ve been not posting lately, but I’ve actually been doing a lot for me new position as President of the Delaware School Boards Association. What I thought I’d do was post some of my writing for that group on my page, and therefore, share them with other educators who may not read our monthly newsletter. My focus over the next several months will be reminding board members of the Standards we all must follow and operate by as we perform our elected duties. Here is my first review:
Standard 1: Vision
Through strategic planning, a school board envisions the community’s education future and then formulates the goals, defines the outcomes and sets the course for its public schools with recognition of democratic freedoms, racial, ethnic, and religious diversity and its commitment to educational excellence for all of its students.
Webster’s definition of vision is “something seen otherwise than by ordinary sight or unusual wisdom in foreseeing what is to happen.” So in non-technical language having the ability to see more then what is right in front of you, or on the immediate horizon. As school board members, we need to have vision to see the needs of the children we will educate in the ways of the 21st century. In order to have this vision all of us must see that a free, public education is a key part of the democracy that has made this nation strong!
The first key vision idea that all Delaware board members need to focus on as they work with stakeholders is shared vision, and regularly looking for the input from the community. Through this sharing of vision, the education stakeholders can develop a strong strategic plan that will be a guide for the future. The consensus building used to put together the plans mean that as we each go forward with decisions the rationale will be better understood by the community. Boards may also want to reinforce this shared vision at public meetings so that staff, groups, and others will know that the vision guides the board’s decisions. In the end, all board members need to ask themselves a single question as they make their decisions, “Does it follow the vision we set, and is it the best thing for the Kids?”
At the last DSBA Board of Directors meeting, the Executive handed out copies of a report put together by the State Treasurer, Jack Markell. Delaware Facing Forward, A Look at Delaware’s Demographic Future is quite an interesting read that all board members might want to pick up and read. The forward-looking vision of this publication shows how our state will be changing in so many ways in the next thirty years or so. As the report relates to education, it talks about shifts in populations of school age children southward, and the states school becoming more racially diverse. The report also discusses the decreasing number of citizens actually paying into the states coffers while more are taking out due to needs. Therefore, what this means to strategic plans for districts is that their vision must be towards better handling language barriers, and providing the infrastructure for more students with less money! While our state continues to grow and age, and schools boards use their vision to guide them to meet these changes the Executive reminds me that we need to continue planning to educate children for jobs that have not been created yet.