Campaign Description

Here's what this campaign is about:

Ensuring equal opportunities in curriculum and programming for all students

Providing our students and faculty with safe, healthy, technology-driven learning environments

Committing to our neighborhood schools

Guaranteeing responsible stewardship of public funds

Celebrating the diversity within our district

Engaging parents to become active participants in the schools

Making data-driven decisions with measurable results

Email us at or call 331-6746

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

E Pluribus Unum...

I'm sitting up here in the north woods of Minnesota with my family taking a brief vacation before heading home for the last month leading up to the September 10th election for School Board. I went out fishing this morning with my son, Cooper, and after we caught a few decent-sized bass (and released them, thank you) we headed home.  I hate to admit, but much of the time I was chewing on the big issue of how to really move ahead in our school district.  We have a LOT to cover in a little time and the facilities master plan was only the first step.

You see, the type of changes we have to make are going to take optimism and enthusiasm.  It's also going to take public confidence.  This can only be gained by involving the public voice from the very beginning.

Anyhow, as we were returning to the cabin from our morning fishing expedition, it dawned on me that right there on our U.S.currency is the answer to my dilemma.  E Pluribus Unum.  Out of many, one.  You see we've been going about this all wrong.

For example, the ONE District facilities master planning process was long and drawn out. It involved a planning committee made up of individuals from across the community who put in many, many hours over many months of time to work with BLDD to design multiple scenarios for our district.  The scenarios were then presented to the public multiple times for their input. A district-wide phone survey was done to gather even more public input.  The scenarios shifted and re-shifted, then a final presentation was made to the Board for their consideration.  Information Gathering, Recommendation to the Board, Decision. And yet....many still feel that their voices were not heard.

I think that going forward to the next big decisions with regard to the Diversity Policy and a broader redistricting effort, we must take the process we used for the facilities planning and strive to make it better still.  There has been MUCH improved transparency as of late and the effort to include the public was significantly better than previous attempts in past years, however, there is always room for improvement.

I think that perhaps what we need to do going forward is:

  • START with gathering community and teacher input through district-wide surveys by phone, focus groups, social media, email and snail mail.  We need to analyze and utilize that data to spend time focusing on what the public wants, not what their assumed wants are. 
  • Next, we need to go out and gather a committee of diverse community members who can act as not only representatives, but also liaisons to their neighborhoods, organizations, PTOs, etc. In this way, we can involve community members in a cohesive effort in which their voices are heard in a transparent fashion BEFORE any recommendations or decisions are made.  These meetings must be held in the open and recorded to serve as public record every step of the way. The information must flow both ways.
  • The committee must be given a clear directive from the community and not put into a position where they are trying to determine what the community wants. They can then focus on achieving their goal, not trying to reach a shifting goal line. 
  • Finally, a recommendation can be made to the Board for their consideration.  To go out of order may give the perception and feel that the public isn't being heard or worse, ignored. 
These next decisions and processes must start with a massive public relations campaign from day one. These are groundbreaking changes we are trying to make and it will take a true campaign on the part of the Administration in order to get it done.  The campaign must be aimed at ground-up ideas and implementation, NOT top-down. The most powerful changes in history started with the voices of many.   Out of many, one....One district with one unified direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment