“When fear knocks, let passion, faith, responsibility, or courage answer the door.”
On September 12, 2018, the Superintendent’s Long-Range Planning Committee (LRPC) held its second meeting. At this meeting my team and I brought our focus back to the “WHY” the long-range planning process is needed and the “HOW” we can move forward on our journey. Please take some time and review the presentation document as well as the video (both are embedded in this blog post).
The information gives an update as to where the LRPC committee is at in its process; and it lends clarity and background to the latest proposal. Remember that the LRPC advises the superintendent and then the superintendent/administration makes a recommendation to the Board of Education.
The next meetings related to the Long Range Plan for North Shore School District 112 are as follows:
Sept. 24 – LRPC (to be streamed live 5:30-7:30)
Oct. 2 – Board of Education Finance Meeting
Oct. 4 – LRPC (to be steamed live 5:30-7:30)
Oct. 9 – Board of Education Facilities Meeting
Oct. 23 – Formal Presentation to the Board – “the Long Range Plan”
Nov. 27 – Board action on the Long Range Plan
For the past 7+ years our school district community has been through a great deal — we are turning a corner and we are on the cusp of greatness once again. Hang in there – stay focused, let’s work together and let’s restore our historic district to prominence and excellence.
Educational Focus – As a public school district, our number one priority is to ensure that students achieve academically, socially, and emotionally. To achieve this goal, we have been focusing on our motto: Inspire…Innovate…Engage. All NSSD 112 initiatives focus on our motto in order to ensure excellence. This year’s intense focus on providing a guaranteed & viable curriculum for all students in all schools every day is the result of the district losing its way and steering into non-educational focus areas over the past 7+ years. We’re correcting our course and we’re supporting our excellent teachers and support staff as we operate as a school system as opposed to a system of schools.
Financial Planning and Stewardship – As a public school district, we are mindful that strong schools build strong communities, and that our source of revenue comes from our stakeholders (parents and community). We are committed to building a strong school district while being fiscally responsible. In the slide deck embedded below, and in the video (also embedded below the slide deck) we are sharing clear actionable financial planning in support of the Long Range Plan. Our plan involves spending 75% of current fund balances (savings account/”rainy day funds”) as well as issuing NON-REFERENDUM bonds called Alternative Revenue Bonds (guaranteeing the payment over 20 years from operations), closing two additional schools and enhancing educational and operational efficiencies to sustain our future.
Facility Planning and Execution – In order to achieve fiscal responsibility and educational excellence, we must have a strong and responsible long range facility plan that is flexible and yet fiscally responsible. Members of the Superintendent’s Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) have reviewed the work of previous groups and input from many — past and present — show as our current realities in the current recommendations. The point of the facility plan is improvement of education. Our “WHY” is equitable educational opportunities and access for all students in all schools — every day! The eyes on the prize call for us to remember the prize is student success and educational excellence. The point of the facility upgrades is to improve educational input and output and working and learning conditions for our employees and students.
Our aim is equitable educational opportunities for every child — equitable, not necessarily equal — as shown in the image, equity is fair, equality is same. Sometimes … all the time … individuals need what is best for them. My dream is personalized learning opportunities for all children; it’s a lofty dream yet systematically and with fidelity to guaranteed & viable curriculum opportunities and expectations, with improvement, gains, and growth, it is possible.
An analogy I use from time to time about personalized learning experiences is related to shopping. In the example I ask the audience to consider the shopping experience for deodorant (personal hygiene). In the men’s deodorant aisle at the local grocery store, for example, there are multiple brands, various scents, time delayed action, shapes, sizes, etc. The objective is for personal hygiene in this example, basically use deodorant as part of our cultural norm to present a pleasant aroma. The objective is for the grocery store to meet the various, individualized, personalized and differentiated deodorant tastes and preferences and interests and uses for the individual shopper. So if a man (in this example) wants to present the aroma of sandlewood ice or fresh sport lime, he has the ability to meet the objective of presenting a pleasant aroma, and he gets to use his unique interests, skills, abilities, etc. An equal deodorant shopping experience would have one brand with one size and one aroma — yes, everyone meets the objective of presenting with a pleasant aroma — but an equitable deodorant shopping experience is tailored to the individual’s interests, desires, preferences, background, etc. In order for us to provide educational opportunities that celebrate and enhance the unique and valuable differences our students bring forth every day we need to make multiple changes and significant improvements all across the district. I have faith in our teachers, staff, administrators, board, parents and community.
Our journey continues and I am convinced that our complex work will lead to positive powerful results for our students, staff, and community!
Slide Deck Presentation Shared at the September 12, 2018, Long-Range Planning Committee Meeting
Video of 2nd Long Range Planning Committee Meeting