Transparency = Trust

11041784_450654938416102_8946766637045027180_nAlthough the District 113 School Board has certainly made progress over the past two years, changing the culture of any organization takes sustained effort and committed leadership.  There is still substantial work to be done to make sure the Board becomes more engaged, communicative, collaborative and transparent.  Improved transparency at the District level is absolutely critical for regaining the trust of our teachers and community so that we can begin working together to make our schools the best that they can be.   Let’s get to work!  #SpathisForD113

Improved Board Governance on Display

gavelIn case you missed it, at its February 13th meeting, the Board began consideration of a plan that would move first semester final exams from mid January to before winter break. Last fall, our Superintendent convened a Calendar Committee to examine an array of options for moving finals to December.  HPHS Principal, Tom Koulentes, chaired the committee and was on hand, together with DHS Department Head, Rich Grady, to present the committee’s findings.

District parents were also present, and during the comment section shared their feelings about the possible calendar reconfiguration–mostly speaking out against any change to the status quo.  To be sure there were great arguments expressed both in favor of and against a change.  The Board will vote at its next Action meeting in early March on whether or not to reconfigure the calendar.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the Board and Committee deserve praise for the their evaluation and decision making process.  The Committee conducted multiple comprehensive surveys of thousands of stakeholders–parents, faculty and students–and shared summaries all of the statistics that it had gathered.  Moreover, the Committee’s presentation was unbiased, going out of its way to acknowledge and validate many of the the same concerns that parents who were present had also expressed.  And the Board asked many questions, digging well beneath the surface of the data that was presented.

Invariably, regardless of the outcome, there will be some that will not be pleased or satisfied with the Board’s decision.  But we can all take solace that the decision making process was thorough, transparent, considerate and objective.

To learn more about the Calendar issue, check out the links below or the minutes of the Board’s February 13, 2017 meeting.

“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.” ― Joseph Joubert

10712687_464800110334918_3004277402205593519_o-1Our District’s recent history has made one thing abundantly clear–we simply cannot afford to have a Board of Education that remains insulated from its constituents, that is resistant to new ideas, and that refuses to question our Superintendent for fear of being “disrespectful” or labeled “micro-managers.” I am committed to promoting dialogue and debate of the major issues facing our District.

I believe that our Board must re-engage with all of its constituents—students, parents, faculty, administration, and the community at large. This is your District and your voices deserve to be heard. I am committed to a leadership philosophy of inclusion, and pledge to be accessible and available to you and to promote a governance model that is accountable to you.

I also believe that effective leadership starts with a decision-making process that is built on best practices in governance. The Board cannot simply rubber-stamp its way to excellence, but rather, the path to excellence begins with leadership that values and promotes dialogue, discussion and debate.

We may not always agree on the answers or the approach, but I am committed to encouraging and listening to bold new ideas and rigorous debate of the issues.