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Monday, December 19, 2011

The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts

Last Friday marked a day long workshop of our District Leadership Team (DLT). This shared decision making group represents parents, learners, staff and administration. The members served their constituents by expressing interests and discussing issues that impact the learning community.

It's a reaffirming exercise in that each individual can volunteer opinions and suggest ideas designed to advance the progress of the school district. The integration of multiple perspectives lends credence to our efforts at improving Green Island Union Free School District. Perhaps, most importantly, is the vantage point of the high school learners present at the meeting. It's fairly easy for well intentioned adults to act on what they perceive to be meaningful and relevant within the school environment and otherwise presumptuously overlook what really matters to the learners. Losing sight of the orientation of those we serve is a dangerous prospect. That's why it's vital to extend an opportunity for the learners to voice their views on the issues at hand.

We examined the mission of the district to determine whether that remained an appropriate compass. Then we reviewed data previously collected from a survey administered to staff, learners, and parents a few years ago. That offered a baseline to measure any progress since that point. The decision was made to solicit opinions on the school district once again to maintain an awareness of how people feel toward our performance. In preparation for that, we revised survey questions to elicit specific feedback in the form of values and beliefs regarding areas that now warrant closer attention.

The general discussions were beneficial. The various contributions made for a rich exchange of ideas that helped prevent any blind spots for the group. I appreciated the willingness of parents and learners to present their thoughts. As the superintendent of the school district I welcome the active participation of these stakeholder groups. The staff members were respectfully accommodating and did not discount the opinions of constituent groups that are often marginalized in the school improvement process. Together, we will propel the system toward greater achievements. We will meet again on January 10th as we pursue a path of progress..

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