Continuing with my series of articles on leading my daughter’s school toward greater success…
Now that the parents have the attention of the school board, there is a renewed sense of communication and cooperation between the administrators, faculty, and parents. We’ve met and strategized about areas of focus that all parties feel are important in our school district. With the brainstorming session complete, our duty now is to coalesce the group mind into a narrower focus.
Our group’s facilitator recently brought together the core committee to develop a mission statement and belief statements. The administrators took the lead at this meeting, but I didn’t mind because they had let parents go a little crazy with unwieldy mission statements in previous years. Here is our current mission statement:
“We will provide an excellent education in a safe and caring environment.”
Here are our six belief statements:
- Children learn best in a positive, caring environment where they feel safe, respected, and valued.
- Every child can learn and deserves an excellent education.
- Instruction will challenge students to express creativity, think critically, and develop problem solving skills.
- Children learn in different ways and have different interests, styles, and paces.
- Partnerships among the parents, the community, and the school are essential to student achievement and personal growth.
- Self discipline, intrinsic motivation, and personal accountability are essential for a student’s future success.
As a skeptic, I’m glad to see that “think critically” was added to the belief statements, but I’m happy with each of the points. Moving forward, I want the steering committee to make evidence-based decisions for the progress of the school, and I plan on voicing my opinion if they ever stray from proven tactics. The problem is that I’m essentially starting from scratch when it comes to being a reliable expert on evidence-based education, which is why I will be searching for resources that will help in that mission.
One problem that my school district faces is the same problem that it’s closest urban neighbor faces, and that is the challenge of childhood poverty. The Cincinnati area has the third highest rate of children in poverty (behind Detroit and Cleveland), and more than 2/3 of student population are living below the poverty line.
Market Place aired a story on Cincinnati’s poverty problem yesterday, focusing on the attention that the city has been giving to early childhood education and development. They mentioned two organizations: Success by Six and Every Child Succeeds. My goal is to introduce these organizations to my community (assuming they are not involved already), and to raise awareness about their services.
I’m still looking for ideas for evidence-based education reform! Any help is much appreciated!