Educational institutions have to “move with the times” in order to fully serve those being taught. For example, chalk boards were used 20 and 30 years in the classroom.
Then came dry erase boards, and computer labs. Today’s students are digital natives, that is unlike their instructors who are digital learners these future leaders are used to having instant 24-7 access to information from the Internet and pod casts. In order to effectively teach these students, the education system must to evolve to fit those 21st century needs, C-P Assistant Superintendent Lydia Walden explains.
To make sure that the students and community are properly served, Como-Pickton is joining at least nine other districts who are implementing a planning system like that outlined by Region VIII Education Service Center. They will begin “systemic planning,” which encompasses all levels of individuals involved in district education, for the community as well as students, and equally involves everyone from the top administrative level down to the community and staff in that process.
Como-Pickton school district will be holding a community meeting Thursday, April 23, to explain the system and how important it is for the community to understand and take an active role in the process. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Those attending can enjoy a free pancake supper and kids are welcome.
Walden, Superintendent Sandra Billodeau and athletic director Paul Tullis sat down with the News-Telegram Friday to give a quick overview of the systemic plan and why community involvement is so important.
“It’s a system. We’re looking at the district as a system as a whole, we’re not looking to see who does what. The district is committed to this with time, funding and leadership. This is not just one year like it’s an ongoing thing. The board wants community input,” Billodeau said. “It’s a process, not just a program,”
The district, acting as a system, would have four main groups working together – management, leadership team, partners, and educators and paraprofessionals.
The management team would include the school board and superintendent, while leadership would include school administrators.
Already, the board has received training regarding how to develop and put into effect a systemic plan. Administrators have been briefed and staff talked to and are scheduled to meet gain with faculty and staff for professional development.
Staff who volunteer will assist on committees, which the public who are partners will be asked to sign up for during this week’s meeting. The public will indicate to their committees what their core beliefs for the district are for student and adult learning, active leadership, change, diversity, collaboration and inclusion, accountability and responsibility and systems thinking.
In each area, the committees will be asked to answer the question “what do I believe” in all eight core belief areas. To do this they will answer a series of “essential questions” identifying specific systemic factors for each. Once in place, the system will continue to operate adapting to changing needs regardless of changing faces on committees or at each of the four groups in the system.
All district goals and decisions are then to be made based on that goal. This goes beyond campus and district improvement plans, which administrators said are “flat.”
Examples of belief statements could be “I believe that all students can learn” or “I believe all adults should have continuing education.” That would mean parents could expect success from all students, and before, after and during school programs might be initiated to address those needs. Teachers would receive continuing education and attend development classes.
The system will likely take years to fully put in place, with adjustments made as needed including getting people “in the right seats on the bus,” which could include changes such as reassigning staff to different positions which better fit their greatest areas of strength.
Tullis said to think of the system like Texas Stadium or any other large stadium. The plan in action is the field you see. But for any game, there are a lot of people working behind the scenes to make it happen. Think of the district management team as the owners, the leadership team as the coaches, the educators and paraprofessionals as the players, while the parents and community are the fans.
“We need constant feedback in all areas,” Tullis explained.
The meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. is designed to explain the systemic plan, allow people to ask questions regarding the plan, and to give those who wish to be involved a chance to sign up for committees to do so.
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