We must rise above complacency, pessimism and selfishness

The Left Hand Valley Courier asked me to respond to the following question in no more than 250 words: 

What do you consider to be the biggest challenge facing the school district right now?  Here’s what I said.

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We hold higher expectations for public schools than at any point in our great country’s history.  We reasonably expect our schools to prepare every child for education beyond high school and/or a high skill job.  We correctly expect our schools to challenge students above grade level and help those below grade level to catch up with peers.  And, every parent rightfully expects their child to receive the specialized time and attention they need to succeed.

The good news is that wise and determined educators are learning how to achieve all of these goals.  But, thoughtful people agree, our schools must and will change in design and methodology.  We must provide a range of learning options to meet the unique needs and interests of all students.  We must make differentiated, personalized and self-directed approaches to learning available to all students.

To prepare students for our global society we must turn our community’s diversity into an asset.  We must extend our ability to learn from, about and with people of different backgrounds beyond mere tolerance.

Our greatest challenge is to muster ongoing community support to act with sustained urgency to accomplish these goals. Marginal, slow progress is not sufficient.  St. Vrain is behind neighboring districts.

It is easy to fall into traps of thinking things are good enough, change is not possible or to focus on our own narrow interests.  We must rise above complacency, pessimism and selfishness to create the public schools our children deserve.  Please join me in this effort.

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