Recent events have inspired me to take yet another close look at priorities.Â Are we trying to be everything to everyone and, as a result, struggling to find balance?Â I started with a short list of â€œCâ€ words but it just keeps mushrooming.Â Â (*Please noteâ€¦ I am keenly aware that â€œlearningâ€ begins with the letter â€œLâ€ and that “Child” is the ultimate “C” word.)
1.Â Â Â Â Compliance â€“ This word is first on the list because of my knee-jerk reaction to a very painful enrolment audit last month.Â Once I stopped pouting I realized that some compliance might actually be good practice (although I still believe the ministry has to update the audit teams regarding things like Bill 33, Personalized Learning and innovationâ€¦ but that is another story).
2.Â Â Â Â Capacity â€“ Building capacity has always been especially important in our district because our staff is so transient, but when someone as talented as Lesley Lahaye announces her retirement as Assistant Superintendent (AND you get burned in an audit) it becomes a priority in a hurry.
3.Â Â Â Â Communication â€“ Iâ€™ve always wondered how a guy who talks as much as me has a communication problem but the truth is I need to keep looking for strategies to make sure everyone is informed and listened to.
4.Â Â Â Â Community – We have formed some great partnerships with our municipalities and community organizations.Â I have spoken publicly about the need for us all to get out of our â€œsilosâ€ and really show people what it looks like when â€œa community raises a childâ€.Â Now I have to reciprocate.Â When I am invited to community meetings and planning sessions it seems hypocritical if I donâ€™t go.
5.Â Â Â Â Celebration â€“ Our district is doing some great things for kids.Â We have some amazing staff.Â It is easy to let time go by and possibly have them feel as though we take them for granted.Â We need to celebrate more.
â€¦ and the list goes on
6.Â Â Â Â Computers â€“ Technology is ever changing.Â Even though it is tough to plan for whatâ€™s coming next, we still need to spend more time talking with people about a district direction. (I find it ironic that this conversation could be so much easier to have if more people would embrace technology.)
7.Â Â Â Â Corporate â€“ We are in the midst of starting up some innovative programs (such as the â€œEnergetic Learning Campusâ€ at the Pomeroy Sports Center).Â We have business people who are interested in helping out.Â I need to make more time for them.
8.Â Â Â Â Candor â€“ In my opinion, it has never been more important than it is now for people to take part in candid dialogue about education.Â (By the way, I donâ€™t think you need to be rude to be candidâ€¦ the world doesnâ€™t need any more Simon Cowells or Hellâ€™s Kitchen chefs).
9.Â Â Â Â CHANGE â€“ Need I say more?Â And not just any changeâ€¦ incremental change in exponential times just isnâ€™t cutting it.
â€¦ and on
10. Catchment â€“ Our growing district needs to change traditional catchment areas.Â Should we do it in traditional ways?Â I donâ€™t think so.
11. Calendar â€“ Weâ€™re still mainly 9:00 to 3:00 and September to June.Â Why?
12. Cash â€“ Budget is an issue.Â Canâ€™t deny it.Â This brings me back to â€œhow do we do everything for everyone?â€Â Bottom lineâ€¦ I donâ€™t think it will be with the system that we have.Â If â€œlearningâ€ really is the most important thing, then we need to get our â€œCâ€ words in order (and our â€œAâ€ words, and our â€œBâ€ wordsâ€¦).
Do you have any words to share?