Friday, April 18, 2014

What should be our three (3) top policy priorities for our Hall County school system?

Curriculum, Teaching, and Strategic Planning are areas I see as most critically in need of attention. First, we need to teach what kids need to live a good life, not just what they need to get by. Our curriculum must fit the needs of our community and not be a big business backed cookie cutter affair dictated by bureaucrats. My educational experience will add to making this happen. We must design our teaching approach to help students learn to learn. We need a curriculum that meets their needs for not only future employability or advanced education, but also that recognizes life is much greater than just work and academics and broadens the students' horizons. It would be great if we could make school fun for EVERYONE!
Second, I know that teachers really can make learning fun. We have great teachers with the capacity to shape and breathe life into our curricula. We need to teach kids how to learn for life. To do this, we must find the best teachers and techniques. AND we must not only reward them, but let them help other teachers to excel as well. Successful techniques used by stellar teachers that get students to want to learn must be captured and given to all faculty. However, excess administrative burdens on our teachers keep them from their primary mission, teaching our children. We must ease the office burdens on teachers whenever possible. As a teacher myself, I know this must be done.
Third, we must plot a course; define a path to the future. Just testing and tallying statistics won't tell you where you are going and how to get there. Vision, direction, and strategic planning are much more than piecemeal policies and objectives that have little relationship to direction. This needs to be systematically addressed and changed. If you don't know where you are going, moving in any direction is as good as moving in another. Our system needs that clear guidance in a direction that focuses on the needs of the Hall community. It can only be that if we include the parents, teachers, and yes, the students in this process, not just administrative staff. We must also include the leaders in industry and government within our community. And that strategic plan must be readily visible to all the people in the county.
Heck, put it on the Web site. We should have nothing to hide. And with a clear plan that all stakeholders have agreed to, we can hold ourselves, our central administrators, and our Principals accountable for clearly using and supporting that plan. If we do that, I know the heart and soul of our system, our faculty, will do so also. I know because I know how to trust people. My planning, management, and leadership experience will help get us there. I don’t want . the Hall County School System's motto to be "We're Just as Good as Anybody Else and Maybe a Little Better than Some." I want it to be : "We're the Best."

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