By 10 o’clock that morning, I’d started the first round of phone calls to the seven city schools setting up face-to-face meetings with each of the principals and the superintendent. I also contacted the mayor-elect and the city councilman for my ward.
My main purpose in meeting with these educators was to (1.) establish/build relationships of trust with each individual; (2.) identify their top priorities/goals for the year; (3.) identify any obstacles to reaching the stated goals; (4.) determine how I, as a member of the board, could assist them in achieving their goals. As I met with these dedicated individuals, I found them, without exception, to be caring and genuinely concerned about the welfare of their students. They were realistic and honest about where their schools currently were and had a clear vision for the future.
Recently, I spent several hours reviewing training materials from the Alabama Association of School Boards as well as reading published research on characteristics of high-performing schools. One of the key ingredients of high-performing schools is the responsibility of all to educate students. Along with teachers and staff, “parents, businesses, social service agencies, community colleges and universities play a vital role in this effort.” The real work of school improvement is up to each one of us. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can lend a hand.
Donna Satterlee Ross