In August I wrote to you in the August newsletter about my excitement as a new Alburnett resident and employee. Imagine my excitement now that our students and staff are back in the building! We have so much to be proud of at Alburnett, from facilities to a focus on curriculum. And I am quickly learning that our biggest asset as a district is our personnel.
Thank you again for attending the first School & Community Forum and the Open House. I look forward to seeing you at the next Forum on September 10. Please continue to monitor this site for information, including materials used during each monthly school board meeting.
As would be expected whenever there is a personnel change, I have received several suggestions for making this district even better than it already is. I appreciate the honesty and the suggestions for improvement. I would ask for your patience as well as we consider the ideas we are getting. Some suggestions might need immediate attention and others may make more sense after watching the school year get under way.
There are so many areas that need to be addressed in schools – budgets, facilities, schedules, activities, bussing, maintenance – and they are all very important. But did you notice what I left out? We have a natural tendency to focus on the things we can see. We have opinions on what we believe things should look like and how they should run. There’s nothing wrong with that. But sometimes we let these things overshadow our purpose – educating our students.
While Iowa has much to be proud of historically in the area of education, it’s time to engage in real conversations about the future. Our student achievement is not necessarily slipping, our students are not achieving more poorly than in the past, it’s just that others in the U.S. and around the world are accelerating and achieving at higher levels while we stay the same. And it’s not just Iowa that needs to be studying this trend, it’s right here at Alburnett.
These conversations and changes certainly don’t happen overnight, but they have to happen. As the school year begins, we’ll be taking on these challenging conversations with our staff. It’s a matter of prioritizing what we believe students need to be learning and how we might challenge them to be involved in their learning.
I would highly encourage you to visit http://www.iowafuture.org/2011/08/04/iowa-did-you-know/ for a glimpse into these conversations.