Sincere thanks to all who were able to attend the School & Community Forum last evening. I appreciated seeing the chairs filled, hearing your pointed questions, and listening to your thoughtful opinions about the future of finances in the Alburnett district. This future must include a careful balance between reductions in spending and an increase in revenue. Finding the balance requires input from our community about what an appropriate school tax rate would be and what services best meet the needs of our students. Communicating your thoughts on this right now is critical. Our school board must make decisions, and they cannot do that without our input. Please remember they need our input now, not after they have had to make decisions.
Now, back to an earlier conversation…a few weeks ago I posed the following question: Why (or why not) is it important for students to take primary responsibility and ownership for their learning? I would encourage you to check out the responses that followed. In the course of dialogue I’ve been asked to clarify the question a bit. I’ve been reading Engaging Students: The Next Level of Working on the Work, by Phillip Schlechty. So to borrow from Schlechty, I think the best way to answer the request might be to layer a few more questions into the conversation, but this time with a bit more specificity. For example, we might ask…are the products that students are asked to produce clearly intended to be useful to other students, parents, or community leaders? Or…Are students encouraged to assess their own work in terms of the standards set, and do they participate frequently in group assessment processes? We might also ask…Do students generally place personal value on the products and performances they are asked to produced?
Thanks for the conversations on both important topics. I look forward to many more.