Laura, it's too bad you could not attend the Esperanza meeting today. We had an excellent group of leaders, neighborhood residents, and community organizations all gathered with the intention of participating in a process to make the district better. It was a great group.
One of resounding ideas was the need for students to have "real-world" experience as part of the curriculum and by "real-world" we do not mean classroom replication. There were organizations present who have tremendous resources to offer students and they want to offer them. I know I feel, and you can offer your opinion as well, that so much of what makes a person successful and productive occurs outside the classroom. Through community partnerships, we can offer students exposure to social experiences that teach them valuable skills in collaboration, innovate, and problem solve. Students learn professional behaviors that they can take with them back to the classroom and carry throughout their daily life.
Along these lines was the community's believe that the school is part of the community and needs to be treated as such. the district appears to understand this per CEO Eric Gordon's comment this afternoon that if individual schools want autonomy, they need to be better woven into their community's fabric.
A major focus was the ability for individual schools to cater to their own needs. This was a topic that came up often during the levy campaign - autonomy with the passage of the House Bill that has really allowed this whole process to be started, the district has more autonomy, and it is the idea to offer schools more autonomy. This may mean Lincoln-West can hire more bilingual teachers or an east side school can hire an art teacher. By having more autonomy, principals can make their schools better by hiring who they need or implementing the strategies they need to implemennot which often, are not the same as what the district as a whold needs.
Another topic that emerged was the need for the district to provide better customer service. Parents want homer information, better information, and individuals who are willing to explain it to them and help them through the process. And in Spanish.
Although you couldn't attend the Esperanza meeting, try to get to anothereally was very good. Together we will collaborate, innovate, and create a better CMSD.