Essex Town

Essex Town

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Once in a While You Get Shown the Light in the Strangest of Places if You Look at it Right

I had the opportunity to visit Hilton Head Island last month, 2 days after South Carolina’s Governor allowed islanders to return to their homes and businesses following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew.

To state it mildly, I was overwhelmed initially by seeing the destruction left in the wake of this storm and the heartbreak it caused so many people whose property and/or livelihood was affected by powerful winds that snapped century old trees as if they were toothpicks.

This gestalt type of experience allowed me to see past the noticeable debris left by the storm and the obvious disruption it caused the majority of island residents and instead, watch the amazing way people came together to help each other overcome one of nature’s greatest wraths.

Flying home to Vermont with this recent experience of “life after a hurricane” in mind, the thoughts of merging with CCSU in a short 7 months suddenly reappeared. Truthfully, these thoughts were never too far away. I mused over the analogy that came to mind- that solutions to complex problems are possible when you can see past the obvious hurdles and look for solutions that involve the ideas and help from others and,  “success is the only option” mindset is embraced by everyone.

There has been a great deal of progress made over the last few months- moving us closer to being a unified school district on July 1, 2017. School Board policies are being approved, the candidate pool for the next Superintendent is promising (interviews begin this week), and a new Human Resource/Finance System is slowly coming on line.  On top of all that, contract negotiations with educators have begun and other staff contingents will follow. Last but not least, community groups, funded by the Nellie Mae Foundation and facilitated by Everyday Democracy, have been engaged this fall in a variety of topics including:

District Mission/Vision
Student Centered Learning
Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements
Multiple Pathways and Personalized Learning
And yes, School Bus Transportation!

There’s so much to be excited about with the pending merger. There will be roadblocks, detours and the occasional stormy day. But when we roll up our sleeves, believe in ourselves and each other and keep our compass set to true north- we will have kept our promise to our students, community, and to each other. This merger will be successful- in more ways than one!

With the future in mind,
Mark

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