I am returning (along with several of our Lincoln Board of Education members) from a national school board conference in Boston. Sitting in the airport provides a few minutes to reflect on the excellent lessons we have experience here.
I would note:
- Lincoln Public Schools Board of Education members put in an amazing amount of time and work, constantly staying accountable to the public. In Boston, once again, I have observed them working hard as they attended many sessions where they sought out new ideas – even sparks of ideas – that they could bring back to Lincoln.
- Hearing a broad range of other national perspectives is certainly beneficial to us as we plan our progress for the coming years. However, in many of the sessions – specifically about academic accountability, governance, cyber-bulling, technology and strategic planning – I often felt that our school district was far beyond where the presenters were.
- The general tone of hope in the conference was summarized by Geoffrey Canada, who has been accomplishing amazing work in a difficult school in Harlem and has become a national spokesperson for public education. His feel-good talk centered on the importance of taking a stand for children and not accepting the age-old excuse of “no money.” He offered the powerful choice between the cost of incarceration ($40 K per year) versus the cost of education ($10K) and, pointed to the clear choice of investment with the most potential to help young people lead successful lives. I was quite moved by his passion for the “left-behind” and have a greater resolve to move aggressively into our strategic plan.
Attending a conference represents the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things and reflect on where we are on the leadership continuum. I feel better than ever that our school district is in a great place with an incredibly bright future. Thanks for all you do.