The Way Back Machine #1

I started blogging in May 2010 when I was the superintendent at the Ridgway Area School District in Elk County Pennsylvania. I recently went back and reread some of those posts. My first few posts are embarrassingly barren. I shared some basic information about Board meetings and explained the Board’s non-negotiable goals for achievement and instruction. Below, you will find the first post where I believe I started to find my own voice. This is the post that also started to add members to the blog site. The post is still a little rough, but I wanted to share it with you so you can see that you don’t have to be perfect to blog as a superintendent…just be sincere!

Blog From May, 14th, 2010

I have been thinking a lot about transparency in our educational system. I have mentioned before that I believe society (and by default the educational system) has started to change in ways that has not been seen for hundreds of years. We are on the forefront of a foundational shift in how people interact with each other, how we learn, what we do for a living, and what are relationships will be to large governmental agencies and multinational corporations. The linchpin for this change (at least for our school district) is a sense of transparency. There must be transparency at every level of the organization and transparency is a two way street. To effectively provide a quality 21st Century education for our students the administration, teachers, parents, and students must feel as if we all acting on the same information. For this reason, I will be conducting open, honest budget conversations with the staff of the school. This will allow the staff to act within the same framework of knowledge that the administration does.

Students are also an important part of this equation. The reason the school is here at all (and that those of us in the system have jobs) is because of the students. They should be aware and have some say in what the educational system looks like. As a matter of fact, for our schools to thrive in the 21st century the participation by the students will be a must. This transparency goes deeper than just a public relations stunt. Transparency allows everyone to have a stake in the health of the organization and lets an organization experiment with different leadership and organizational models. This “beta” status will help Ridgway Area School District thrive as we navigate the seismic shifts in education and society at large.

About Tom Butler, Ph.D.

I believe that public education is for the public good and that education should be uncompromisingly learner-centered. The New Learning Ecosystem points us away from the old model of education that does not serve kids well. All educators regardless of where they work can help lead and contribute to the New Learning Ecosystem.
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