Friday, June 29, 2012

Some necessary tension . . .

Wednesday night was the second meeting of the Board’s ad hoc committee looking at preparing our graduates for college and careers.  We had 35 people including students, teachers, administrators, PTA, and community members come together on a beautiful summer evening to continue our conversation from last month.  The following question is guiding our work.

How do we partner with our community to ensure that ALL Tahoma High School graduates leave with a plan that provides options for success in post high school learning and work?

Our responsibility is to provide the board with two products.
  •  A vision statement that in few words captures the many components of an answer to the question above.
  •  A communication plan to create conversations in our schools, homes, and community about the importance of ensuring that all graduates have options and a plan for success in post high school learning and work.

We are attempting to create some tension by challenging the mental model that many hold that the only way to success is through attendance at a four year university.  That tension between this current mental model and the preferred vision that will come from the committee provides us with the opportunity for new learning and changed practice.  We don’t want young people to give up aspirations; we want aspirations to be the result of learning, focused conversations over time, and guidance for families as they make these important decisions.  The conversations will not always be easy, but they are necessary for us to ensure that ALL students and families have these experiences.

Last night we had a Boeing HR executive share information with us that provided committee members with additional information and some dissonance as they used their learning to identify key words and phrases for the vision statement.  The time flew by and the energy level was very high throughout the meeting.  If you are reading this and are a part of the committee please consider sharing your thoughts in a comment to this post.

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