Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Building a coalition . . .

Yesterday was important because we welcomed new teachers, but it was also important because of a meeting we had in the afternoon with representatives from a diverse group.  In the room were two high school students, two high school administrators, and representatives from the central office, City of Maple Valley, Chamber of Commerce, DLR Architects, Green River Community College, Renton Technical College, Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound, and a King County representative on a phone link.

Why this diverse group of people in a meeting at our high school?  The topic was the possibility of building a new, comprehensive high school on the county’s “donut hole” property that I first blogged about here and here.  The reason for the diversity is because the concept that is emerging is one of a regional learning center resulting from a partnership with institutions of higher learning and manufacturing.  The intent of the meeting was to determine if those in the room share the values that we have for our students and our growing concern for their success in post high school learning and work.  The conversation resulted in a coalition forming to begin moving the concept forward.

I am excited and energized with the potential for this initiative to meet our student housing needs, our newly emerging program needs for all students post high school plans, and for supporting the city and greater community goals of living wage jobs in the city.  Will it be easy?  No, there are many issues that must be resolved and for us a bond measure that must be passed.  In my career, however, I have found that the one thing that can overcome obstacles is a truly shared vision.  I sensed that beginning to form yesterday.

I believe in this Margaret Wheatley quote and I believe that the thoughtful people were in the room yesterday.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Very interesting concept. I appreciate the thinking "out of the box". When you state the vision is to create "a regional learning center resulting from a partnership with institutions of higher learning and manufacturing", it leads me to the impression of a shared facility, not just guiding our students to acquire certain skills.

Would the other stakeholders contribute to the costs of construction and maintenance, and if so, what level would their contributions be? I'm sure the community would appreciate any and all efforts to bring down the cost of any future bond.