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In Case You’re Wondering: Hopes, Dreams & Expectations

Sep 6, 2016 | Messages from the Superintendent

As I reflect on my first two full months on the job, I honestly do not know where those first 60 days went; they have flown by. I have had the opportunity to meet many great people inside and outside of the organization and I continue to be amazed at the wide variety of resources and staff that we have available to help the students of USD 253 be successful. I have also witnessed a large number of #EmporiaProud moments that continue to make me feel blessed to be a member of this organization.

Whether I am visiting buildings or talking with staff, parents or students, I look at our system through the lens of a newcomer.  This vantage point allows me the opportunity to ask questions, observe behaviors, watch interactions and assess how we go about our day-to-day business.  All of these experiences help me begin to develop and form opinions about what our school district stands for, what we believe and what we value.  

While my perception, values and beliefs are important, it is also vital to gather input from a wide range of stakeholders to begin to develop a detailed picture of what our school community thinks, believes and hopes for our school district.  There are probably a number of ways to achieve this end.  We are planning to take a two-fold approach to gathering input both internally and externally.  

First, I plan to schedule what we are calling a Look, Listen, Learn and Lead Tour.  I am going to hold short, focused informal discussions with a wide variety of stakeholders in USD 253 over a 4-6 week period in September and October.  We are still finalizing the key discussion areas, but they will look something like this:

  • Current and future educational programming needs
  • Barriers to achieving success
  • Needs for instructional learning spaces
  • #EmporiaProud moments

Secondly, we utilize a climate survey every two years to gather data about the district.  That survey will be coming out in October and you will hear more about it in the near future.

When I think about the mission and vision of this district, I honestly cannot think of anyone who does not have a stake in what that looks like. It is my hope that many people will provide us with input in at least one of these two processes. This will be everyone’s opportunity to tell us your hopes, dreams and expectations of the public schools in Emporia. Our final product will be much richer if we hear the diverse perspectives represented in our community.

I think Proverbs 15:22 helps me to understand the importance of seeking the advice from many:  Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.  

My hope is that you will feel a pull to be involved in giving us input for how our district continues to grow, develop and mature over the coming years.  

The concept of #EmporiaProud has been mentioned a couple of times.  #EmporiaProud has been our theme for the 2016-17 school year.  This hashtag is giving us the ability to showcase, spotlight, and most importantly recognize the great things that are going on at Emporia Schools.  As we gather thoughts, ideas and input from each of you, we believe that we will continue to plant the seeds for many more #EmporiaProud moments of the future.  We look forward to spending time with you discussing the future of Emporia Schools.   

I continue to look forward to meeting more and more members of the Emporia community and hearing how we all can work together to maintain strong schools, a strong community, and promise for our youth.

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