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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reflection on the Portage School Board Dynamics

As most of the community knows, the Board had two retreats this last summer to discuss our process. The first was well-covered by the press. Although this discussion was difficult, I was glad the other Board members shared their concerns with me.

I learned that there is a belief that I have a hidden agenda which is to intentionally make the school district look bad! Nothing could be further from the truth. I just happen to believe what I campaigned on, that Portage is a good school district with the potential to be GREAT. I am a strong believer in the process to Greatness defined by Tim Collins in his book, Good to Great. To achieve greatness, organizations must face the brutal facts of their current reality. As leaders, we must not be satisfied to rest on our laurels. And as Mr. Collins says, We must lead with questions, which I have been known to do.

Our second retreat was not well publicized, but it was an example of how we intend to work together better. We are beginning to develop the list of facts we must face around our most important objective, student academic achievement and learning. Thanks Julie Mack for your recent report on college readiness. This brings an important fact to the surface for Portage schools, that this year, 46% of our students are ready for college math. This is a fact. And though this % is higher than some districts, since 90 some % of our students go to college, clearly we have an opportunity to improve on our way to becoming Great!

This next couple years will be full of challenges for us, but many great organizations have faced huge challenges and not just survived, but thrived. We must thrive for the well-being of our community and for the benefit of our children.

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