Friday, October 25, 2013

Supplemental Materials for the October 28, 2013 School Board Meeting

Here are the supplemental materials provided in preparation for the regular meeting of the School Board, to be held Monday October 28, 2013 at 7pm, at the PreSchool, which is attached to Alton-Darby Elementary.

We'll start the meeting with a presentation from the Preschool staff, followed by recognition of 28 of our high school students who scored exceptionally well National Merit Scholarship Exam. I see several familiar names on that list. Congratulations to the students and parents!

Item C2 of the agenda is the acceptance and approval of the Treasurer's Monthly Financial Report for September. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Item E1f is the approval of supplemental salaries for the winter activities.

We'll be having the first reading of a number of changes to existing Board Policies. The practice is to present these changes at three (normally consecutive) Board meetings and, unless there are changes or objections, to vote to enact them on the third meeting. I encourage you to read these changes, and if you have comments to let me know, or even better contact one of the two Board members who sit on the Policy Review Committee, Lisa Whiting or Heather Keck.

Items F1 and F2 are items Dr. Marschhausen previewed in his State of the School speech earlier this week - acceptance of a new Vision and Mission statements for the school district:

  • Proposed Vision Statement: Hilliard City Schools will Embrace, Empower, and Inspire students, families and community in an active partnership.
  • Proposed Purpose Statement: Hilliard City Schools will ensure that every student is Ready for Tomorrow.
I'm not a big fan of these kinds of statements. They became popular during a kind of New Age time for management, when people like Ken Blanchard (One Minute Manager) and Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence) came on the scene. My objection isn't to the existence of such statements, but rather that companies often pour lots of resources into creating them and publicizing them (especially to investors and customers), and then fail to adhere to them in daily practice.

I see the value of these statements only when they are coupled with authority granted to each employee to make decisions consistent with the statements, and to expect other employees (and bosses) to do likewise. You don't really get "empowerment" unless this is the case.

Too often organizations draw up inspiring if somewhat ambiguous purpose/vision/mission/etc statements, spending a ton of money to post them on signs throughout the facilities, and parading the top management through the hallways proclaiming their unconditional support of these statements. 

But then when real-world situations came up, the decision is often reflective of long-established culture and practices which are in conflict with these statements, rather than in support of the newly declared intent. That quickly cancels all the time and effort spent, and worse yet promotes cynicism in the troops. Better to have never come up with those new statements in the first place.

For example, I have a nephew who is a decorated (including two Purple Hearts) US Marine veteran of the Iraq War. Our political and military leaders want us to hear that they are committed to training, equipping, and supporting our sons and daughters so they have an excellent chance of completing their mission and coming home in one piece. 

Yet before my nephew's unit shipped out to Iraq, other Marines who had been there advised them to go spend their own money to buy a bunch of extra magazines for their rifles because the government was going to issue them only two - not nearly enough when one is being shot at. Wouldn't you wonder if the leaders really meant what they said, and whether they could be trusted on other matters?

By the way, this isn't a knock on the Marine Corps. Their purpose and mission statements are powerful, and I hold every person who puts on the uniform in high esteem, especially those we send into combat. It's the actions of the national leadership on which I am commenting.

There is much to like in the statements proposed by Dr. Marschhausen, and I will vote in their support. But I'll be hanging on every carefully chosen word, and expecting our leadership team to live up to them.

I hope to see you at the Board meeting.

No comments:

Post a Comment