Excellence is the Aim: Relationships

My experience, as a Jeffco student, then as a teacher, and now as a Jeffco parent, has refined my vision for education. It is laser-focused on all students’ best interest. I believe the Jeffco community deserves nothing less than a steadfast commitment to Excellence, Transparency, and Cooperation.

I want to articulate what I mean by Excellence, recognizing that Jeffco schools already aim for excellence. Everyone in Jeffco whole-heartedly working for it has my profound respect and gratitude. In support of ongoing efforts:

Students in Jeffco need

  • Excellence in learning
  • Excellence in opportunities and
  • Excellence in relationships

I’m amazed at the support the Jeffco community has shown me in my campaign for Jeffco’s school board. I know it is rooted in a commitment to our schools and students. Thank you for the opportunity to share my vision of Excellence with you.

Part One

Part Two 

Part Three: Excellence in Relationships

A final dimension of excellence Jeffco students deserve is relationships. We win great outcomes for all students one student at a time. In addition to navigating the demands of the school day, Jeffco students navigate various strengths and challenges in themselves, their neighborhoods, and their homes.

When Jeffco students are connected to peers and professionals in their school, not merely as widgets or data points but as human beings, then we may hope to maximize their unique journeys toward successful futures. I know firsthand how helpful it is to not have to go it alone. Sometimes I wonder if a small amount of individual attention might have redirected my path from a GED back to graduation.

Through excellence and care from counselors, social workers, teacher-advisors, teacher-librarians, paraprofessionals, and support staff, every child has multiple opportunities to be valued and understood by school and district staff everyday. It matters that in addition to the tasks they complete, these staff members build a culture of safety and connection to students.

Action Steps: Deliver systems that protect student information privacy, allowing only families and relevant staff access to transparent, individualized information for shared discussions and decision-making around student learning, like the Classroom Dashboard currently under development. Explore models for delivering small-group advisory support through teachers, particularly at the middle and high school levels, to compliment current high ratio student-counselor advisement, to better individualize personal and educational supports.

Conclusion

When I hear about education policy issues today, I see students’ faces. I remember my former student who reached the 6th grade reading at a 3rd grade level. It took two years of data-driven intervention and support, but he entered 8th grade a Proficient reader. I see the transfixed gaze of the student for whom the meaning of a Shakespearean sonnet flowed and flowered in her nimble mind at the first hearing. And of course I see my own children’s faces, and wonder what they will accomplish–what they will be supported to accomplish–in Jeffco schools.

Jeffco’s best gift to kids is a strong education, developing for all students deep understanding and broad opportunities, so each child is ready to confidently follow–or trailblaze–whatever path they choose.  They will also need to be connected to people who know and value them as individuals, and who have the expertise to make learning work for them. We must also care about the systems and standards, the tools and resources, the aims and assessments, that make this a unified effort that reaches beyond intentions to outcomes.  We get there together. I’m ready to turn away from partisanship and back to the worthy work of providing robust excellence to all students–one student at a time.

%d bloggers like this: