If you don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions then maybe making new goals is your thing.
Either way, we’ve asked Jefferson County school board members to share their “resolutions” with us. The invitation was sent to all seven board members; below are the responses from those who participated.
There was little guidance on what themes or parts of being a board member should be considered. Some reflected on larger ideas in public education while others chose personal challenges.
District 6 board member Carol Haddad’s resolution is to find funding for early childhood education.
“We have talked about it, now it is time to put some meat on the bones. Our Brigance test showed that only 32 percent of kindergartners are ready for school. This is unacceptable and we as a board and community, must step up and partner together to make this happen. It will be more fiscally sound to do this than pay for remediation. We have a task force that is meeting and it is now time to act.
“Also, Every 1 Reads, which we had started under Dr. Daeschner and partnered with GLI and the business community, is in the process of being reinstated. At one time, we had 11,000 volunteers reading to our students or mentoring them. Since our elementary reading scores were lower, we need this to help raise the bar.”
District 3 school board member Debbie Wesslund said she wants to see the glass half full, rather than half empty.
“I truly believe that we will see more progress in our schools when we celebrate the progress currently occurring. There are many innovations and excellent examples of progress within our Jefferson County Public Schools.
“It is my sincere belief that we have among the most talented and experienced educators and administrators in the country. Our schools depend completely on the people who work with students every day. I fear that too much compliance reduces the ability of our educators to use instincts—through experience—to help students.
“Furthermore, our bent toward negativity about public institutions generally, and our public schools in particular, is not the strategy for progress. Emphasizing the positive is the way to get more progress, not seeking out the negative. There will always be challenges to address, but there is more potential in showcasing and growing the successes.”
District 5 school board member Linda Duncan said she wants to always ask Superintendent Donna Hargens how she arrived at her decisions or recommendations that come before the board. She said proposals like the one for Frost Middle School should have input early on from all parties.
“No recommendation should be coming to us that was not formulated in this collaborative manner. In the case of Frost, JCTA was not included until past the formulation stage. Consequently, teachers were left to agree or disagree with the recommendation, not to be a part of forming it. Now we have a plan that puts an unrealistic burden on the very teachers who must make it happen.
“I would love to see us take some time to arrive at recommendations that have broad support from principals, teachers, parents and even students (Phoenix School senior high kids come to mind as a group we should have consulted. Will they be willing to trade a high school setting for a 6-12 setting? Who asked them?)”
Duncan’s second resolution is to approve a plan for Shawnee that “utilizes an innovative schedule all students will find appealing and approve a plan that allows more of Shawnee’s neighborhood kids to attend that school to pursue college credits and career certifications in areas in which they could find ready employment within the Louisville community.”
District 1 school board member and chair Diane Porter writes her resolution would be to “work to increase community engagement and involvement as we focus on our vision: All JCPS students graduate prepared to reach their full potential and contribute to our society throughout life.”