A long time ago, on the second day of my teacher preparation program, I was asked to teach a ten minute lesson. The lesson could be about anything and was to be video taped. As you might expect, the ordeal was a bit nerve wracking. With no prior teaching experience I chose to teach how to distinguish among the five different types of salmon. Before the lesson started, I felt that my planning was good. But after two minutes of teaching, I recognized that my planning was in fact, terrible. There was no way to accomplish what I wanted to in the short time period. Fortunately, the UAF prof only smiled when the ten minutes ended- she should have fallen over laughing-it was that bad. Planning is of course best done when there is a good sense of the variables that affect the success of the plan. In my case, I had no experience and naively bit off way more than I could chew.
Planning improvement efforts for a school district is fraught with unknowns. The mentioned variables are many and often just show up without prior notice. One of the main variables that affects district level planning is funding. Without knowing our level of funding we are hesitant to initiate a plan or increase a level of service. While everyone wants our students to have the very best, it appears that few recognize the need to commit a funding level to schools well in advance of the coming year. This is why the three-year funding plan that is a part of SB 171 is so important to KPBSD. Although the increase in funds that are a part of SB171 will not fully offset our pending deficit, it will let us know what to expect when preparing future years’ budgets, and hence, allow us to plan. The link below takes you to a letter sent to Senator Davis on this bill. By the way, if you’ve been around salmon for a while you can distinguish the species by looking at the eye.