“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work.” Thomas Edison
The education community in Alaska has a lot of work ahead. As a member of the education community, I am willing to put in that work and provide leadership because of all the opportunities that come with it. We have a chance to shape our plan to meet the new (and somewhat unknown) requirements from the Every Student Succeeds Act. We have a chance to address root concerns from some of our legislators about innovation, results, and supporting a sustainable fiscal plan. We have a chance to tell the public education story – the same stories that give me hope about our state’s and country’s future.
As Thomas Edison said, we cannot miss these opportunities because of the work involved. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has dramatically improved graduation rates over the past several years. The real story is that we have put a great deal of effort into differentiating instruction, developing positive relationships with kids and utilizing technology to expand learning outside of the school day. Every bit of that is rooted in constant focus and effort to meet the individual needs of students.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has prioritized communication with all stakeholders with an emphasis on lasting impact our students have within their individual communities. Whether it is students providing support to their peers in transition or students creating public service announcements to save future lives, we honor those accomplishments and make sure everyone understands the value of the entire system supporting these endeavors. Again, it takes a great deal of effort and sometimes it seems like no one is listening. Then the parent of a student in transition will call saying thanks or a businessperson following up on a story they read about involving one of our innovative, creative students.
As those small “wins” build, the voice of the education community builds. With even more effort and leadership, the true value of public education in our state will gain more respect and recognition. We have the opportunity to transform results and perceptions of public education. It is time for the education community to roll up our sleeves, provide clear examples of value, share the immense amount of success we all have in our districts and engage in the process this fall and next legislative session.