As I spend more years as a superintendent (18 years this January!), I get more and more opportunities to present at and be a part of national conversations surrounding education. I choose wisely and only a couple a year that I think I can learn the most from. Late last week I presented about distributed leadership and communication to superintendents from around the country. I also learned about the national conversation around getting more diversity in my role, school safety, national school budget strategies, making telemedicine for underprivileged students available in schools, and updates to the survey tool "Thought Exchange" that you may remember us using for Strategic Planning.
I thought the presentation went well on my end, and I took a lot away and actually created two key partnerships with companies in the school safety and communications spaces that will really help us. As those partnerships develop, I will keep you up to speed. I just don't want to jinx anything by describing them before agreements are made in writing.
One thing that I found quite frustrating as a superintendent from New York was how schools, particularly in the south, are able to work with commercial partners to help pay for things and programs in schools. New York State prohibits any commercialism in schools.
I am certainly not saying that I want our children, buses, or fields to look like NASCAR drivers, but when every budget conversation in New York revolves around costs, taxes, and impact on you and me, why can we not begin to at least talk about how a commercial partner(s) could help us grow programs and defray costs? Schools in the south have sponsors for their athletics, fine arts, career, and technical education programs, etc. and that helps to drive down their cost per pupil. That lower cost per pupil lowers the tax impact. I just think there is a way, and I would love to see the law change from "NO" to "maybe". I am going to carry that flag for a while and see where that goes.
We are in full-fledged "concert season" so if music is your thing, be sure to keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for upcoming concert dates. Also, high school athletics works in cycles, and we are really in an "up" cycle in our basketball programs at the moment. You can expect very large crowds for our girls and boys games this season, so if you are coming to see them play and want a good seat, be sure to get there early!
Thank you and enjoy the week.