By DR. DENISE GUY
USD 435 Superintendent
On Friday, June 7th and Saturday, June 8th, the Board of Education and the USD 435 administrative team engaged in a strategic planning process with citizens of the Abilene area that represented a broad range of community stakeholders. Included were folks that represented the medical field, business owners, employees, accountants, veterinarians, engineers, bankers, teachers, county officials, city officials, retired folks, stay at home parents, grandparents, parents of preschool children, and many more. They came together to talk about children and education.
This group engaged in a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) process to begin to identify themes of progress and vision for our district. Conversations were rich and valuable and although the information is still being analyzed, the process was impressive. People were taking their roles seriously and were excited to talk about learning in Abilene Public Schools. They expressed numerous ideas, vision, and willingness to cooperate with the schools to benefit the children. It was quite evident that these people care about the futures of the children in this area.
Dr. Robert Marzano, highly regarded for extensive research on effective practices in education, continually explores the most current thinking on factors that increase student achievement. In his hierarchy of research findings, Marzano shares that parent and community involvement is the third most important factor in improving student achievement. He states that a greater percentage of students do well in school based on the extent to which parents and the community at large is both supportive of and involved in schools.
Involvement can include attending events like the strategic planning process or being a site council member, monitoring a dance, participating in parent teacher organizations, attending extra curricular events, being involved in district governance, attending parent teacher conferences, or employing students. Our schools belong to this community and they hold the heartbeat of the community everyday. Your involvement is a key factor in their success.
A sincere THANK YOU to the participants of the weekend’s events and everyone else who has been involved in the Abilene schools throughout this past year and previous years. I invite all of you to look for ways to become involved in “developing our most precious national resource: our children, our future citizens”, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
To learn more about the results of this process, as they become available, please sign up for my newsletter at abileneschools.org.