Prepared Text for Board Meeting – May 19,  2008 (Slate)

Marc A. Schare  614 791-0646 Home

614 791-0067 Work -  614 791-1779 Fax

marc9@aol.com

 

 

Let me start by congratulating the Slate Hill team on a bulletproof written proposal. I’d like to share with board some personal interactions that I’ve had with this project. About 8 months ago, Principal Girard invited me to get involved with the Slate Hill Reform Effort. I cautioned him that if he was looking for the traditional “Hey, Nice Job!” then he probably picked the wrong guy. Sure enough, after the Slate Hill retreat in the beginning of the school year, I might have let the word “Disaster” slip out. Anyway, Dan, apparently a glutton for punishment went back and initiated a community engagement process that I think might serve as a model for how these renewal efforts should go. The first meeting was using the world café style that we’ve all participated in. From there, 4 research teams were put into motion. Some of the proposals were found to be utterly impractical. For instance, we can’t do year-round schooling unless every building participates. Once the team settled on a direction, more community meetings were scheduled. They brought in an IB coordinator from Bexley for more brainstorming, they came up with an initial proposal and bounced it off the community and a few weeks later, they invited the community in for a preliminary look at the presentation we saw this evening. To drive attendance to that presentation, they held banners out in front of the school. I think you have to be pretty passionate to have done that. The written proposal, all 66 pages of it, is very  impressive. Dan, apparently not having learned his lesson, invited me to review the proposal and make suggestions. 38 suggestions later, it was obvious to me that the IB team at Slate, which is pretty much the whole building, really did their homework. It was an honor and a privilege to have worked with them, even in a small way and I have no doubt that the International Baccalaureate program, if approved,  will be a great addition to Worthington.

 

That said, the program is not without cost, and two FTE’s is a huge cost. The Slate team has done a great job in justifying both FTE’s, however, proper justification does not solve the problem. Whatever wonderful things we do in this district must remain sustainable and affordable to the people that live here. I challenge the Slate team to see if there is any possible way of running the IB program with less than 2 additional FTE or if they have some other possible way of mitigating the cost. The proposal is very strong even at the cost but it would be easier to sell to all stakeholders in the district if we could do this at 1 or even 1.5 FTE’s.

 

There is one other issue which I have to highlight. While giving schools autonomy to define their futures is likely to inspire more of the creativity we have seen here this evening, our schools don’t exist in a vacuum. What will happen to the students of Slate Hill when they graduate? When fully phased in, they will have had 6 years of Spanish. Will they go to Worthingway and take Spanish One. How will they integrate with students from other elementary schools that have had different programs. In a way, it is a nice problem to have, and we have time to work on the issue, but we should at least start thinking about that now. Congratulations again to the Slate Hill team on a great proposal.