Because it's about excellence for every child, every day! | The Chalkboard Project

Because it's about excellence for every child, every day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kim has worked in the Lebanon Community School District since 1995. She is the Spanish - College Now Teacher at Lebanon High School and wears several hats in the administrative realm as well. She lives in Lebanon with her two youngest children. Her oldest daughters and their families (including two grand babies) live nearby as well. Kim was Vice President of the local Association for four years followed by eight years in the presidency. At the end of her tenure in the Association she helped to write the initial CLASS grant with the Chalkboard Project that has shaped the work of the school district ever since.

Education in the 21st Century requires a new set of skills, but not just for students. Teachers, education support professionals and administrators face daily a myriad of hurdles that slow or deter students from achieving at the highest levels. Mobility, socio-economic status, historically ineffective instructional strategies, the disintegration of family and solid home life, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence and apathy can destroy the academic chances of children from as early as one year of age. So how do we cope? What can we do to combat these invisible enemies?

It starts with a simple belief, "All students CAN learn." That belief must be supported by a personal (and yet shared) commitment—“I, personally, will do everything I can to make sure that I provide excellence for every child with whom, I come in contact.”

In 2009 the Lebanon Community School District was at a crossroads with a system in need of recovery and overhaul, and a new superintendent who held to this belief and this commitment. After a multi-week community visioning process that involved over 1500 members of the community, there was a unity from within and without the school district. Our vision was clear, and that allowed us to embark on an amazing adventure with Chalkboard through the CLASS Project. From the beginning it was a collaborative effort with the initial grant being written by the local Association President and Vice President, along with the new, incoming Superintendent. The initial design team had 26 members with a two to one ratio of teachers to administrators. There were representatives from each level, each building and each primary certified instructional area (special education, electives, core classes, etc.). The conversations were deep, meaningful and changed the face of how business was done every day, and in every area of the work. We recognize what the data shows, asking teachers to do "more" work is not possible. They are already working beyond the scope of a traditional model. Teachers and administrators need to learn how to do what they do "differently" in order to make effective instructional and academic change. And that cannot be done without leadership, coordination, and clarity.

Since the inception, the Superintendent was committed to changing HOW things were done, not just by adding programs or committees to existing work. General fund dollars, Special Education funds and Title II funds were utilized differently, and professional development was altered at a fundamental level to ensure that it aligned with the work.  TIF/CLASS leadership is also a part of the district leadership and active in the implementation of everything that impacts students. Together decisions are made, together the work is designed, together the work is implemented, because we know that only together can we have the kind of cohesive impact that will truly allow us to meet our vision of “Excellence for Every Child, Every Day!”

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