Straight Talk by Baker Kurrus, December 11, 2015

Change.  Education is the business of change. 

I have gotten a lot of email recently about block schedules.  I have been implored to not change the schedule at two of our high schools.  I have not proposed a change in the class schedules.  I have said as early as last May that we must change a number of things about our school district, and that we must ultimately align our operations, and the costs of our operations, with the model that is used by the state to fund school districts generally.  I have made this statement in a variety of contexts, and with respect to many of the things that LRSD does.  With respect to scheduling, the state has a number of statutes that impact a school schedule.   One statute says that school districts must provide teachers a minimum of 200 minutes of time each week to schedule time for conferences, instructional planning and preparation.  This seems to me to be the bare minimum, but that is what the law requires.  LRSD affords its high school teachers 450 minutes a week in some schools, and 510 minutes a week in others.  This is expensive and probably not sustainable.  This has been and will continue to be a topic of conversation with our teachers and their representatives.   I have discussed this with school principals and district administrators.  There are many ways to deal with this, and we are exploring all of them. LREA took a poll recently which dealt with the subject.  This was helpful. 

At this time, there is no plan to alter the fundamental class schedule at any of our high schools.  Again, I have not proposed a change in the class schedule.  We are going to need to consider major changes in the way we work within the framework of the schedule.  If that effort fails, then we will consider other things. 

Organizational change is difficult.   Most agree that our district must change, but many do not want to see any change in the part of the district in which they are involved.

We are confronted with great opportunity, and we have tremendous potential.  We must change if we are to grasp the opportunity, and we must change if we expect to see a change.

I am going to be a better communicator.  I am going to be more collaborative.  I am going to be more patient, without compromising the things that cannot be compromised.  I am going to be the most positive, creative and enthusiastic advocate for our students you have ever encountered. 

Change?  Please consider making your list.  Send it along to me if you get a chance.   

On a related but slightly different note, please enjoy the picture I took at Meadowcliff.  Devonte read a whole bunch of books over the Thanksgiving break.  His teacher, Ms. Mills, treated him to a special lunch.   They are working together well, and it is paying dividends. 

Change.  We can do this if we work together.


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