Email to Staff – October 12, 2018
Good afternoon everyone,
Last Friday I wrote of behaviors and attitudes that I won’t tolerate and more importantly as a school district, we will not tolerate organizationally. Every action, behavior and attitude is a reflection of the organization. Not only are they a reflection of the organization, they are a reflection of the individuals that make up the organization. They are a reflection of collective leadership and ultimately of me. I refuse to have that reflection thrust on this organization or me.
During the convocation I shared how I grew up as a stutterer with an I.E.P. I also shared how I got in trouble in fourth grade because of my reaction to a horrible statement made to me by my teacher. How that reaction began a vicious cycle of mistreatment and misunderstanding from the adults in the building. I joked that that year was the year I learned how to run a school and be a principal. The reality is that year I also found an advocate for me that ultimately taught me to be a leader and advocate. That person was the school secretary, Mrs. Barrett.
I often wonder what I would’ve become if it wasn’t for her seeing something in me. Believing in me. Loving on me. Would I be here writing you today? Would I be in a position to influence adults and change the lives of children? Would I be? No I wouldn’t be. But she saw something in me, believed in me and made me believe in me.
Then it hits me like a hurricane ravaging of a remote island. I am here and I believe. I believe as Mrs. Barrett believed. I believe that as an individual I can make a difference! I can make that difference by messaging and modeling expected behavior. That as Superintendent, who happens to be a flatlander, white plater and someone told me hippie, that I can make a difference in Rutland. I can make a difference for the state of Vermont.
In order to make a difference and accomplish my goals and fulfill the dreams I have for RCPS, I have to be loud and proud in delivering the message and modeling the behavior. I have to walk the walk after talking the talk. I have to be clear and consistent in the message. That’s exactly what I’ve always done and I will continue to do. But I have to know that I don’t talk and/or walk alone. So here are what my goals and dreams are for RCPS.
I expect Rutland City Public Schools to be recognized as a world class education system that achieves tremendous outcomes for every member of our family. That RCPS is recognized as the Harvard, MIT, Stanford or Cambridge University of K-12 education. That schools, districts and educators from around the world will travel to Rutland, VT to find out how to equitably teach every student, every day. That members of this family will receive accolades from around the globe. Organizations will call upon us not just to teach teachers but to train bus drivers, teach others to deep clean and maintain world class facilities. They will come to learn how to provide 1:1 support for students or provide intervention and support. They will come learn how to go from being good teachers to great teachers, from good organizations to great organizations by witnessing the amazing work that happens (RCPS) here for every student, every day!
Now imagine what that looks and feels like. Imagine the struggles along the way. Imagine the mistakes that will be made. Imagine the failure that will be encountered. Imagine the blood sweat and tears that will be shed. Imagine all the hard work that will be done by individuals, groups and as an organization. Imagine all the positive press that will come for Rutland.
Will it be easy? I hope not. I hope that it takes a tremendous amount of my energy, time, blood, sweat and tears. I hope I make mistakes along the way. I hope I fail often but always fail forward!
But I can’t do it alone! I need a unified team that dreams big, talks quietly and delivers a powerful service to our community. I need all of you!!!
What I need from all of you to make the goals and dreams come true is patience and reflection. I need all of you to be patient with all our children and each other. I need you to reflect on why you became educators. I need you to develop deep relationships with our children. I need you to get to know them as well as you can because children learn better when they feel you care about them. When you have a relationship with them. I need you to deepen the relationships you have with each other. The deeper the relationship the more you can expect the best from every one and hold each other accountable.
(Here’s a brief video about how out of a challenge one recognizes and changes the world for seeing something in a child by helping that child see and believe a different story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p5286T_kn0.)
Have a nice weekend.