There has “Got to be a Pony in Here Somewhere”…
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “choice”? For many, it creates a negative reaction resulting from the divisiveness that the school choice narrative has created in Indiana. However, I believe in “choice”.
Over the recent Thanksgiving holiday, I accepted my own challenge to truly reflect on what I am thankful for. And, the list was very lengthy. It included many items which you might expect: my health, my wife, my son and his family, my community, the opportunities I am provided to make a difference each day, and many others. One item on my list that may surprise you, however, was “choice”
Each and every day, we get to choose our attitude. We get to choose how we will handle situations. We get to choose how we will handle others. We get to choose how we will make a difference in the lives of those whom we serve.
It is through those choices that I am reminded how amazing it is to be a Superintendent. And, at the 2017 Annual Meeting, I was inspired by an amazing group of women and men whom I am proud to call my colleagues. For the members of IAPSS who chose to attend, it was a great conference. I would like to thank Dr. Coopman for the excellent summary and highlights of our Annual Meeting in his message this month.
Further, I could not have been more proud of our profession during the first week of December as over 80 individuals spoke to the State Board of Education and sent well over 300 emails about the Graduation Pathways Panel recommendations. The unification of Superintendents across Indiana with principals, board members, parents, counselors, and other stakeholder groups was powerful. And, each speaker chose a message that was respectful, thoughtful, and focused on what is best for our scholars. I have not been witness to so many educators from across the state sharing the same message on a single topic. Well done!!
Despite the many messages calling for a pause in the approval process, the State Board of Education voted in favor of the Graduation Pathways. I learned through this process that the SBOE does not operate in the same way that our locally elected Board of Education does. When we bring a proposal to our Board, we are required to have the details worked out and a plan for any fiscal impact it may cause. The State Board, on the other hand, approves a concept and then works on the details through the rulemaking process.
However, the Board has spoken. And as such, we are choosing to look forward. We will continue to focus on what is best for Indiana’s children, our scholars, our schools, and our community. To that end, we have assembled a group of Superintendent’s from across Indiana who will be working as an advisory team with the SBOE starting in January to assist in this process.
The work on graduation pathways has been a great opportunity to strengthen how the members of IAPSS work together to take down the walls that have been built to quiet our collective voice. Through this collaboration, we become stronger and our IAPSS membership is more impactful. I am thankful for the leadership that our members are providing across Indiana. And, always remember, there has “Got to be a Pony in Here Somewhere”.
Jeffrey K. Butts, Ph.D.
M.S.D. of Wayne Township Superintendent
2017-18 IAPSS President
P.S. – If you missed the pony reference, Google it!