It is hard to believe that we are already in the second month of 2018. As I challenged last month, I hope January was your best yet. With all that is occuring in our districts and across the nation, I have been reflecting on leadership, specifically my own leadership as a Superintendent. Whomever you are most apt to read: Maxwell, Robbins, Collins, Pink, etc., it is critical for us to be intentional about our own reflections. Another great option is through IAPSS professional development opportunities including EPIC, New Superintendent Seminars, District Meetings, and regular conferences. Please consider engaging in those opportunities during the 2018 calendar year.
February marks Black History Month, a tribute to African-American men and women who have made significant contributions to America. While Black History Month is synonymous with prominent figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and President Barack Obama, there are countless other African-Americans who’ve made a profound impact in history: self-made millionaire Madam C.J. Walker, world-renowned sculptor Edmonia Lewis, carbon filament light bulb inventor Lewis Howard Latimer, open-heart surgeon Daniel Hale Williams, science-fiction writer Octavia E. Butler, and “Father of Black History” Carter G. Woodson, who lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide celebration, among many others (A & E, 2018). We have a tremendous opportunity in our schoolhouses to educate our young scholars about the impact these leaders, and others, have had on America. However, let me challenge us all to make sure these lessons continue well beyond February.
I want to thank IAPSS professional development committee chairperson Laura Blessing for a great IAPSS WInter Seminar this past January 31. And,one of our largest Indiana contingents, 75 leaders strong, converges this month on Nashville, TN for the AASA Conference. We look forward to supporting Dr. Wendy Robinson, Indiana Superintendent of the Year and finalist for the AASA Superintendent of the Year as we learn who will be the AASA Superintendent of the Year. The AASA Conference is filled with powerful sessions designed to improve our leadership and great opportunities to network with other school leaders.
Executive Director, J.T. Coopman has assembled a great group of IAPSS Members to participate in ongoing work regarding the details of the Graduation Pathways passed by the SBOE in December. These Superintendents include Jeff Butts from Wayne Twp, Dave Chapman from South Vermillion, John Hunter from Union Twp., Mark Eastridge from South Harrison, Phil Downs from SW Allen Co., Rocky Killion from West Lafayette, Stacey Humbaugh from South Gibson, Stacey Schmidt from Porter Twp., Todd Terrill from Richmond, Tracy Lorey from Jasper, and Wendy Robinson from Fort Wayne. Members from this group met with over 70 practitioners representing nearly every level and configuration of education in Indiana recently to provide our voice and share our perspectives. The first collaborative meeting focused primarily on Locally Created Pathways. While we did not complete this task, we were able to provide great feedback to the SBOE staff. In addition, the SBOE staff has been working on keeping an updated FAQ for Graduation Pathways. Please share this document with your stakeholders.
And, as you are aware, an Accountability Rule was proposed at the SBOE’s January meeting. This proposal has the potential to significantly impact your schools and your district if adopted in its current form. Each month, prior to each SBOE meeting, you will receive an email with some proposed areas in which you can share talking points with your network. Our targeted stakeholders include associations, superintendents, principals, counselors, teachers and PTO/Booster/Parent groups. Our target audiences that we want to share concern with include the State Board of Ed Members (individually), Senate & House Chairs & Subchairs, Senate & House Education Committees, and your local legislators. I appreciate, in advance, your local work to make sure we properly communicate our concerns with the targeted audience as we continue to advocate for the children in our classrooms and the teachers who are educating them.
Thank you for all you do!! The Superintendent’s job is the greatest job ever!
Jeffrey K. Butts, Ph.D.
M.S.D. of Wayne Township Superintendent
2017-18 IAPSS President