October means that we are officially in the Fall season and the weather is beginning to change. For many of our districts, the end of the first quarter, parent/teacher conferences, and Fall Break all happen this month. With all that occurs during the month of October, I am again reminded that the Superintendent’s job is the greatest job in the world. It’s easy to let some of the daily “stuff” impact our mental health, however, don’t ever underestimate the importance of your role in your district and your community. In efforts to support you in that role, IAPSS has many services and opportunities available for you to leverage as a member.
As I write this month’s message, the 68th Annual ISBA/IAPSS Fall Conference is still in my mind. The two-day conference was packed with some excellent sessions presented by our colleagues and their Board of Education. Through these sessions, I was able to reinforce some of the great things we are already doing in my district, learn ways to improve my leadership, and discover proven strategies that will make my district more effective. I was honored during the opening session to present Dr. Wendy Robinson as the 2018 IAPSS Superintendent of the Year. Our keynote, Dr. Gene Glass presented great data points that I look forward to sharing with stakeholders in my community. At the Tuesday luncheon, those in attendance were treated to one of the best messages I heard over the two days from Dr. Mark Elgart, CEO of AdvanceED. Dr. Elgart’s message around data, evaluation, and leadership at both the Board of Education and Superintendent’s level was inspiring. However, the best part of each year’s conference is the networking that occurs with each other and with our own Board of Education during the two days we are in Indianapolis.
Ongoing is the work of IAPSS and our members actively participating in the State Board of Education’s Graduation Pathways Panel. The Panel will be releasing a draft pathways plan in October and stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide feedback. It will be critical for all IAPSS members to be engaged in assisting the panel before the draft is made final in November. It will also be important in December for the membership to provide comment to the State Board of Education before they consider adoption of the panel’s recommendation.
My challenge this month is to take time to pause long enough to observe and enjoy the changes that mother nature brings this time of year. It helps to remind us all that change can be beautiful and will continue to be an ongoing part of life. I hope it will also remind us that we have the 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.
Jeffrey K. Butts, Ph.D.
M.S.D. of Wayne Township Superintendent
2017-18 IAPSS President