3 Questions on Jeffco Generations

On October 11, 2017 and to coincide with my 100th day as Superintendent of Jeffco Public Schools, we released a document called Jeffco Generations: A Learning-Centered Vision for our Community’s Schools. Since then, we’ve also added translated versions of the document, as well as support materials including a 4-page summary brochure and a poster of the Generations skills.

Generations was released as an idea and conversation starter, with the intent that our schools and community engage with the document and vet the ideas presented. Over this next month, we’ll be taking the time to gather feedback and hear from a variety of community groups.

In early December, the Board of Education will meet to consider creating a new strategic plan and accompanying measurable goals.

One way I hope to gather feedback and encourage conversation is through this blog. Please let me know your thoughts on the document through responding to one, two, or all three of the following questions.

  1. What did you like (and why)?
  2. What is missing (and why should it be included)?
  3. What questions remain?

I will be monitoring this posting and will work to respond to comments as I am able. To be sure, I will read and make note of every single one to make them part of our conversation with the Board as we move toward a new strategic plan.

So, jump in Jeffco! Let me know what you think, and please encourage others to jump in as well!

 

8 thoughts on “3 Questions on Jeffco Generations

  1. Thank you for providing the opportunity to continue this conversation.
    What did you like (and why)? I liked that you honored the 2020 Vision and corresponding work in this document and proposed vision. The addition of the 2 other skills I think bring cohesion to the group and make a solid foundation on which to build. Outlining the 3 circles and their explanations really helped to clarify how you would like to see Jeffco move forward.
    What is missing (and why should it be included)? I don’t know that anything is missing, at this stage of the game. I trust that as feedback comes in and the community provides input, that we will create a clear focus for the work to come. I still am looking for some details to be defined and wonder what all of this means from a curriculum view.
    What questions remain? As someone who worked on the 2020 documents and guiding principles, I do have questions about what needs to be provided for the newest additions and updated skills. In our cycle of feedback, several questions were raised around assessment – how will these skills be assessed, do they need to be assessed, etc.?
    I am excited to hear conversations in schools that have resulted from the release of this document and your ask to create authentic learning and tasks. Thank you for continuing to elevate a way to provide input and feedback – love the civic engagement (from a social studies perspective, this is great!)

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    1. Thanks much, Sarah! The 2020 Vision was the starting point for this work. When we held Tony Wagner’s “7 Survivial Skills for the 21st Century” up against the 2020 Vision Competencies, we identified the “Agility and Adaptability” and “Collaboration & Leading by Influence” as two missing pieces. Thanks again for YOUR engagement – and yes, we have much to do in terms of fleshing this out with all the detail we really need to make it a reality. But, the first step is validating that this is indeed the right work!

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  2. Thank you for the opportunity to engage.I have great respect for every Jeffco educator and administrator. I am impressed with the honest reckoning of what we face in such a widespread district. I believe we will make improvements and am staying informed to see how I can be a part of the solutions.
    The objective/mechanism that resonates as the most authentic to me is schools as communities to support children and families holistically. I would like to know more specifically about how this will be accomplished. I would also suggest that it is more or less relevant relative to school demographics. As a parent in a corridor which could benefit from this approach (Patterson International, Alameda HS)—Do you intend to Target this type of approach based on evidence of need—so that limited resources are infused deeply rather than spread widely?
    Also, I think a key single issue in the way of family-school-community model is the framework of how school hours do not intersect/overlap with working daily schedules. It is a complex thing and I respect that school hours are determined for a wide range of factors. But, I can never engage at our school (elementary) because things don’t occur after 6 pm. Most occur 3-4 pm or 5 most the latest. I can’t imagine figuring it out! But I think it stands in the way of a community model if hours don’t reflect family schedules.
    Finally, I would like to see an explicit Generational Skill of Tolerance or Interculturalism. There are plenty of schools where a diverse student body sets the stage for practicing these skills (very diverse in tens of race/ethnicity, at least, although typically with lower SES diversity) —but will those students be coached and guided or will this primarily come up when conflict arises? And, there are plenty of schools with far less student diversity (homogeneous racially/ethnically and SES terms) where students might not face the societal diversity until they emerge as young adults—and they might benefit from at least some attempt at the skill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks much, Peace. Look for more detail once we get these ideas with the public and start working toward a more specific strategic plan. We might work your tolerance idea into the Civic and Global Engagement skill. We certainly have so,e work to do on that front!

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  3. Thank you, Dr. Glass, for this great summary of the underpinnings for the direction your are setting for Jeffco schools.

    What I like and why?
    I like the Generations skills. I even like how the graphic is a tree with each skills area a branch feeding the whole tree. It’s a powerful graphic promoting growth and a growth mindset.

    What’s missing?
    While it may be included in CIVIC & GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT, I think highlighting tolerance, understanding, and valuing of our multiculturalism is critical. As a district, a state, and a nation, we are becoming more multicultural and to be effective with our civic and global engagement, we need an appreciation for the strengths in multiculturalism. It sets us apart from the world, this great American experiment, yet we often see it as a set of problems rather than a set of opportunities and strengths.

    In AGILITY & ADAPTABILITY and SELF-DIRECTION & RESPONSIBILITY, and perhaps other branches, too, I internalize the promotion of self-awareness and growth mindset. I hope so.

    What questions remain?
    The hard questions remain…
    * How do we get adults to agree to put adequate resources to honoring and supporting this direction?
    Resources: Money, time, expertise, materials and equipment
    * How do we get adults to embrace that resources need to be distributed equitably?
    * How we get adults to set aside politics to embrace coming to agreement about what’s best for our kids as a whole, based on evidence not ideology? Ultimately, what’s best for our kids is also best for communities in the long run.
    * How do we get adults to model the Generations Skills?

    Many thanks for setting up this and other forums to engage the community at large!

    Christine Leahy
    professional informal educator and parent to a freshman, a 7th grader, and a 4th grader

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    1. Thanks much, Christine! I deeply appreciate this thoughtful review. It is clear you’ve taken the time to reflect on this effort. I will give your questions some thought myself, and consider how we can bring some of this forward as the work continues to evolve.

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  4. I appreciate the description of Loose/Tight Leadership and the recognition that individual schools have different needs/challenges and support systems. I like that the district will allow schools to directly lead in ways that serve their families, but that schools will still need to align themselves with the district’s Generation Skills concept (which is thankfully very broad and should be easy for any school to do). Allowing and empowering schools to be the educational/community focal point of their neighborhood is a great way to set them up to champion learning in the ways that work best for their students/families.

    While this is a great visionary document, I don’t see much detail on how this will execute. For example, how will you actually help students who are struggling educationally, socially and/or emotionally? We need to recognize that the waiting lists for occupational therapy and other on-going behavioral services for children in our community are as long as an entire school year — that’s a long time to wait when the rate of learning is so high in the early elementary years. How do schools fill the gap to establish the “environment for learning” for all children when the Jeffco region as a whole does not have enough professionals to support the social/emotional/behavioral needs of struggling children?

    I’d like to see a detailed plan for how are our schools being equipped to really help these kids. This is already a big challenge and it seems to only be getting bigger. How do we help the little kids now so that they are well-adjusted and able to manage their moods/behaviors/learning differences by the time they hit their high school years? Seems like the earlier, the better!

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    1. Hi Kelly – thanks much for engaging. We are currently vetting the Generations document to determine if it is the right “fit” for the community, or if there are things that need to be added, removed, or clarified. From there, we hope to create a more detailed and comprehensive strategic plan, which will include action steps, accountability procedures, and performance metrics. The current document under consideration is a vision – the real tests will come in how and if we can successfully implement it and if it has the effect we intend.

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