About this site

I was a Governing Board Member of the San Carlos School District, elected November 2007 and again in November 2011. This site was originally used for the purpose of communicating with school district constituents, however now it is used for surfacing ideas and expressing opinions on various subjects in education, politics, business, or otherwise.

Please note that any opinion express here is purely personal and does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of anyone else or any organization with which I am, or have been, associated.

I will not accept anonymous comments, and all persons who post comments must have a valid e-mail address. Note that I reserve the right to edit, reject, or delete posts based on spelling, grammar, readability, or my judgment of what is appropriate discourse.

 

June 2013
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The Most Strategic of Plans

In my six years on the school board in San Carlos we have done some exciting things, but I think all of it pales in comparison to the vision and ideas outlined in our new Strategic Plan which was adopted by the Board last night. Even though this is all “easier said than done,” most public school districts have never even ventured to write down many of these goals, so this is a huge step.

This plan is written in the context of truly re-thinking how public education should be structured in the 21st Century, meaning that we are no longer constrained by 19th Century limitations on the who, what, where, when, and how we educate our children. Although this is not just about technology, clearly technology developments have been the catalyst to allow us to think how we can break down the “walls” – both literal and figurative — in the learning process. In doing so, we can create a richer, more personalized, and more relevant learning experience for all students. Some of the highlights of this “wall-breaking” include:

  • Emphasizing the Whole Child, focusing on the 5Cs (Critical Thinking & Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration, Citizenship, and Creativity & Innovation), and embodying design and innovation thinking in the curriculum
  • Developing a project-based, technology-infused approach to teaching and learning, featuring real-world, meaningful design challenges, including a deep appreciation for and exploration of the creative expression found within the arts
  • Bringing together a team of educators, broadly defined, from the community and across the globe, to be part of our educational “team”
  • Challenge the traditional “sorting” mechanism of students (age, grade level, etc.)
  • Extending and redefining the school day, leveraging the exploding opportunities afforded by blended learning, and redefining the notion of the “classroom” and “school”

Although fulfillment of these goals will take many years, we will start to see its practical implementation particularly as we build our two new 4th-5th grade schools. We have already seen facility designs that incorporate greater use of “learning commons” spaces, flexible walls among “learning suites,” and of course a technological infrastructure to support all of it. Also, our new curriculum design team is charged with determining how we implement many of the ideas contained in the strategic plan, including the greater emphasis on project-based and design learning, blended learning, use of community and global resources, and management of our human resources. On that last point, our new agreement with SCTA contains a goal to develop a new teacher evaluation system (which I predict may have very similar features to the recent system adopted by the San Jose Unified School District).

This Strategic Plan was the result of almost two years of work among district office staff, teachers, other staff members, parents, and board members through dozens of meetings and lots of input in many forms. Although in any process like this there are certain to be varying perspectives, it was amazing to me how aligned almost all constituents were — teachers, parents, principals, board members, etc. San Carlos is clearly ready for this and excited for it! I wish to thank all of the people who were involved in all of these discussions, the open minds, and the “out of the box” thinking we got from so many people.

Of course now the hard work begins. Certainly we’ll run into issues, there will be disagreements along the way, and many goals may take longer to achieve than we would like. But it’s hard to overemphasize how big of a deal this is, and I’m excited for the future of this district and its students!

Read the plan here: http://rosenblatt.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2013-2018-SCSD-Strategic-Plan.pdf

1 comment to The Most Strategic of Plans

  • Seth

    I would like to remind readers of the policy outlined to the left — I will not accept anonymous comments, and all persons who post comments must have a valid e-mail address. I am happy to have folks comment with opinions that disagree with mine, but you must identify yourself. A one-way anonymous discussion is hardly a productive one.