Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Talmadge Middle School assistant prinicpal Kristina Wonderly and Monmouth Mayor John Oberst visit Adrienne Gault's seventh grade language arts class Oct. 24 in the first of four "superintendent walthroughs" scheduled this fall. Each walkthrough is open to the public and is intended to give a glimpse into the inner workings of each school in the Central School District.
October 29, 2013
MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- Central School District has opened its doors for community members to get a firsthand look at the state of its five schools.
In what superintendent Buzz Brazeau has labeled "superintendent walkthroughs," Monmouth and Independence residents visit classrooms and grade what they see.
It's an approach not previously seen in the Central School District and something Brazeau hopes will get the community at large more heavily invested in the district.
Borrowing the program from his time with the Hermiston School District, Brazeau started mulling the idea over the summer when Central was putting together the new performance initiative -- Intervention Based Accelerated Student Performance (I-BAS) -- aimed at bringing up test scores, graduation rates and a whole plethora of issues.
"The goal is to provide our schools and teachers an opportunity to open our practice to a variety of stakeholders in our community," Brazeau said.
Brazeau and other district administrators have taken the stakeholder term as a sort of mantra this school year.
Their goal, as with other districts, is to bring a sense of ownership to community members where student success and achievement is involved.
Brazeau is looking at the walkthroughs to be the catalyst for that involvement.
"The stakeholders that make up the groups are educators, folks who serve on our board and members of our community," Brazeau said. "Those members represent a cross section of the community."
Monmouth mayor John Oberst, Polk County Fire District No. 1 board member Terri Gregory and Independence city councilor Marilyn Morton took part in the first walkthrough Thursday at Talmadge Middle School.
The three community members, three school board members and district administrators were split into three groups to tour five classrooms.
For Morton, it's been a while since she's had direct involvement in the school system like this.
"There's nothing that tells the truth like transparency," Morton said. "I don't have kids in school anymore and I don't have the time to volunteer in a classroom, so I appreciate the opportunity to be able to do the walkthrough."
After the tour, the groups meet to dissect and discuss what they've seen and offer words of encouragement or criticism.
The resounding observation from the first walkthrough was the positive atmosphere in each classroom.
"I didn't see any kind of discipline going on at all. There was a mountain of evidence of self-motivation," Morton said. "Teachers were teaching with the intent of seeking out the kids' opinions. It's so different from 'memorize these dates.'"
For now, the district is holding four walkthroughs during the fall and spring.
The remaining dates for the fall are Wednesday (today) at Monmouth Elementary School, Nov. 6 at Ash Creek Elementary School, Nov. 8 at Independence Elementary School and Nov. 19 at Central High School.
The eventual goal is to have every classroom in every school visited.
"As we embed this as part of our culture, it would be nice if we could do one every quarter, but that's pushing things," Brazeau said. "I don't want to lose quality for quantity."
Tour de School
* Interested in taking part in a walkthrough? Call the district office at 503-606-2250; email to firstname.lastname@example.org