Board Chair Reflects on ‘Community’ in Opening Remarks

A diverse group of coworkers puts their hands together

The Leadership Team has selected the term community as the value they are focusing on in the month of October. My remarks today will hopefully be compatible with the thinking and deliberation of members of the Leadership Team.

So, let us ask ourselves, what is meant by community? We use this term frequently and loosely. Its meaning can be confusing and even distorted. A few examples of communities include the business, scientific, academic, senior citizen, blue/white/no collar, and educational communities.

The list of community groups is infinite. Oftentimes, the term community is connected to a specific location, like a condominium association. Other times, it is related to an age group, such as senior centers. The term community is frequently attached to a particular career or profession. As with the types and kinds of communities, there are endless connections that build a community.

It seems to me that in almost all cases, the term community can be reflected in part with the elements that people within it share: identity, interests, beliefs, and attitudes. Furthermore, there usually is a sense of shared mission and goals, as well as a feeling of solidarity.

The next questions I would like us to consider are: Why does it matter? And why is it important to understand the power of community?

Communities that have the shared traits of identity, values, beliefs, attitudes, mission, goals, and togetherness can be a powerful force in creating social change. It is social change that enables that creation of change in the world.

Capital Region ESD 113 is clearly an educational community. As an educational community, we have worked to develop a shared value and belief system, as well as our shared mission and goals.

In so doing, our identity and solidarity has become increasingly stronger. Our programs and services are to a large extent reflected in our mission and goals. This has created a space for our ESD to be a strong instrument for social change within our five-county region and in the 44 school districts we serve. In turn, this social change has also enabled change beyond our borders.

We commend our entire ESD staff and school district staff in our region for their efforts and successes in the progress achieved attaining our goals to close gaps, grow our people, influence change, and eradicate racism. Our ESD community is strong and has brought about significant social changes.