Contributed by Dr. Al Cohen, Chair of the Capital Region ESD 113 Board of Directors at the July 14, 2021 board meeting.
Today, my opening remarks revolve around our goal of influencing change.
Much has been written about change including a number of rather whimsical sayings. Perhaps you’ve heard or even used one or more of these clever observations.
- The only one that likes changes is a baby with a wet diaper.
- Change is like spaghetti, it gets all tangled up, but it tastes so good.
- “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy
As you probably noted, the first saying is somewhat skeptical about change and the second saying implies a positive acceptance and the JFK quote can be looked upon as rather strategic.
As a Board, one of our primary functions is to work in partnership with our administration in seeking out the needs of our students, families, school districts, and staff and then provide the support that addresses the identified needs.
I think most will agree that due to the COVID 19 pandemic we have been forced into examining our practices. A few examples that illustrate some of the changes made and changes that likely will be made:
- Striving for a safe and healthy environment
- Providing for professional development needs and delivering methods
- Utilizing in-person/virtual/hybrid instruction/learning
- Scheduling the school calendar (school day, school week, school vacations)
- Utilizing multiple avenues of communicating with students/families/staff and school districts
- Developing learning recovery programs and strategies
- Providing for alternative educational models
- Working to support student and family, mental, social, and emotional health
- Utilizing technological opportunities and resources to support student learning
The list of potential changes can go on and on. As an ESD Board, our responsibility is to provide a governance structure that supports the ESD’s mission, vision, and goals, as well as providing a welcoming environment that facilitates the administration’s development and implementation of the changes.
So, let us take this opportunity to think strategically and embrace change. You might even think of it as the spaghetti that gets tangled up. It tastes so good!