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Let the Compass be our Guide

November 9, 2017

Over the last few weeks, I have talked to numerous school and community groups about the needs of the district and community as related to the CARES Recreation Millage and the Sinking Fund Millage that appeared on the November 7th ballot. (Thank you, voters, for your support!) These conversations gave me the opportunity to engage with voters across a broad cross-section of individuals throughout the Saline Area Schools District.  After we discussed the campaign related to the millages, the conversation often turned to the direction of the District.

First, it was essential for me to inform citizens about the “Compass” learner profile – focusing on the eight student attributes that we want all students to embody as they graduate from Saline High School: Positive Communicator, Digitally/Financially Literate, Globally Connected, Creative Innovator, Motivated/Self-Directed, Complex Thinker/Problem Solver, Collaborative Leader, and Ethical and Responsible Citizen.  Most of the listeners quickly agreed with that focus.  However, there was often an awkward pause as they thought about how we measure those attributes. This query provided me with the opportunity to talk about various instructional models – different ways of delivering content through blended and personalized learning methods, project-based learning, service learning experiences, and competency-based approaches.  As I talked about these models – I was reminded how far we traveled from traditional paper/pencil types of assessments.  I was also struck by how far we still have to go to feel as though we are genuinely embracing and embedding the SAS Compass every day in all of our classrooms.

My focus has shifted from visionary in scope to the more strategic work of supporting the talented Saline Area Schools staff as they redesign instruction and re-think what “success” means for the students.  It’s exciting to see the progress we have made. The support from families, community members, alumni, and staff to do the work needed to provide our students with an exceptional learning experience is overwhelmingly positive and appreciated.


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