In transition, keep focus on students, ‘our hope for a better world’
Friday, December 9, 2016
We are in a time of transitions. Transitions in leadership nationally, transitions here at OSBA as I retire and hand the leadership over to Deputy Executive Director Jim Green. Transitions are great times to pause and examine where we are, where we are headed and the values and beliefs that drive our mission and actions. Some things are important to maintain through transitions, and those are at the core of who we are.
This is an excellent time for your local district to examine your role as leaders, your expression of values and beliefs, and how your role as a school board can continue to create a positive, safe learning environment for all students. OSBA has resources and policies to help you with cyberbullying, hazing, harassment and keeping all students safe. The current political discourse has created an opportunity for all of us to examine the policies and practices we have in place, and make sure they are sound and reliably implemented.
Charles Martinez, chairman of the Oregon State Board of Education, states, “We must ensure that all students and families feel safe and are welcomed in our schools. It is not a political act to support each other, to offer kind words, or to listen.” Oregon Superintendent of the Year, North Clackamas Superintendent Matt Utterback, noted in his remarks at the recent OSBA convention, “Our challenge is making this vision a reality for our students, especially our traditionally underserved student groups. Regardless of our political affiliations, each of us has an obligation to each other, to each student, family and staff member to ensure a sense of safety, respect and love. We must be committed to creating schools and work environments that are protected from discrimination.”
Our opening convention keynote speaker, Chad Hymas, spoke about influence, the influence we all have and the need to use it every day to create a more positive world. His message could not have been more on target for our time, and for our role as school board members. His message to board members reverberated with “Make a difference. Don’t wait for a bale of hay to land on your head!” And Pedro Noguera, our second keynote speaker, challenged us to take steps directly to impact children and close the achievement gap. If you weren’t able to see these keynote speakers, their full presentations are available online on the OSBA website here. Their presentations are powerful and timely; please take the time to view them and share them with board members who might not have been able to attend the convention.
As I transition from my role leading OSBA, I do so with the faith that you will use your position, your influence, to continue to carry on the mission of this association. Thank you for the support you have given me, and thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the students of Oregon. You will influence the future of each and every one of Oregon’s students to create a better America. Our students are not just our future, they are our hope for a better world.