Welcome to The Board Blog! In our ongoing effort to provide a variety of opportunities for the Board of Education to engage the Thompson School District community, the directors will be “blogging” in this space on a rotating basis. As the new President of the Board, it is my pleasure to write the inaugural column.
January brings a fresh start to the year and for many, all sorts of resolutions to do better, to be more and to try harder. And by now, most of these well-intentioned promises to ourselves have fallen by the wayside. I am happy to say that such is not the case for us on the Board (as a whole; I can’t speak for our individual resolutions!)
Since the new Board was seated in December, we have collaborated in two separate half-day workshops to get to know one another and to uncover our values and goals when it comes to educating our students. I am encouraged by our open communication and the knowledge that each Board Member is motivated by a desire to improve the education that our schools provide for every single one of those students. Of course, we have differing ideas about the “hows” and the “whats.” But we are pretty solid on the “why.” This diversity of voices will lead us to make strong, well-reasoned decisions as we face some important issues in the next few months.
We are currently beginning contract negotiations with the Thompson Education Association, which involves hard work by both the Board and the teachers group and takes us into May. In February, the eagerly anticipated report from the Master Planning Committee will be presented, with recommendations for repairs, renovations or re-purposing of existing buildings. At the same time, the 2016-2017 budget development process gets under way, with little hope for increased funding from the State of Colorado. These three puzzle pieces will need to mesh seamlessly if we are to continue to move the District forward.
So, where do we want Thompson School District to go and how will we know when we get there? As a result of our workshop discussions, the Board has so far identified six goal areas on which we will focus. In conjunction with Dr. Stan Scheer, the Board is also developing goals for the superintendent so that we all can continue to monitor the forward progress of TSD. As I write this, these goals are in development and will be fine-tuned and adopted by the Board at an upcoming meeting.
Which brings me back around to the reason we are initiating this blog: There is a lot going on at the policy level in TSD. If you’ve never attended a Board meeting, or written or spoken to a Board Member, this is a great time to start. If you’ve been keeping up with the Board over the past few years, please continue and know that this year is a new year.
Lori Hvizda Ward
Thompson School District Board of Education