During her presentation, Caroline posed questions that she asked the group to reflect on. Many of these questions are similar to ones we in OCSU have been addressing, but her questions took things to a new level. For example, for the last few years we have been encouraging schools to “tell your story”. Essentially this means getting the word out about all the amazing things that are happening in our schools. Caroline asked, “What stories are we telling that make us more welcoming to some than others?” Perhaps we can all be a bit more intentional when telling our stories so that we are not inadvertently being more welcoming to some than others.
During the last couple of years, our boards have been doing a careful review of policies, and making revisions as needed. In her address Caroline asked, “If the experts are students, how do we build the bridges and relationships with policy-makers?” This made me wonder if we are reviewing policies with equity in mind. Are we keeping our focus on all students?
Caroline spoke a great deal about the difference between being independent and being interdependent. She suggested that when we become interdependent we become family, and as long as we continue to strive to be independent there are problems that we won’t be able to overcome. “What if our schools were designed to value getting together as much as they value getting ahead?”, she asked.
Fulfilling the OCSU vision, “All of our students will have choices for success throughout their lives”, depends on our willingness to become interdependent. It depends on our willingness to understand each other. It may mean redefining community and changing our mindset from “me” to “we”. As we watch events unfold in our state, in our country, and in our world this idea is more important than ever. I encourage all of you to reflect on the ideas posed by Caroline and where we stand as a community in regards to those ideas.