In our current education environment, doing more with less is more or less the norm. School districts are being pulled in many different directions and forced to spread already thin resources even thinner. On any given day, your list of responsibilities must be daunting:
- Hiring and managing teachers
- Transporting students to and from school
- Feeding students
- Ensuring a rigorous curriculum
- Enforcing school safety
Does community engagement show up on your list? Probably not, simply because you already have your hands full. But community engagement underpins everything we do. Failing to explain the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead — and taking the time to solicit community feedback — makes meeting your other obligations more difficult.
I encourage you as district leaders to welcome and focus on engagement. It will not only make your lives easier but will truly enrich the educational experience of the children and communities you serve. Your stakeholders are eager to understand your critical issues and be active participants in your improvement process. Just pave the way, and show them how.
Rather than peripheral, true engagement requires thoughtful attention and focus to be authentic and genuine.
Don’t wait until it’s too late.