Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dryden School District

Dryden Central School District invited community members to a strategic planning meeting last Saturday to respond to the following questions:

  • What are the most important factors to be considered when the Dryden School System makes decisions?

  • What are the major strengths of the school system?

  • What are the major limitations or weaknesses of the school system?

  • What challenges will the school system face over the next two to five years?

  • What are some things the school system will need to do differently in order to help students and graduates thrive in the 21st Century?

About fifty people were there. Superintendent, Dr Crawford, estimated that about 40% of the people there were faculty or staff. I was happy to see Dryden Village Trustee, Mary Ellen Bossack, who is also a teacher at Dryden Elementary School and Dryden Town Councilperson Dan Tier, who has kids in Dryden High School and former Tompkins County legislator Mike Lane.

The "Future Search" technique used by facilitator, Chet (whose last name I can't spell and can't find in print) involved rotating groups of five people asking and answering the questions so that each person asked one of the five questions five times and each person answered each of the five questions once. Trust me on this. I know it's hard to visualize, but it's not that important. Answers were summarized and categorized as highly representative, somewhat representative or unique.

I doubt anyone's very surprised by the answers. People are proud of the skill and dedication of the teachers and administration and the support of parents and the community. People are worried about curriculum and taxes. Specific results will be available soon from the district office.

I was happy to have a chance to reconnect with the district. My kid graduated in 2000 and I've been out of touch since then. I was surprised, as I always am, at how nice the building is. Information on bulletin boards reveals concerns of students and faculty. The student artwork in the cafeteria, where the meeting was held, is spectacular.


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