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Journey Toward Excellence
A Systemic Change Effort in the Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township
Indianapolis, Indiana
Facilitated by Indiana University


The MSD Decatur Township has initiated a district-wide "Journey toward Excellence."

The purpose of this journey is to transform their school system into one that is significantly better at:

  • Helping every child to reach his or her potential
  • Helping every teacher to be more effective and fulfilled in his or her attempts to foster learning
  • Helping every parent to play a more meaningful role in his or her child's education.
  • Helping every administrator to be more effective in facilitating all the above.

The values or principles that underlie this journey include:

  • As many stakeholders as possible should be involved. The stakeholders collectively should have ownership over both the change process and the changes that are decided upon. The change process should focus on student learning and development; all changes should be designed with that in mind. The change process is first and foremost a process of helping people to evolve and deepen their thinking about education-to help them evolve their mental models about education (Senge) and to thereby evolve the culture of their schools (Fullan).
  • The process should encourage all participants to think in the ideal, then develop a strategic plan for evolving as close as possible to that ideal.

Decatur has published and adopted a Framework of Beliefs which includes the Vision, Mission and Beliefs that will guide newly formed Design Teams as they go about the work of creating new schools that will be aligned with the Beliefs. (Acrobat Reader required to read all .pdf files).

2005-2006 school year: all schools were considering the results of a web survey. Feedback from the survey should help schools decide the kinds of activities that will become a first step towards achieving their vision of a better school.

2006-2007 school year: The Decatur Leadership Team has engaged in careful consideration of a revised protocol called the School System Transformation Protocol, or SST. This protocol details the steps required for moving from an Industrial Age paradigm to an Information Age paradigm. Decatur Township Schools have appointed an Assistant Superintendent of Reinvention, and are busy customizing the SST to the district's unique requirements. The 2007-2008 School year promises to be an exciting milestone in the Decatur Project!

2007-2008 school year: Decatur Township Schools will engage in a district-wide effort to engage in conversations about systemic transformation (through Professional Learning Communities) using materials to stimulate thinking. If you would like to join in the conversation, here is the list of reading selections and videos we will be using.

Fall 2007 Reading and video selections
This link will take you to reading selections that can be downloaded to your computer with Adobe Reader. All videos can be viewed using RealPlayer.
Did You Know?
This link will take you to a YouTube Movie ( 8:19 in length) that asks questions about the future.

©2007 by Charles Reigeluth
Last updated: August 23, 2007
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