Indiana University facilitators, Charles
Reigeluth and Roberto
Joseph, began working with the Decatur Township on a volunteer
basis in January 2001. A "Core Team" was formed in February
2001, by Superintendent Don Stinson with the help of the facilitators.
The members of the Core Team included:
Core Team met almost weekly to build a foundation for this unique
kind of change process.
From March to May 2001, the Core Team worked on identifying core
ideas and values that should guide the process of improving the
Decatur Township Schools' ability to meet all children's needs.
Those ideas and values place heavy emphasis on all stakeholders
(parents, teachers, students, staff, administrators, employers,
and other community members) reaching consensus on the changes that
will benefit our children.
Core Team was formed as a kind of "starter team" to help
get all stakeholders involved in this Journey toward Excellence
and to help them figure out together how to better meet our children's
needs. In January of 2003, the Core Team expanded to include a much
broader cross-section of all members of our community, and that
expanded team is working with all stakeholders to design better
learning experiences for all our children.
the first step to getting all stakeholders involved in this Journey
toward Excellence, the Core Team held six widely publicized meetings
to which all community members were invited. The purpose of those
meetings, which took place in January and February 2002,
was to start to identify the educational needs of the Decatur students
and community and how they have changed over the past generation
or two. The Core Team then solicited public input about the results
of those meetings, which were reported in a newspaper article
and a newsletter.
Beginning in March 2002 the Core Team began analyzing the
current and recent change efforts in the MSD Decatur Township schools.
However, its work was put on hold during a contentious school board
election (April and May). In June the Core Team worked on grant
proposal planning and on further developing its understanding of
systems thinking and the systemic change process. This was followed
by planning for a one-day "School Leader Retreat," the
purpose of which was to bring all school leaders (newly elected
board members, central office staff, building principals, and teacher
association leaders) up to date on what the Core Team was doing.
The retreat was held in August, and participants went away
feeling very excited about the change effort.
in September 2002, the Core Team began planning for expanding
itself into a "Leadership Team" that includes almost 30
members for a much broader cross-section of all stakeholders in
the community, and the new members were selected in late October
and early November. The Leadership Team has developed and is
using a set of Ground Rules for Communication. They are engaging
in a review of the the data gathered in the Community Forums and
have added their own observations. They have discussed their beliefs
about education and are currently sharing the Belief Framework with
here to meet the Leadership