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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


Information from Initial Community Meetings

The Core Team was able to gather valuable input from community members during the initial meetings. Participants responded to four questions aimed at responses on how society, and the Decatur Township in particular, have changed over the past 30 years (for better or for worse), as well as how our community should change over the next decade. The questions went on to ask what skills and personal qualities students must acquire to succeed in the event of both actual and desired future changes, and how Decatur Township schools are doing now in providing those important skills and qualities.

The input from the first round of meetings is shown in the survey in the three boxes below (coming soon...). After some discussion, participants concluded that during the past three decades the workplace has changed by having more service jobs that require more teamwork and more use of technology, and that there are longer commutes, greater workload, more job stress, and less job security, among others. They also concluded that the family has changed by having more single-parent households, two-working-parent homes, more latchkey children, and less family time, and that more parents want to be friends instead of parents to their children.

The community members participating in the first round of meetings also concluded that families are further strained by increasing violence and other crimes such as drug use, less social/community interaction and more exposure to negative influences via the media.

The participants revealed that they hope, in the next 10 years, that the workplace will be more family friendly, offering more flexible hours, more on-site daycare, and more opportunities to work at home, among others. Other desired vocational changes include more teaming and mentoring, better job security, and more employer support for educational opportunities.
Participants also hoped that the family would change by having more family time, communication, and unity, better parenting skills, more collaboration with the schools, and fewer divorces and latchkey children. And they hoped the community would have more interaction among neighbors, more family values, and less crime and violence.
All of these findings provided important insights for participants to identify skills and personal qualities that our children will need to be successful, contributing members of our community. Skills identified include problem solving, time management, teaming, conflict-resolution, communication, and computer skills. Personal qualities include integrity; work ethic; responsibility; creativity; desire to balance family, faith, and work; respect for differences in others; passion for something positive; desire to learn; and service orientation.

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©2006 by Charles Reigeluth
Last updated: June 21, 2006
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