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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's "Journey toward Excellence" entails all stakeholders in the community:

  • exploring the need for change,
  • reaching consensus on a framework for change (including the values that will underlie their schools and an "ideal" vision based on those values),
  • designing "ideal" new schools that fit within the framework, and
  • figuring out how to evolve their current schools as close as possible to their ideal designs.

See an overview of the GSTE process through a PowerPoint slide show. Dr. Charles Reigeluth delivered this address to the AERA Annual Meeting of 2004 in San Diego, CA, on Friday, May 16.
(Note: You must click the mouse to progress from slide to slide using this PPS show)

The journey includes:

  • Getting as many stakeholders as possible involved.
  • Giving stakeholders ownership over both the change process and the changes that are decided upon.
  • Focusing on student learning and development; all changes should be designed with that in mind.
  • Helping the entire community evolve and deepen their thinking about education.
  • Encouraging all participants to think in the ideal, then develop a strategic plan for evolving as close as possible to that ideal.

The logic of the change process, which has evolved through several change efforts, centers around the creation of a vision of Decatur's future educational system. If that vision is developed by, and owned by, a large number of stakeholders, the change process will be successful. The challenge is how to develop a shared vision.

People's visions about education are based on their beliefs (or values, or philosophies, or ideals) about education. Thus, to arrive at a shared vision, they must first arrive at a set of common beliefs about education. As Senge and Fullan have indicated, mental models and culture are the foundation for any fundamental changes in education. Hence, much of the change process is concerned with engaging stakeholders in dialogue with each other to understand why others believe what they do, and through that understanding to evolve their own beliefs, mental models, and school culture.

© 2007 by Charles Reigeluth
Last updated: May 22, 2007
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