When a new superintendent takes over at USD 410 later this year, a new charge awaits that’s beyond amazing.
Board of education members said good-bye Monday to the district’s old vision statement and embraced a new mantra for what the district should strive to achieve. It reads:
“USD 410 — Developing super amazing humans for our world.”
Superintendent Steve Noble was animated as he talked about the change.
“I just get excited about it; it raises my energy level,” he said. “It sort of captures that enthusiasm of a child. Children think that way. We want to capture that essence of a child’s inherent ambition for thinking they can do anything in the whole wide world, and that it’s not impossible to do that.”
The statement came out of a yearlong self-study that engaged staff, parents, and students through focus groups and surveys, Noble said.
However, when administrators tried to create a new vision from the information they gleaned, nothing worked.
“They all felt kind of sterile and disengaged,” Noble said. “It wasn’t enough about the kids and the very human nature of education.”
They delved back into the feedback and discovered the newly adopted vision in a text message from an anonymous teacher who had responded to a question about why teachers do what they do.
“It came right off of somebody’s heart in two or three minutes,” Noble said. “We started then to do what administrators typically do. We started to try and screw it up.”
However, after batting about ideas, they decided to leave the statement as is.
“We got to thinking about all the things we could do with ‘super amazing,’” Noble said. “This is a bigger deal than just being about me, or being about us around this table, or even being about Marion County or Hillsboro. We want to develop super amazing humans for our world because the world needs them.”
Board member Ron Koons was enthusiastic about the change.
“There’s a sense of excitement to it, some excitement and yet some innocence,” he said. “That vision can help us with things we might struggle with by asking if we’re sticking to that vision with a decision.”
Scant minutes later, as the board was discussing a $29,210 bid to install automatic door locking systems at the elementary and middle/high schools, Koons returned to the vision.
“I’m having a hard time applying the vision statement to this,” he said.
Noble explained that providing security “better than we’ve ever done before” would enhance learning environments and make better use of resources by saving staff time and eliminating problems with issuing and tracking keys.
The bid for the door security system from CBS Manhattan was approved. Noble said installation of the system would not disrupt normal operations.
In other business:
- A retirement request from elementary school counselor Mike Moran was approved.
- A school nurse position held by Alissa Unruh was changed to full-time to accommodate increased needs from special education. Marion County Special Education Cooperative will pay half of the cost.
- Contracts were extended for principals, assistant principal, business manager, technology director, and TEEN director.
- Additional time was approved for middle school teacher Gita Noble to help students needing assistance with math.
- Parents as Teachers coordinator Lori Soo Hoo and Collaborative Preschool teacher Ashley Sheridan gave presentations about their respective programs.