Over the past few months, I have been increasingly inspired by the courageous leadership of Dr. Alfred Ray, Superintendent of Duncanville ISD and his leadership team. Take a look at what is going on in this district:
Dr. Ray, Dr. Larry McHaney, Liz Birdwell, Dr. Max Ahmadian, Mike Chrietzberg, Ron Kuehler, Kyle Berger, Tammy Kuykendall, Kathleen Brown and other district and campus leaders and teachers have been diligently working in Duncanville to put systems in place to ensure that every single learner receives the best, the most engaging, challenging and highly relevant learning experiences possible every single day. This has not been an easy task, yet Duncanville is being persistently innovative and truly courageous in their pursuits. You might already know that they started in 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade cohorts implementing the Engage! Learning Model (our standards-based version of project-based learning) a few years ago and then rolled it to 4th, 6th, and 8th grades. They will likely be the first district to have all of their iCoaches (campus support specialists) earn Engage Certified Coach recognition. They are learning together about what it takes to move from the teaching platform to the learning model so that students really get what they need to be future-ready and realize the Duncanville ISD Vision of the Learner that their LOCAL community created as the expectation for LOCAL accountability.
It is not about theory; it is about action. It is not about a program or curriculum. It IS about establishing crystal clear expectations and a laser-like focus on the goal and the methodology and helping grow teachers and campus leaders to a place where they can clearly move from the teaching platform to the learning model and serve kids in a way that leads to the brightest future possible for each learner. And it IS about not giving in or giving up. As Alfred and I have discussed, we do not want kids and adults to continue “playing school” to get through each day. It is all about being open and willing to learn from mistakes and that entails hard work and courageous leadership every single day. If you want to know the details of what that means, or share your own battle scars from courageous leadership, get in touch with DISD!