I am pleased to see the community embrace the proposed Strategic Plan. There were more than 300 people who gathered at Central High School last night for the second public forum for us to receive the community's input on the proposed Strategic Plan. More than 50 people spoke at the forum and I did not hear a single person who was against the Plan. What I heard was overwhelming support for the Plan along with a few concerned citizens who wanted to know more about certain items related to the Strategic Plan. Earlier this week, we answered the community's most pressing concerns through written and recorded messages, which we shared through the District's website and this blog. I am hoping that after watching the video messages and reading similar messages on the blog that most will feel their questions and concerns have been answered. If you have not yet watched these videos or read the messages, I hope you will take the time to do so.
I want you to understand that I do not take any concerns lightly because I have something at stake as well. My own son and daughter are students in this school system, and what I am doing today affects their future success. Just as I do not want my own children to miss out on any academic opportunities, I want that same thing for all students in Bibb County. But the current system does not support all students.
As I envision the future for Bibb County's students, I am reminded of a saying: "A rising tide raises all ships." Under this scenario, the students who are currently excelling academically are at high tide, whereas those who are failing are at a low tide. With what we are proposing in this Strategic Plan, all students will rise to a higher tide. There should be no reason for any student in Bibb County to be at low tide. Everyone will benefit from a Plan that allows for all students to rise and succeed. Even those who are already doing well will find greater academic opportunities and success under the proposed Plan.
I want to share with you just a few of the comments from last night's forum that show why people in the community are so passionate about the proposed Strategic Plan.
From Michele Beverly: "It is not just about getting jobs anymore. People's life chances are threatened because the communities in which they live don't have the resources to properly educate them."
From Dr. Jo-ne Bourassa: "If you want to change student achievement and instructional practice, you have to have something better to change it to."
From Dr. Sabrenai Brown: "Everybody goes to school in Bibb County. ... 'The Macon Miracle' is the real deal."
From Dr. Tandi Pressley: "We don't have certitude that our journey is going to be perfect and without barriers and troubles along the way. If you're waiting on a perfect plan, I'm just old enough to know you might as well keep waiting."
From Gwendolyn Russell: "I know where our school system has come from to how it has evolved to where it is today. Just as we update our computers, we need to update our school system. ... I feel that 'The Macon Miracle' plan will provide the conditions necessary to produce the quality school system to help our students learn and become successful future citizens of our community."
If you would like to listen to last night's forum in its entirety, click here. Listen to it and you will understand why so many want for this Strategic Plan to succeed.
What we have before us is a formidable challenge, which we can only solve together as a community. In order for the District to be able to educate all of our students and guide them toward academic and future economic success, we must all come together and work in unity. I look forward to continuing to work with the community as we move forward. Thank you for your support last night, and thank you for believing in a better future for all of Bibb County's children.