A STAFF REPORT
The Arab Tribune
The following are the written responses that David McCollum gave to the Arab Board of Education to answer questions submitted by the board. It was part of the board’s process in selecting a new superintendent of education.
In the interest of fairness, the Tribune held the responses until all five superintendent candidates had their one-on-one interviews with the Arab BOE.
The principal of Banks-Caddell Elementary School in Decatur since 2017, McCollum was the principal and athletic director at Brindlee Mountain High School from 2016-17.
Question: Please give us a thumbnail sketch of your professional experiences, your pivotal belief on public education, and why you are interested in being our superintendent.
Answer: Experience is a great teacher, and I have been blessed to work with kids and adults in different capacities over the course of my career thus far. After completing a Master’s degree in 2004, I went to work as a high school social studies teacher and athletic coach in Escambia County Schools before moving to Jasper and teaching and coaching at Walker High School for four years.
My oldest daughter, Ella, was born on August 14th, 2007, and grandparents were “encouraging,” a move back home to Arab. When a teaching and coaching position opened at Asbury High School in the summer of 2009, much to the delight of Ella’s grandparents, I was selected.
I worked in the Marshall County School District for the next 8 years in various roles – as a teacher, athletic coach, graduation coach, instructional assistant principal, and principal. In 2017, I accepted the principal’s position at Banks-Caddell Elementary in the Decatur City School District, where I currently serve. Administratively, I have led schools at the primary, elementary, and secondary level, and I have worked alongside some excellent teachers and administrators.
My professional experiences have left me qualified and ready to be a successful superintendent, and I believe that I possess the necessary skill set to effectively lead the Arab City School District to continue – and grow – the tradition of excellence that characterizes it.
I believe that public education is critical to the success of individuals and communities. Quite simply, without a quality educational foundation, true success is virtually impossible to achieve. I believe that education is a great equalizer, and that those who choose to take advantage of its opportunities can and will make a quality difference in their lives, and in the lives of others.
I believe that all kids can learn, and that the individuals who answer the call to teach should be supported, challenged, and celebrated as professionals. I believe that kids are the greatest assets to communities, and that the mission of public education is one that should unite all stakeholders for the common good.
I am interested in being the superintendent for Arab City Schools for a variety of reasons. This position would give me the opportunity to give back to the community where I grew up, and Arab is my home. I love challenges, and while the district is clearly high achieving and has a history of success, there are opportunities to achieve even greater successes.
I have a vested interest in seeing the school system succeed with my two daughters attending school here, and 1 want the community to continue to succeed as well. What truly makes the Arab City School District appealing to me is the people. The district is blessed with many passionate, caring, hard-working people who work together for something that is much bigger than any one individual. The opportunity to lead and serve alongside such a talented group of educators is exciting to me.
Also, it’s very evident that the Arab community takes pride in the school system, which is critical to its success. My core values align with the district’s, and ultimately, this position offers me the opportunity to influence the lives of so many in a positive manner and come alongside a team to change lives in a positive way.
Question: What kind of leadership role do you think the superintendent should have in the community?
Answer: In a nutshell, the superintendent should take an active, visible leadership role in the community. I believe that actions speak far louder than words, and as the leader and “figurehead” of the school district, it’s imperative that the superintendent be a true community leader by being actively involved in community matters and serving in the community. This helps to build positive relationships and models the expectation that community is important, and also leverages those relationships to create win-win situations for the school district and community at-large.
This position is a public one, and virtually every citizen of the Arab community is connected in one way or another to the schools in some shape or fashion. Being an active community leader is also simply the right thing to do; being a good citizen is important, and one shouldn’t pursue a leadership role if he or she isn’t willing to be actively involved.
Positive relationships with city officials, civic organizations, and local legislators help tremendously. I am already active in the Arab community in many ways, from attending church at Gilliam Springs, serving at the Connect Kitchen, and supporting local businesses.
It’s hard to find better lasagna than at Grumpy’s, the pork chops at Sierra’s are amazing, and the chicken sandwich at Midas Burger is second to none (sorry, Chick-Fil-A and Popeyes.)
Arab is my home, and I’ve invested in is town over the course of my life. My first job was bagging groceries at Piggly Wiggly, I’ve worked the drive-thru at Arby’s, and spent summers working at the Arab City Pool.
As a teenager, a friend and I opened The Loft teen center that was actually housed in the first Arab High School to give area youth a safe place to hang out. I believe fully that we are to love our neighbors – through our words, actions, and deeds-and part of being an effective superintendent is being active, visible, approachable, and serving others.
Question: What do you see as the role of the superintendent as it relates to the school board?
Answer: I see the role of the superintendent as it relates to the school board as one that first and foremost should be based on mutual trust, effective communication, and transparency.
The role of the superintendent is to ultimately implement and enforce the policies that are established by the board. Working to inform and advise the board on agenda items, while keeping accurate records of board action is part of that role.
Through open lines of communication and a quality, data-driven process, decisions are made that help the school board and school district move forward in a positive direction. While it’s easy to get caught up in the subtleties of details-the board and superintendent, I believe, should work together in a proactive, effective, trusting way to create the best school system possible and make decisions that are in the best interests of all stakeholders, but clearly placing the district ‘s students at the forefront.
The superintendent has a duty to communicate regularly and effectively to board members to be sure that pertinent information is available and the best decisions can be made. Ultimately, there must be buy-in, commitment, and good faith efforts by the superintendent and the school board to work in concert to improve the school district.
Question: Describe your management style and the methods you have found to be the most effective in supervision and building rapport with administrators and employees.
Answer: I believe whole-heartedly in servant-leadership, and my management style reflects that. I believe that in order to be an effective manager, you have to be clear on what is expected and you have to practice what you preach.
You have to lead by example and consistently model a standard of excellence, service, integrity, and diligence. Specifically, I believe that each member of the organization has to be aware of their specific roles and responsibilities, trained effectively in carrying those out, and empowered to do their jobs at high levels.
Regarding supervision, I believe that you have to “inspect what you expect.” To quote Ronald Reagan, “trust but verify.”
I believe in treating people wen and telling the truth. When good people have a clear idea of what they are expected to do, it has been my experience that they will do what is asked of them, especially when they understand the “why” of what they are being asked to do. I don’t believe in micro managing, because very simply, it undermines trust.
Communicating effectively is absolutely critical, and being willing to have open and honest conversations is part of leadership that leads to quality relationships, trust, and increased organizational, professional, and personal effectiveness.
In building rapport with administrators and employees, I believe that it’s very important as the leader of the district to be an effective listener and communicator. I believe that building quality relationships with other administrators and employees should never be taken lightly, and that in order for those relationships to be cultivated, there must be authenticity and a genuine care for people.
I believe that administrators, teachers, CNP workers, custodians, nurses, bus drivers, support staff – all, at their core, want to feel valued and appreciated. This takes intentional effort.
Also, it’s important to be knowledgeable and confident while creating buy-in from the members of your team and having the “right people on the right seats on the bus.” Being optimistic, enthusiastic, passionate, and having a sense of humor is important as well.
Students work harder for teachers whom they like and respect, and, along the same lines, employees work harder for leaders who are transparent, honest, fair, consistent, hard-working, and remember what it is like to be on the “front lines.”
Question: To what degree do you believe responsibilities can and should be delegated to principals? How would you hold them accountable for accomplishing those responsibilities?
Answer: I believe that building level principals should be given the responsibility and opportunity to lead their schools. Effective principals keep a pulse on their school’s culture and climate and are aware of what happens on a day-to-day basis.
They should make decisions based on what’s in the best interest of their students, following board policy and treating people well. Again, I do not believe in micro managing; it undermines organizational trust.
This in no way means that effective communication and awareness of what is happening in the school buildings is absent from district leadership; the common mission of the school district requires a collaborative effort among the leadership of the schools.
What it does mean, however, is that principals are empowered to do their jobs, and that there is a true collaborative relationship between the superintendent, supervisors, and principals, founded on mutual trust and the common mission and goals of the system’s schools.
The job of the school principal is to effectively lead his or her building, support and challenge teachers, inspire students, and help create a safe, orderly environment that is conducive to learning for all students.
Accountability is clearly important, and in holding principals to the standard of excellence that characterizes Arab City Schools, a clear understanding, belief, and buy-in of the district and individual school goals is foundational.
Secondly, principals should know their school’s student achievement data and communicate that with their staff and with district administrators. They should use a data-driven process to identify areas for growth, “own the data,” celebrate the wins, and have the opportunity to grow and thrive as leaders with support from district leadership.
The formal evaluation structure in place for principals (Lead Alabama) can serve its purpose when used effectively, but ultimately, the relationship between building administrators and district leaders should be one of mutual respect and trust with a focus on results.
When there is clarity on mission, vision, goals, standards, expectations, and the process in which things get done, good things happen, and principals play a key role in making those things happen.
Question: High performance by students and accountability are priorities for us. How would you assess the current student performance levels in our school system? How would you assess the effectiveness of our teachers and programs?
Answer: As a former coach, I told my players that “the tape doesn’t lie.” Along the same lines, student achievement data speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the district. Having such a low percentage of graduating students needing to take remedial courses in college is an indicator that Arab graduates truly are college and career ready.
Having mean ACT scores much higher than the state average is reflective of the hard work put in by students, teachers, and administrators. Recent test scores on the state assessments resulted in the district being one of eight to have all A’s.
Arab Elementary School being named a National Blue Ribbon School is an excellent accomplishment. Arab Primary School students score consistently well on DIBELS. The success that Arab students have had in career-technical programs is notable.
Arab Junior High School has a solid core of pre-AP courses and high expectations for learning.
Academically, the district has a tradition of being strong, and this doesn’t happen by chance. It results from talent, hard work, commitment, dedication, focus, and from doing things that lead to success in a consistent manner.
It results from hiring effective teachers, growing teacher-leaders, and positive relationships between administrators, teachers and students.
I would assess the current levels of student academic performance levels as strong. That being said, I also believe in the mindset that we should “never arrive,” and there are areas for growth. There is room for growth on overall proficiency as measured by summative assessments. There is room for growth in expanding career-technical education programs.
There are always things to improve upon, challenges to overcome, and areas for growth. I believe that administrators, teachers, and students can always improve, and that striving for excellence in all areas is the standard.
While academic success and student achievement in the classroom should be the primary focus for the school district, the school experience is about the “whole child.”
I believe in striving for high performance athletically, in the arts, and in character-education. I would assess the current student performance levels in those areas as strong, too, given the quality programs that are in place in Arab schools. Athletically, wins on and off the field are important, and I believe whole-heartedly that the most effective coaches are great teachers.
Arab has championship-caliber athletic programs in many sports, from competition cheerleading to wrestling and soccer, with huge strides being made most recently in the football program, and areas for continued growth exist in other athletic programs.
Regarding the arts-the Arab band program is healthy and wins regularly at competitions such as mid-south. AMT is second to none, and the performances speak for themselves.
I am competitive, and I believe that results matter. That being said, the values and principles taught through programs, whether it be an athletic program, an arts program, or an academic program are of utmost importance and stand the test of time.
Teaching students the importance of competing well, respecting themselves and others, representing their community well, striving for excellence, overcoming adversity, and teamwork are critical to not only program success, but also in leading a successful life.
In assessing teachers and programs, I believe in a data-driven process, and I also believe that positive relationships between teachers and students are very, very important and lead to higher performance levels. Specifically, drilling down and the disaggregation of data should be used to evaluate teachers and programs.
Utilizing classroom walk-through data that provides “look-fors” in areas of student engagement, classroom management, teaching practices, effective use of technology, rapport between teachers and students, and classroom climate would be an expectation for school and district administrators.
Looking at longitudinal data trends, student participation and interest in programs, and ultimately, the results that we expect are all-important. I believe in using quantitative and qualitative data, and empowering, trusting, and expecting principals to assess their teachers and programs. I believe that the best teachers truly know their students, take pride in the art and science of teaching and use research-based instructional practices consistently.
When this is in place, it is very evident and positive results follow. When these things are not in place, it is also very evident, and those educators should be assessed accordingly.
Question: Based on what you know of our school system, what do you think is the greatest potential for improvement?
Answer: The greatest potential for improvement for Arab City Schools, based on my current knowledge, would be improving overall outcomes for students identified as living in poverty.
The percentage of students experiencing poverty in the district has grown a good bit over the past decade, and while this sub-group’s achievement is high when compared to other students living in poverty in other districts, there is room for growth.
Looking at 2018-19 district data, Arab students’ living in poverty graduation rate was 10% lower than the mean, and overall academic achievement was 15% lower than the mean. In reading, proficiency was 15% lower, in math, 14% lower, and in science, 10% lower.
I also believe that there is potential for growth in career-technical programs. While the district currently has effective programs in place, continuing to expand opportunities for students through new apprenticeship programs, increased partnerships with businesses and industries, and a targeted focus on pathways that students can take to graduate with certifications and credentials to enter the workforce prepared and skilled can be increased.
There is a huge student financial debt issue in our country, and by expanding career-technical academies, students can graduate with opportunities to earn a great living without having to take out student loans and begin their careers in debt.
Question: Describe your experience in developing, implementing, and evaluating curriculum and instructional programs to raise student achievement.
Answer: As a classroom teacher, I had the opportunity to work on teams in creating local pacing guides, curriculum guides, and standards-based lesson designs. I have served on district textbook selection committees and had opportunities to research various instructional programs, all of which, according to vendors, miraculously raise test scores exponentially.
I believe wholeheartedly that while it is important to have effective curriculum programs, it is people, not programs that make the difference in effective outcomes for students. Research is clear that the number one driver in student achievement is the effectiveness of the classroom teacher who is delivering instruction.
Also, teachers who are work well with each other, collaborate with each other, learn from each other, and are passionate and caring about kids–these are the most important factors in raising student achievement.
As an instructional assistant principal, I wrote the proposal to bring advanced placement courses to BMHS in 2013, and I am a big believer in using student achievement data to ultimately determine the effectiveness of programs. I also believe that it’s vital to have effective teachers have a voice to share their ideas, thoughts, and opinions on the best curriculum programs to utilize in teaching the standards that are prescribed in the Alabama courses of study.
Using strategic teaching instructional methods, regardless of what program is being followed, is paramount to raising student achievement. At all of the schools that I have led, we have raised student achievement and improved student outcomes. We’ve also enhanced school culture and classroom climates, increased parent and community involvement, and increased student offerings related to programs and course offerings.
Question: What do you think is the role of career-technical education?
Answer: The role of career-technical education is to provide opportunities for all interested students to attain specific, job-related skills and credentials to become effective workers and members of society.
Effective career-technical educational programs are wonderful assets for students to earn certifications, credentials, and have experiences that will allow them to enter the “real world” ready to work.
I believe in calling career-technical programs “career academies,” and that every student deserves the opportunity to be successful and should be provided with quality programs designed to prepare them for life after high school.
Having career academy programs aligned to what business and industry projections are for the upcoming decades is important for our students. Having multiple pathways for students to choose from and academy offerings that interest them is important.
There are currently technical job opportunities available in Alabama and surrounding states that pay very good wages, and there is a high demand for career fields in areas such as welding, electrical, and the medical field that don’t require four-year college degrees.
Mike Rowe hasn’t been dishonest about those available opportunities.
Above all, continuing the high standard of excellence in all programs is vital, and quality career-technical academies arc a key part of 21st century school districts.
Question: How have you been involved in budget development and ongoing fiscal management in the past? What has been your experience(s) in addressing funding gaps and budget shortfalls?
Answer: I’ve been involved in local school budget development for over 8 years as a building level administrator, and I’ve also been on district budgeting teams for federal programs. I’ve been on capital planning teams during my career, and I’ve taken over schools whose local budgets were very slim and was able to leave them in much better shape than I found them.
I believe strongly in always “counting the cost” while working to provide teachers, coaches, sponsors, and students what they need for their classrooms and programs.
I don’t have experience with budget shortfalls, because I believe that you have to spend within your means and find creative ways to address funding issues, and when I’ve taken over schools, we’ve always made ends meet while growing our budgets to provide more opportunities for students and teachers.
Specifically, I have written grants to increase our local school budgets, communicated effectively with local legislative delegations to increase local funding for schools under my leadership, and I have spearheaded fundraising efforts to provide students more opportunities.
I believe that fiscal responsibility is an important part of an effective superintendent’s role, and that he or she also has to work closely alongside the CSFO to have knowledge on current fiscal realities, areas for growth, and what’s coming around the bend.
I was raised to try and “leave things better than how I found them.” In public education, we are tasked to provide students with every opportunity to be successful. In order to provide those opportunities, fiscal responsibility and accountability is important.
All stakeholders involved in the educational process deserve to have the necessary tools to create positive outcomes, and that involves a wide range of “stuff,” from the efficient maintenance and upkeep of buildings and physical structures, to keeping up with new technologies, and all the way down to ensuring that there are enough bright yellow, number two pencils in our classrooms.
Questions: What has been your involvement in the creation of a capital improvement plan and its implementation? What has been your experience with new construction?
Answer: I have worked on the fringes of capital improvement planning in previous districts and have some education on the role of the superintendent and finance/capital planning from when I completed the Alabama Superintendent’s Academy in 2017, and the CLAS Certified Instructional Leader credentialing process in 2019.
In short, the capital improvement plan should involve a thorough review of current realities that exist in the district in many different areas, ranging from physical space and structures, maintenance needs and current life-cycles of thing such as HVAC systems and roofs, to student enrollment trends and projected growth, to new building projects and programs for students.
With new school construction, I currently work in a district that just completed the building of two new high schools simultaneously, and wile I wasn’t actively involved in the actual construction process, I was able to ask questions, talk to the district’s construction manager, (he would come to Banks-Caddell and I would remind him of our needs and listen about the high schools’ building progress, and observe closely.)
In the past, I have spearheaded local construction projects at the school level, adding an outdoor learning space for students, constructing a Veterans’ Memorial area to honor community veterans and using this space to teach students about American history and civics, adding playground equipment to improve physical education programs, and adding a student area that included a student pavilion, eating area, and space for outdoor learning.
Ultimately, I believe in sound fiscal practices and always counting the cost, balanced with the belief that students and teachers deserve the absolute best that we can provide them, and we find a way to fund what is important to maintain excellence.
While funding will always be an issue in public education given the way in which schools are given monies at the state level, with effective planning and sound fiscal policies in place, combined with a supportive community and smart decision-making, we can and will provide great opportunities for the district.
Question: Describe specific strategies you would use to cultivate positive relationships with community leaders and parents.
Answer: Positive relationships are very important. I believe in trying to follow to example that was set by the greatest leader who ever walked the earth. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and he said to love your neighbor.
In cultivating positive relationship with community leaders and parents, I believe it’s important to be a good listener. I believe it’s important to communicate effectively and authentically through a variety of means.
I believe it’s critical to know your audience, and to be able to share vision, purpose, and specific plans to create buy-in.
One of the roles of the superintendent role is advocating on behalf of the people who you are entrusted to lead, and to do that, positive relationships with community leaders and parents are crucial.
Specific strategies I would use to cultivate positive relationships with community leaders and parents is to reach out to them both formally and informally.
I am blessed to have good relationships with many community leaders and parents in the Arab community and surrounding area currently, and I believe that is important, as is simply having open lines of communication.
We live in a very busy world, and community leaders and parents have a lot on their plates over the course of a day, week and month. I believe that if something is important, it is prioritized. We all have 24 hours in a day, but it’s up to the individual as to how time is spent.
For me, relationship building is a priority, because without authentic relationships in place, it is very difficult to lead organizations effectively, especially those that have many different moving pieces.
Sharing important information and simply raising awareness on school business, school successes, arid school plans is important; there are good facilities available in the Arab schools to use for community meetings and stakeholder discussions that I would utilize.
Making time to be available to listen and learn, to share and communicate arc simple strategies that are effective.
Meeting with local civic organizations, pray for with area pastors, involving community leaders and recruiting leaders to come into our schools to truly invest in our students’ lives are ways I would work to cultivate relationships.
Effectively communicating to parents is obviously important; I’ve never met a parent who didn’t want what they thought was best for their child. Parents entrust schools with their most precious asset, and we must appreciate that and work to communicate with parents effectively in different ways and using different avenues, while always striving to make them feel welcome in the school community.
Parents are a great resource for schools to tap into in helping schools succeed.
Question: Tell us about the most difficult parent situation you have had to deal with that required strong communication skills. Tell us how you addressed the situation.
Answer: Three students who had been placed with their grandmother by DHR entered my school mid-year. The first words out of the grandmother’s mouth were that she, herself, had been “kicked out’’ of the last school because the school didn’t like her and those people didn’t know what they were doing, and that the boys were all terrible students with sorry, no good parents, one of which was her own son.
She informed me that she wasn’t afraid to get kicked out of another one if the boys weren’t “taken care of,” and that she didn’t like schools, she wasn’t happy about having the three boys placed with her in the first place, and she didn’t like me, although we bad met only minutes before.
First, I listened to her without interrupting. When she finished, I thanked her for filling the gap that existed by taking in her grandsons, and told her that I admired her.
I told her that I could understand how challenging things could be with three boys, because he was one of three boys growing up, and I knew that I drove my parents crazy sometimes. As her body language softened and she relaxed a bit, I was able to learn more about how she ended up with the boys, their names, the challenges that they were currently facing, and learn more about her story as well.
After getting the boys enrolled, connecting the grandmother with local agencies who could help with some of the most pressing needs they faced, and addressing her anxieties, I told her that we were going to work hard to take care of the boys. I went over our school’s expectations, and also told her that I wanted her to be involved how she could and when she could.
I asked her to have to have an open mind and give us a chance, and that for the boys to be successful, she had to trust us, and that we had to trust her. In the days since their enrollment, while there have been some challenges, she has been involved with the school, she has felt supported, and most importantly, the students have adjusted and have stability.
I believe that while every situation is unique, principles are paramount. It’s always important to listen and identify what are root issues or concerns. It’s always important to validate parental concerns by being respectful, listening and working to find solutions that are beneficial.
That being said, in leadership, one simply cannot make everyone happy all the time. I believe that sometimes, “having many counselors” leads to effective solutions.
No one person has every answer to every problem, so collaborating with other leaders and asking for their thoughts and input is a good practice. Ultimately, I believe in a common-sense approach to handling “difficult parents,” I listen, I work to find solutions, I consult with those that I trust, I communicate effectively, and I make decisions based on what I feel is in the long-term best interests of students.
Also, I firmly believe that before parent concerns reach the office of the superintendent, there should be a process followed that includes earlier communication at the school-level. The first question ask is if the parent has talked with the teacher, coach, or sponsor to allow them the opportunity to address their concern, followed by conversations with the building administration if the issue wasn’t resolved.
Question: How have you engaged the community of your district? How have you increased visibility of a school/system and its needs?
Answer: Community partnerships are crucial to school success. Relationships, work ethic, and intentional effort are critical. It’s been my experience that there are people everywhere in communities who are willing to help schools if they are asked.
Very few people will simply say “no” to helping kids, but many people aren’t asked or don’t know what or how to help. At Banks-Caddell, we have partnered with local churches to provide after-school tutoring for students and provide meals for families to come to school to participate in parent workshops.
We’ve partnered with Decatur Youth Services to provide mentors for at-risk students. We’ve partnered with local businesses to support fundraising efforts to increase technology in our classrooms.
We have “reading buddies” from the community who come to help students learn phonics-skills. We work hard to engage the community, make people feel welcomed in our school, and acknowledge the difference that they help to make in the lives of students through things as simple as “thank you cards” to formal recognitions at school events.
In other districts that I’ve worked in, I’ve spearheaded efforts to engage the community in a variety of ways. A few specific ways were going to speak at civic meetings to share the good things that were happening at our school and offering suggestions on how they could partner with us.
We piloted “Project Graduation” with Progress Rail when I was at BMHS. I invited area pastors to come to the school, and we met regularly to pray for our students, plan community events, and held a community-wide revival at the high school led by the area pastors and youth ministers.
Some common principles to engage the community are being visible, asking good questions, listening carefully, and being approachable. Coordinating with the Chamber of Commerce, working with community leaders, and building partnerships based on mutual cooperation are examples.
To increase visibility of schools I have led and raise awareness on school needs, branding has been important. At each school I have led, I’ve had a clear vision of what I felt needed to be accomplished to increase student outcomes and improve the school.
Part of that process always includes determining the current reality of the school, listening to current teachers and staff members, talking to students and community members, prayer, and truly gaining a good understanding of what could be done to improve effectiveness.
Like it or not, a school district’s story is going to be told, and it’s important to frame that story in a way that celebrates the good things happening. There are many good things that go unnoticed everyday in schools across Alabama and the nation, and oftentimes, those things go unnoticed due to the failure to communicate about what students and teachers are accomplishing!
While I do believe strongly in maintaining a humble posture – as a coach, I always told my players that we would let our playing do our talking – celebrating the fantastic work that happens should be communicated to local media, during informal conversations, on social media, and via school outlets such as websites and recognitions during school events. Honoring the teachers of the year during pre-game on Friday nights, and recognizing academic achievements during sporting events are two examples.
Again, having the “never arrive” mentality also means sharing about the needs of the school and system to continue to move forward. All school districts have needs, and finding creative ways to meet those needs is crucial. Oftentimes, it simply takes raising awareness on what your needs are, communicating those to the right people, and graciously accepting help from people and businesses.