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Change  seems to be all around us now.  The economy is depressed, unemployment is up, spending is down, personal budgets are being scaled back. Some folks are jobless.  Other people are worried about being laid off their jobs. The US has a new President. TV news is reporting that unemployed persons are going back to school to upgrade their skills.  The person who first stated that change is all there is, seems so wise.  For many people, change is uncomfortable or downright painful.  

Recently at a meeting of California educators, we were discussing the changes we see on the horizon for school districts, schools, teachers, principals and students.  It appears that public school districts will be forced to make mid-year cuts and further slash their budgets for the following year. Many districts are already cut to the bone and for next year they may be into the bone marrow. It looks like class sizes will be increased, classified staff will be further cut back, some teachers will be laid off. Textbook money, Professional Development funds, Visual and Performing Arts grants and other categorical money may be swept away into district budgets so districts can make payroll.  It feels like California public education is back-to-basics with a teacher, students and a chalkboard. 

Persons in our group talked about how to best help schools step back from the emotion of the scene and still focus on program improvement. The research has already been done that supports nine essential components that help schools/teachers/students be successful.  Our job will be to help the schools determine which of those essential components can they best leverage at their sites to make the most positive changes for student achievement.  

We need to be the keepers of the vision for our schools and districts in which we work. We’re here for the students.  We realize that things are going to look different.  We know that drastic changes are going to be made at schools due to budget crisis. The winds of change are here.  We may not be able to control the wind, but we can control our sails.  We want to set our sails and help chart the new best direction possible.

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