Friday, April 07, 2006

Your chance to be heard at JIS

Have you had a chance to look through your JIS school bulletin yet? They're always very interesting, but this week's contained a gem -- the notice for JIS school council's series of open forums to discuss last year's perception audits done by Indo Pacific Reputation Management Consultants.

As a community, we should all be jumping for joy. These forums are nearly three years in the making, since 2003, when the council voted to move to the Carver model of governance. This model requires a governing board like the JIS council to link with its "moral owners" -- parents, staff, students sponsoring organizations and alumni -- to help it understand those owners' beliefs, understandings, values and dreams. These forums are a big deal.

If you haven't had a chance, you should download council's summary of the perception audits (either from an email you should have received from the school, or from the JIS ParentNet). This document outlines the results of the focus group research (17 groups made up of parents, JIS staff, and students) and 13 individual interviews with sponsoring organizations. Then have a good read, preferably with a pen in your hand so that you can jot down your thoughts and ideas while you read. (Being an English teacher, I have to read with a pen in hand -- it's hardwired into my DNA. But really, it's a good way to read actively!)

Then, make time to attend one of the six open forums that begin next Tuesday, April 11. Council has scheduled meetings in various locations and at different times to make sure that everyone in the JIS community has a chance to attend. The turnout at these meeting is important for several reasons:
  • A high turnout will demonstrate that moral owners value their ability to play a role in the process of "revisioning" JIS and the ends policies that will drive the school's future direction. (A low turnout will show that....ugh, I don't even want to consider that option!)
  • Big meetings mean more voices -- and while they're often messier than a small gathering, lots of people can generate lots of ideas. I'm a huge believer in The Wisdom of Crowds. The many really are smarter than the few.
  • There's a lot to talk about, both in terms of what's in the research summary -- and what's not.
So tell your spouse, gather your friends, and make a date with the JIS school council to participate in the critical step in JIS' future. Your kids -- and the kids of 10 years from now -- will thank you for your time and effort!


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