In a recent discussion with friends, we reflected on schools and the purposes of education. We talked broadly about education, beyond the classic “reading, writing, and arithmetic.” It was a lively and thoughtful conversation. We all agreed that education is the foundation for how successful we are in life. It is the basis for developing society members to be critical thinkers and compassionate beings. It is also about seeing the value of education and building habits of learning about the world, life, and community. It’s learning life skills and being prepared for the work force, becoming active citizens and community members, and becoming good parents. Important, too, is for education to include the practice of freedom and democracy.

All of this made we wonder . . .  “What would education look like in Warren County, if we aimed to meet these purposes?” “What do we want graduates of Warren County schools to know and be able to do?”

As the search for a new superintendent gets underway, we need a vision for the kind of education system we want in Warren County, specifically one that works for every child. What’s happening now in our schools is just not enough and does not allow for equity in the bigger picture.

Research tells us that student achievement increases when there is a strong bond between families, schools, and community. We also know that schools are not isolated from the communities and conditions in which they are located, and that student achievement is impacted by community factors including employment rates, health and environmental conditions, child poverty rates, and access to recreation and after-school clubs and programs. While we need a vision for education and our schools, we also need a vision for our community.

We all play a role to ensure that our children thrive. So, as we search for a superintendent, there are a few critical questions we might ask.

“What is the vision we have for our children’s future, and how do we see education in Warren County moving us to that vision?”

“What are the opportunities and barriers to achieving our educational vision and success for every child?”

Then,

“What do we need in a leader to ensure that our vision is realized and that all of our children are successful?”

A public forum is scheduled to seek input on the search for a new superintendent, Tuesday, March 26, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Warren County Middle School. I encourage all citizens and community members to attend with thoughtful and productive input.  

JEREANN KING JOHNSON

Warrenton