October 2020 Administrative Update
by: Mark Mambretti
Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Personnel/CIO
The Vision Changes but the Values Never Do!
If you bought town historian Rob Goller a cup of coffee, I’m sure he would be happy to share the many ways public education has changed in the 137 years since the East Aurora School District was founded. The hallways of East Aurora’s schools however, have never witnessed what they are experiencing this year.
So much looks and feels so very new: Classes run at limited-capacity. Half the student body learns from home. Teachers wear headsets and stream lessons live on the internet. Students submit classwork via Google Classroom. Desks are spaced 6+ feet apart. Masks and hand sanitizer are considered ‘school supplies’. Following one-way hallway markings and carrying plastic barriers are demonstrations of school spirit. And athletic stands are sans the fans.
Behind all that is “different”, something very much “the same” remains: the four enduring values of the East Aurora Union Free School District.
- Learning Excellence
- Respectful Relationships
- Effective Communication
- Continuous Improvement
Our Vision is how we live in the world today. Our Values define what we cannot live without.
While many Districts scrambled to answer the question: “What can we change to keep education going in the time of COVID-19?”, East Aurora’s educational team was challenged to answer a different question. The charge given our team was: “What Vision will allow us to best live out our Values today?” In response to everything that is going on in the world - socially, politically, economically, and environmentally in terms of health and safety – we did not ask “How do we need to change?” but rather, “How can we remain the same?” In other words, “How can we be “even more” EA?”
This Values/Vision mindset was clearly illustrated in our reopening plan introduction where Superintendent Brian Russ stated: “We must remember: This is about more than reopening our community’s schools. This is about our Values & Vision and upholding the integrity of our commitment to provide excellent quality programs and services to our students. The question is not “How do we reopen our schools?” but rather “How do we reopen schools “the EA way?” What vision allows us to create safe, happy, healthy learning environments and how do we best live our values in this current environment?”
Now, with a few successful weeks under our belts, being “more EA” is exactly what we have done. Students, their families, teachers, aides, B&G, and the leadership team have come together in many ways to rally around our common purpose with a clear realization that this year’s success depends on all of us working together. The individuals coming to our campuses each day are no longer just “students” and “teachers” and “principals” and “custodians”. Rather, they are Learning Excellence, Effective Communication, Respectful Relationships, and Continuous Improvement standing on two feet. (Or, as we’ve taken to calling them: “EA-ssential Workers”)
Around the administrative cabinet table, Superintendent Russ is renowned for challenging purpose-driven growth and innovation by saying, “The Vision changes but the Values never do”. This gentle but constant prodding can be credited for many of the academic, athletic, artistic, and social successes the District has experienced over the last decade. This same leadership charge challenged us to grow our vision of what it means to teach and learn in the time of COVID-19 in new and unexpected ways but never at the expense of sacrificed values.
In the last 137 years, few things have remained as consistent in East Aurora as a school building’s shadow over the corner of Main and North Grove. But under the Board’s watchful eye, the Superintendent’s steadfast leadership, the principals’ tireless dedication and the faculty and staffs’ caring work, we continue to make “Excellence” and “Achievement” happen… just as we have always done.
All information related to the reopening of EA Schools can be found at: www.eastauroraschools.org/covid19
Reopening questions or comments can be sent to: Reopen@eak12.org