When Ned Kirsch was Superintendent of Franklin West, he developed the FWSU vision- 

A belief in what is possible

 which guided our work during his tenure. The vision remains as part of our culture, and along with our Action Plan, informs our work.

 As I have gone through this year as Interim Superintendent and am preparing for the next three years as Franklin West’s Superintendent, I have been working to make sure the vision fulfills the needs of our students and communities as we move forward together. 

Because it is a bold and audacious statement (as visions are meant to be), ”A belief in what is possible” runs the danger of meaning so many different things to different people that it potentially loses its meaning. 

One of my goals this year has been to put some “guardrails” around the vision, so that it is clear and meaningful, and can unambiguously guide our work.

When I read:

A belief in what is possible

on my office wall, here’s what I envision:

“Every day, we get to work with the best students there are. We believe that it is possible for every one of them to become effective communicators and problem solvers who are prepared for the opportunities of their future.”

It is important to me that all of our educators can see their work in that statement. It is also important that all parents and community members can see the value of this vision for their students. The most important part is that the result of our work toward our vision meets our student’s needs and provides rigorous and challenging learning opportunities. It’s important that our vision prepares students for their future, rather than our past.

According to Dr. Luvelle Brown, if your vision is your ultimate goal, your mission consists of the things you do over and over every day to meet that goal. In Franklin West, our Action Plan provides that framework. The Action Plan promises that we will support our vision by providing:

Proficiency Based Personalized Learning,

Leadership Opportunities,

Flexible Learning Environments


Engaging with our Community Partners

Over the past two and a half years, our daily work has been somewhat altered due to our necessary response to the pandemic. We feel that we will be able to shift our focus back to our Action Plan as we begin the 2022-23 school year. 

Proficiency Based Approach

Moving forward, we will resume our work to enhance and develop our curriculum and focus on the best first instruction for every one of our students. Our curriculum coordinator, Scott Thompson, is anxious to lead this work to solidify our proficiency based approach . We will use part of the time on our monthly Early Release days to coordinate this work within and across our FWSU schools.

Leadership Opportunities

Our students have always been leaders. One of my goals over the next year is to work directly with our student leaders to help improve our schools. Over the summer, I will develop a forum to meet regularly with our student leaders. An important part of this work will be to not only hear from the students who have emerged as leaders, but to find and help develop leaders to ensure that all perspectives are represented.

Flexible Learning Environments

As we consider our Early Release days next year, another aspect that we will dedicate time for is in making sure that the needs of all students are met. We will use the time to analyze student data and make sure that we have plans to provide intervention support and enrichment opportunities. This monthly analysis will create flexible groupings to meet the immediate needs of each of our students. As the needs of the students change each month, so will our response. Collaboration between our classroom teachers, interventionists, special educators, and instructional coaches and easy access to timely data will be essential elements of this work.

Engaging with our Community Partners

As superintendent, I will expand my connection with our community partners. I am hoping that next year I will be able to communicate with our families about educational matters rather than masks, case counts and testing protocols. Similar to my work with students, I will develop a format for regular interaction with families and community members. This may take the form of a parent advisory group or a series of open forums throughout the year. Or both. I will solidify a plan to share before the start of the upcoming school year.

I also want to develop connections with the businesses and organizations in our supervisory union. I will be reaching out to them throughout the year with a few questions: 

  • How can our schools best prepare students to meet your needs as employers? 
  • What can our students learn based on the work that you do?
  • How can we work together for our mutual benefit?

Prior to my career in education, I worked in Industrial Sales. Part of my job was to “cold call” at factories to see if there was a match between our products and their needs. In some ways, building connections with our businesses feels like a return to that task, but with a far more important goal- enhancing educational opportunities for our students.

All of my work in Franklin West over the last twenty-nine years has been dedicated to improving opportunities for student learning. As superintendent, I will continue to work tirelessly for every one of our students so that they will be able to achieve everything that is possible for them in their future. Thank you for your continued support of our students and schools.

John Tague is the Superintendent at Franklin West Supervisory Union and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @jtague252

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