In case you missed it, check out the guest editorial Pete Weber and I submitted to The Fresno Bee about Fresno Unified.
It is hard to describe the level of brokenness we uncovered in district. The morale was so low, staff were often in tears as they expressed their frustration and lack of hope that things could get better.
Pete Weber came up with a concept that has served us well ever since—“Focused Blitzkrieg”. While some argued we had to focus on one thing at a time, we knew the state would step in if we didn’t address all critical issues simultaneously. The Choosing Our Future action plan was developed to do just that. As Pete said, “Everything that needed to be uniform was in chaos and what needed to be customized was locked down tight.” The biggest challenge was leadership—the kind of leadership that inspires, encourages growth and results in long term commitment from a team. If you look at the members of the cabinet at Fresno Unified, you will see a team that is inspired, committed to growth and committed to Fresno’s children. It is a privilege to work with them and Superintendent Mike Hanson.
We learned a lot through this effort and are aimed at taking it to scale via the Fresno Stewardship Initiative. It is a focused Blitzkrieg approach to the community as a whole. Just like FUSD, all sorts of people have been doing great work. We just weren’t aligned behind shared goals and we hadn’t developed enough trust and confidence to make it so. This is changing fast as all of the initiatives—community scorecard, kindergarten readiness, mental health initiative and stewardship pipeline continue to advance. More are in the queue.