Alabama’s State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice kicks off a 12-stop tour across the state to share information about public education initiatives on Tuesday, August 26, at 6 p.m. at Lee High School in Huntsville.
In the weeks that follow, Bice will crisscross the state, traveling to each of the state’s eight Board of Education districts. The Tour is the first of its kind as far as I can tell, having found nothing like it in recent history. Notably, I can find nothing like it in surrounding states, either.
Re-read that. I can find no other state superintendent making the time to tour his state to talk about education plans and initiatives with the greater school community.
The closest thing I can find is that Virginia’s state board president is conducting a two-stop “listening” tour to gather input on implementation of their new assessment system.
So what is Bice’s motivation for taking it to the streets? Given the renewed interest the legislature has taken in public education in the past few years, many folks likely are ascribing motives for the Tour.
Does it really matter what his motives are? Members of communities across this state are going to be given an opportunity to listen and to be heard by the state superintendent of education.
If Bice wanted to reach the traditional audience served by the ALSDE, he could have limited that audience to school board members attending the upcoming Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) conference or asked for an audience with the School Superintendents of Alabama (SSA) or the Council of Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS).
But he didn’t. He and a few folks from the ALSDE are traveling around to our communities, meeting us in our schools. We as a public school community MUST take full advantage of this opportunity.
What did Bice say about his reasons for doing the Tour? In the official press release for the Tour, Bice said“I am looking forward to visiting with members of communities throughout the state to share, firsthand, the great work educators and students are doing and discussing the exciting work taking place in the 2014-2015 school year and beyond.”
What the Plan for the Evening Is
Among other subjects, Bice plans to talk about Plan 2020, the state’s vision for public education through the year 2020. We in the community need to understand what is expected of us (remember, public education is a partnership!) and what our role is in assisting our students in our public schools with achieving the goals in the Plan.
I’ve written about Plan 2020 a number of times (type “plan 2020” in the search box at the top of the page), but when you hear about it directly from the Guy in Charge, it might make more of an impact on you.
As far as the agenda goes, in each of the 12 locations, the program starts at 6 p.m. There is no need to pre-register. Just show up. Each venue should be able to hold around 250 participants.
Bice will be joined by business and industry representatives and area community college representatives at each meeting. Local superintendents will be in attendance as well.
There will be an hour-long presentation, from 6 to 7, and the following half hour is reserved for questions and answers.
Attendees will be given a card to write down any questions they have during the presentation, according to Malissa Valdes-Hubert, Public Information Officer at the ALSDE. Questions will be answered from those cards. If they run out of time, they will make every effort to respond to the remaining questions on the cards within a reasonable time frame, Valdes-Hubert added.
Your Presence Means Something
Those of you who are regular readers of the Alabama School Connection are obviously interested in what happens in public education in Alabama. Bice and the other presenters need to see YOU in the audience. Whether you support Bice’s initiatives or whether you don’t, make the time to attend if one is scheduled near you.
Bice knows that the course of action in Plan 2020 won’t work if the community doesn’t understand the reasoning behind it. He knows how important parental and community involvement is to our local schools.
This is your chance to get the whole story. Straight from your state superintendent.
I’m a big believer in showing up and listening with your own ears and viewing it with your own eyes.
I’m also a big believer in introducing yourself to the folks in charge of our schools and school districts. Don’t be bashful.
They need to know we care. They need to know that we can be bothered to show up and engage.
Those on twitter can follow the hashtag #futureofedtour for updates throughout the Tour.
|Tuesday, August 26||Huntsville -Lee High School
2500 Meridian Street
|Thursday, August 28||Demopolis - Demopolis High School
701 U.S. 80
|Tuesday, September 2||Opelika - Opelika Middle School
1206 Denson Drive
|Thursday, September 4||Birmingham - George Washington Carver High School
3900 24th St N
Birmingham, AL 35207
|Tuesday, September 9||Montgomery - Carver High School
2001 W Fairview Ave
Montgomery, AL 36108
|Tuesday, September 16||Florence - Florence High School
201 Bradshaw Dr.
|Thursday, September 18||Dothan - Dothan High School
1236 South Oates St.
Dothan, AL 36301
|Tuesday, September 23||Tuscaloosa - Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy
2800 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
|Thursday, September 25||Helena - Helena High School
1310 Hillsboro Pkwy
|Tuesday, September 30||Selma - Selma High School
2180 Broad St.
Selma, AL 36701
|Thursday, October 2||Mobile - Baker High School
8901 Airport Blvd
Mobile, AL 36608
|Tuesday, October 7||Jacksonville - Jacksonville High School
1000 George Douthit Dr SW
Jacksonville, AL 36265