The Arab City School System adopts a new vision for the district
Arab City Schools has a new 'vision.' The original vision, Accepting the Challenge of Excellence, was created over 12 years ago. Some might see it as just a nice phrase to have on a logo, but the new vision--"Invest in Others, Serve Our Community, and Seek Growth to Shape the Future," has quickly been accepted as what the local school district is all about. Assistant Supt. Stacie Pace led the effort in the development of the vision, which was presented formally to the City Board of Education last week. "The new vision promotes a culture of positive relationships," she said. "We want everyone--students, teachers, support personnel, administrators, everyone, to feel accepted, valued, supported, and connected. The committee was intentional in developing a vision that would be applicable to both students and adults." said Pace.
"It looks like the top 3 things to do on a daily to-do list," said Board Attorney Clint Maze. Pace said work started on the new vision some 6 months ago. "Periodically throughout the school year we take time to reflect, evaluate effectiveness, make adjustments, and determine next steps. Last year, at the end of the first semester, we began the process of developing a new vision," she said. Pace and other administrators met with district employees beginning in January. "We wanted a vision that would honor the work already happening across the district, but would also move us forward," she said.
Pace said a certain amount of inspiration came from the book, "It's My Pleasure," written by Dee Ann Turner, Vice-President of Corporate Talent for Chick-Fil-A. "The Chick-Fil-A mission isn’t about selling chicken sandwiches, it's about being a positive influence and serving others. That’s what is important to them. We wanted the ACS vision to reflect what’s important to us also,” said Pace. We wanted the vision to go above and beyond academics. "When people ask what makes Arab City Schools so special, we always tell them it’s the people; the students, teachers, parents, support staff, community and administrators," she said. Pace said that academic excellence is important and will always be a priority for the school system, but investing in each other (students and adults) is equally as important.
Highlighted in the logo is 'Serve Our Community.' "This one," she said, "you don't hear as much about." Pace said when Arab City Schools is mentioned in the media, it's often about test scores or athletics. "What others may not know, is how much the ACS staff does on a regular basis to help students and families outside of the classroom," she said. It's not unusual for staff members to find help for families in need financially and otherwise. "Sometimes there are situations where students need a little extra support beyond academics," said Pace.
The new vision was presented to all faculty members in small group settings. "Everyone felt refreshed," said 4th grade teacher Jennifer Stephens. "It's really been a positive for the employees," she said. Following the initial meetings with employees, faculties participated in “team challenges” as part of a recent Professional Development day. "They wrote songs, acted out skits, created videos and had a lot of fun with it, but it all worked to affirm the vision. The teams posted their entries on Twitter using the hashtag #ACSVision,” said Pace. “As we move into the new school year, we will continue to talk about and work towards our new vision," she said.
Archie Anderson, The Arab Tribune