Financial Responsibility is Critical

In Dublin, sustainable investments in education are carefully planned and managed to ensure long-term viability, without compromising the needs of current and future students. Investments include facilities, curriculum, technology, and resources to provide professional development opportunities for teachers to enhance their instructional practices. Student-focused investments prioritize students’ well-being and success, considering their diverse needs, interests, and abilities. Student support services, such as counseling, special education, and enrichment programs, as well as promoting equity of access to educational programs, are priority areas.

School districts have a fiduciary responsibility to use taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively. We are transparent in managing budgets, make informed decisions about resource allocation, and adhere to all regulations and policies. Responsible stewardship involves engaging with the community and seeking input from stakeholders, including taxpayers, parents, students, and staff, to ensure that financial decisions align with the needs and priorities of the district. We are open to future levy needs and plan to address needs in a rapidly growing community.

We must align their vision and strategic goals with their available financial resources. This means developing a clear and coherent vision for the district’s educational objectives and then identifying the necessary financial resources to support and achieve those objectives. We prioritize initiatives that align with the district’s vision and are financially feasible while carefully managing and allocating resources to ensure sustainability and effectiveness in the long term. 

We are in the “people business,” and over eighty-five percent of the budget is the salary and benefits of our employees. We continually evaluate and align our school personnel to place the right people in the right programs to serve students.

Student-Centered Decisions

Journey 2030 is grounded in our Guiding Principles – the first is Student-Centered Decisions. Student-centered decisions are essential for educators to support students in achieving their academic and personal goals. When educators, parents, and other stakeholders make decisions with students’ best interests in mind, it leads to more personalized education and prepares students for success in the future.

Our schools are focused on tailoring instruction and support to meet the individual needs of each student. Dublin educators take the time to get to know their students and understand their strengths, challenges, and interests; they create learning experiences that are engaging, relevant, and effective. We build trust between students and educators, increasing motivation and a sense of belonging in the classroom. We celebrate the diversity in our community; we are better together.

Dublin teachers equip students with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions they need to succeed in college, career, and life. We embrace the importance of preparing students for success beyond the classroom. We guide students to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration skills. We provide opportunities for students to explore potential career paths and connect with mentors and other professionals in their fields of interest.

By focusing on personalized education and preparing students for success beyond the classroom, our district sets measurable goals for student achievement and creates a supportive and engaging learning environment. When students feel seen, heard, and valued, they are more likely to be motivated, confident, and successful academically and personally.

Guiding Principles – Foundation for Decision Making

Guiding principles serve as the foundation for decision-making and provide a checklist for success for the Dublin City Schools. These principles are values, beliefs, or guidelines that guide our behavior and actions. They ensure that decisions align with the organization’s values, behavior, and outcomes.

Guiding principles provide a framework by offering consistent criteria to evaluate options and make informed choices. They serve as a reference point for individuals at all levels of the organization when facing complex situations or making important decisions. By using these principles as a checklist for success, the district can ensure that our choices and actions are aligned with the overall vision – Journey 2030.

Our principles, a rubric for action, create a culture of accountability and continuous improvement – a clear set of expectations everyone can understand and use as a guide. It promotes consistency and fairness in decision-making, as decisions can be evaluated with a common language. Guiding principles foster a positive and productive work environment, enhance decision-making, and drive success in achieving organizational goals.

Common Language – Greater Efficiency

There is power in a common language. When we, as an organization, use the same language to define our values, our behavior, and our outcomes, we are aligned. Using a common language cannot be overstated in achieving organizational efficiency and reducing stress. When everyone in an organization can communicate effectively and clearly with one another, it leads to a more cohesive and productive workplace. Misunderstandings and errors can be avoided, and goals can be achieved more efficiently. A common language also helps build camaraderie and shared understanding among team members, which can improve morale and reduce stress.

Having a common language can also be beneficial when working with our parents and creates a community. We facilitate clear communication and help to avoid misunderstandings, which can ultimately lead to more successful partnerships. By promoting clear communication, a common language can encourage teamwork, boost morale, and ultimately lead to greater success in achieving organizational goals.

Alignment Improves Student Learning

Cultural alignment is the degree to which our district shares and lives the same values, beliefs, and desired outcomes. Achieving cultural alignment is critical for us, as it creates a cohesive and productive learning environment where everyone is motivated, engaged, and committed to student success. Alignment helps our district attract and retain the best educators, as it demonstrates that our district’s values align with their own.

Moreover, cultural alignment plays a crucial role in shaping our Dublin brand. When the education community is aligned with a shared culture, we are more likely to uphold the community values and represent the brand positively. This, in turn, builds the school’s credibility and builds trust with our parents, the community, and business stakeholders. 

Finally, cultural alignment is essential for achieving strategic goals and driving growth. Alignment leads to innovation, higher productivity, and increased student performance. When everyone is aligned with the district’s vision and values, we work towards shared objectives and collaborate effectively to achieve them.

Power in Common Language

Our school is a community of learners, educators, and parents. As a community, we share many common goals and expectations. There are many more things that bind us together than pull us apart. We must develop and regularly use common language to discuss and describe the work we do in our school.  

The power of common language rests in building trust and providing clarity. When we have identified our core values and use common language to describe those values, our behavior is aligned. Common language, and clarity grounded in consistency, removes friction and improve efficiency. 

Our district’s core values – Take Responsibility, Always Growing, and Better Together – are part of daily language. Our R-Factor tools, with Press Pause, Get your Mind Right, and Step Up, provide a consistent vocabulary to discuss strategies for responding to events in our world.

Inspiration over Engagement

As educators, we want to inspire our students. Inspiration is derived from the Latin inspiratus meaning “to breathe into.” When we inspire our students, when our students have a vision for their future, we are breathing life into their hopes, aspirations, and dreams.

I recently attended a conference with Stephen Covey. During his presentation, Covey said, “Inspiring others is the new competitive advantage. Leaders who inspire others will create greater productivity.”  

Inspiration is deeper than engagement. When we engage, we share ideas. We listen and respond. When we inspire others, not only do we hear them, but we breathe life into their vision. Our trust in them, our belief, inspires them to reach higher. In Dublin, inspiring students to exceed their expectations will give all our students this new competitive advantage.

Create Solutions

In the Dublin Schools, we don’t BCD. We don’t blame, complain, or defend in our daily lives. BCD has never solved a problem, improved a situation, or led to success.  

Yes, we identify problems and opportunities to improve. Sure, we share frustrations and failures. And yes, there are times each of us takes a chance to vent about something nagging us. Nevertheless, when we are at our best and most disciplined, we intentionally avoid BCD.

Instead of complaining, we strive to create solutions. We see a challenge or problem and work together to fix it. When answers are more complex, we collaborate to explore innovative options.  

We’ve been exploring ways to provide critical mental health support for our students and families. We know the wait to schedule a counseling appointment for students, and families may take several months. In many cases, when a parent is searching for professional support, the doors are all closed. As a school community, we get to create solutions rather than admire the current reality.

The past several years, exacerbated by disruptions caused by Covid, have highlighted the need for partnership with families and wrap-around support. We are proud that the Dublin City School District is partnering with the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University to train current Dublin teachers to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work. With dollars provided to respond to the pandemic, our district will add up to 25 specialists to support our families and students.  

Living our core value, Better Together, our district is once again creating solutions for the Dublin Community and serving as a model for other districts.

Best Version of You Requires Effort

Recently I had one of “those mornings.” I seemingly woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I just knew it wasn’t going to be a good day.

When I took the dog out for a morning walk, it started to rain. It was going to be a rough day.

I was tired and didn’t want to do my workout. It was the start of, as Judith Viorst shared in a children’s book about Alexander, a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

When I started my swim workout, I began to think about everything on my calendar – all the meetings and obligations ahead of me. It was going to be a long day.

While swimming, I became aware of my negative self-talk – my defeatist attitude. I needed to fix my mindset. It didn’t need to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I had the power to make it a good day.

Whether a teacher or a superintendent, your mindset impacts dozens, potentially hundreds, or even thousands of children daily. My negative mood changes conversations, decisions, and culture if I am undisciplined or lazy in my mindset.  

I get to choose my mindset each morning – so do you. We make every interaction better when we are intentional in our self-talk and live with a positive attitude.

Culture Drives Results

Our Culture Playbook in Dublin outlines our three core values.  The Latin noun core means heart.  Our core values are at the heart of our vision and mission in the Dublin City School District.  Our values guide each decision; our values guide our daily behavior.

  • Take Responsiveness – Own your Attitude & Action
  • Always Growing – Embrace the Journey
  • Better Together – Think Team

As educators, we strive to both model and teach these values.  Our VBO and Culture Playbook provide clarity and alignment for everyone in our district.