Spring break and spring think

A wise school leader once told me, “I get some of my best school work done when the vast majority of people aren’t in the school.” At first blush one might say that’s a bad joke. But let’s take a second look at this remark because…did I tell you this leader was wise!  

The longer I invest in the work of school district leadership, the more I tend to understand that he probably was considering the fact that the day-to-day work of schooling can really command a lot of a leader’s attention and oftentimes this day-to-day work is dictated by what’s happening within the student and employee ranks of the organization.  

Of course there are processes, procedures and delegation that could ease the demand on the leader’s attention. But at the end of the day when our staff and students are enjoying some time away, I get some of my most strategic thinking and reflection completed.

So, I don’t know if I’ve completed any of my best work during this spring break while the vast majority of you were not in school, but here is what I do know:

  • Innovation Track: Already 110 students registered! The growing number of students and families participating in this program definitely demonstrates the value of this program. Be on the lookout for a presentation within the next couple of weeks to tell the story of who’s participating and the fact there has been little to no collateral impact on other programs. While there is still room to grow this program, I’m very excited about next year’s start and the promise that completing one full year of college during high school holds for our students and families. Now, we have to deliver and keep opening this door and other doors of access for all students!
  • We are hiring key staff members to fill vacant leadership positions going in to the new year. Our candidate pools are strong, and there is a level of excitement associated with envisioning the potential these hires have for shaping the future of our school district community. We’ve already announced a few new leaders and be on the lookout for several more during the month of April. Great people want to be a part of our great team and have a role in actualizing our thoughtful priorities. Others are paying attention to the work that we are beginning to embrace and many are already making headway in the same areas in their own right. I’m learning via our interviews that regardless of the position for which we are hiring: equity, access and opportunity for all children is on the minds of many leaders both near and far. This makes me proud and hopeful for our future!

Whether it is spring break or the busiest time of the school year, be assured that I will always relentlessly pursue greater access and opportunity for all students! Thank you for being a part of our schools and have a great final two months of school.

Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter

Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter joined the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District in July 2017. He has a total of 21 years in public education with extensive experience in instruction and operations as well as in elementary and secondary schools. Dr. Carpenter earned his bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, his master’s degree in educational leadership, an education specialist degree and a doctorate degree in educational leadership and educational administration. Dr. Carpenter is married to Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter, and they have two young children.