Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Message from ASD Board of Education

We appreciate the opportunity to correct a serious misunderstanding about Alpine School District that has occurred because of a link that was accidentally and briefly on our website. The link was inappropriate and does not reflect the beliefs or values of the district, administration or school board. The Superintendent had it removed as soon as he became aware of it. We appreciate those who brought it to our attention.

The ASD Mission Statement, “Educating all students to ensure the future of our democracy” was developed as a reminder of the importance of education in preserving our freedoms and as a celebration of the educational opportunities that America provides for all her children; boys and girls, rich and poor. We chose ‘our democracy’ to reflect both a government with power vested in the people and our freedoms. We not only recognize that our government is a republic, but we value and participate in this form of government with an elected Board of Education. The use of the word democracy underscores the type of republic found in the United States.

Our mission statement is supported by our Values, four principles grounded in the Moral Dimensions of Teaching. They are: 1) All children should have access to a quality education, 2) Public education has a responsibility to teach children the social and political skills they need to successfully contribute in America’s culture of freedom, law, and civic responsibility, 3) Every child needs a quality teacher to ignite their love of learning, and 4) We have a stewardship to the children for these things.

The phrase, Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy, is the formal language for principle #2 (above). It is displayed in the Professional Development Center, with America’s patriotic documents contained in the Freedom Shrine, and is to recognize and celebrate the rights, responsibilities and sacrifices required for liberty in our country. There are many activities that occur in the daily life of schools that build civic virtues. These include such things as respect for others, obedience to rules and laws, service to country and patriotism, etc. We recognize that this phrase is not user friendly and since the word meanings have changed over time we need to revisit this.

ASD is committed to continuous improvement and to the ‘Public’ in Public Education. We do not make decisions in isolation or by emotion. We have in place an extensive feedback and decision-making process, both formal and informal, that includes all the stakeholders of education: parents, employees, city officials, legislators, students, business, and community members. By the time an issue comes to the Board for a vote, it has been through months of research, evaluation, input, feedback and revision through this process.

The district Mission Statement went through this process in 2005. We made refinements and alterations according to the input. In succeeding years, we have again and again taken the Mission, Vision, Values and Goals to our representative groups and to the public for their feedback. The Board annually reviews the district MVVG as part of our normal processes because it is important to us to be aligned with our community’s values. We will do this again this year taking into consideration all the input we have received.

The ASD Board and Administration love America and the freedoms we enjoy as a people. We are dedicated to student learning and working with our community to promote student achievement.

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